Nothing can kill your motivation in the gym like pain in your joints and muscles.
And what is even worse …
If the pain especially in your forearm, comes and goes and doesn`t happen during or after every workout.
Whether you are working your biceps, triceps, chest, back or shoulders you sometimes experience forearm pain after lifting and even occasionally during your routine.
So the question you need answered is …
What is exactly causing this and more importantly…
How can you stop it before it gets any worse so you can finally enjoy lifting – pain free!
But first …
It is important to isolate the exact location of where your forearm hurts when working out.
If you are like most sufferers, the location is about 2 inches down from your elbow, on the top side of your arm.
It can happen to both arms, dominant and non-dominant.
Big and small forearms…it can affect anyone.
Are you also suffering from elbow pain doing pull ups in the gym? This is also a quite common injury from working out.
So let`s get into the real reasons why you are suffering so bad:
Reason 1 – Forearm and bicep imbalance
Take a closer look at your workout routine.
Do you do more pulling exercises than pushing exercises?
Are you training arms more frequently in the workout week than other parts of your body?
Many times you see people doing just bicep exercises and neglecting their forearms.
As a result and overtime you will develop a muscle imbalance between your forearms and biceps.
Instead of simply banging on with bicep curls, whether it be with dumbbells or barbells, add it some forearm extensor and flexor exercises.
Look at balancing out your arm routine – 3 bicep, 3 tricep and 3 forearm exercises.
Even 2-2-2 should do the trick.
Prioritize doing the forearm exercises early on in your arm workout so you get the best bang for your buck.
Reason 2 – Lack of water hydration
We all know that drinking water is best for our bodies but how does it really affect it?
Or should I say, not drinking enough.
You will definitely notice an increase in overall muscle pain and discomfort in all parts of your body when you are not in-taking enough water throughout the day.
And if you are already suffering with forearm pain after working out in the gym or at home, not being properly hydrated can definitely increase your discomfort.
Here are some signs that you are dehydrated and need to increase your water intake:
- increase in headaches that sometimes develop into migraines
- dark yellow urine
- eye pain and sensitivity
- lack of concentration
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then please start drowning yourself with coupious amounts of water immediately.
Water – it does your body good!
Our friends over at Triathlete.com share some of their greatest tips on this very topic.
Reason 3 – Using too much weight
Yes we all think we are super heroes in the gym.
Especially if you are trying to impress someone of the opposite sex.
But here is what you must understand!
If you are using too much weight, whether it be a bicep, tricep or forearm exercise, this can cause small micro tears in your muscles.
While tearing down your muscles will make it grow overtime, really overloading the muscle can cause severe tears which can cause inflammation and pain.
Instead of trying to impress by using heavy weights when training your arms, focus on mind muscle connection and keep strict form.
This is even more important as you get older but think you can still keep up with 20 somethings when lifting in the gym.
Reason 4 – Not stretching / warming up before hitting the weights
I am not saying that you need to spend 10-15 minutes performing stretches but …
It is highly recommended that you get the blood flowing whether that be from performing cardio before you start your workout or …
Doing some simple forearm stretches that will help improve blood flow and circulation.
Checkout these stretches for tennis elbow right here that will give you a great place to start.
Reason 5 – Avoid hammer curls
Hammer curls require an iron grip.
As you start to fatigue when performing the last of your reps, you need to squeeze tighter and tighter.
This puts an insane amount of pressure on your forearm flexors and extensors.
What to do?
First stop doing them for a couple of weeks and see if this helps decrease your discomfort.
Secondly, you can try decreasing the weight of the dumbbells you are using.
Focus more on light weight and reps vs. heavy weight to impress.
Thirdly, you could try using straps that help with grip strength.
I use versa gripps faithfully in my training and have had never a problem with my forearms.
Fourth, do not go all the way down with each rep.
In other words, do not fully extend your arm or lock out your elbow on the negative.
On the positive rep, do not come all the way up.
Again this can over flex your forearm muscles which will make matters worse in the long term.
Doing so will only cause further stress and discomfort.
Other things to consider …
When you sleep at night, try to avoid sleeping with your affected arm under your pillow.
This restricts blood flow and circulation in your arm.
As with any muscle injury, steady flow of blood is vital in repair and tissue regeneration.
Also do not sleep with your arm extended.
This causes the forearm muscles to stay stretched and extended.
And if you have a small tear, this will only increase the chances that the tear will get larger.
Massaging your forearm will also help improve blood flow to any damaged muscle fibers and tissues.
Simply massage across the muscle fibers of your forearm to promote tissue healing.
After your workout would be best and before bed.
You only need to do this for 5 minutes per day.
Another effective thing to try would be to apply heat to your forearm.
As you should already know, heat helps speed up blood flow.
And as you have read, muscle tears/strains/injuries can simply not repair without a constant flow of fresh, new blood.
So you may be thinking …
Where do I go from here.
Well first what I can tell you from experience is that your forearm problems are likely caused by an injury called tennis elbow – often referred to as elbow tendonitis.
The thing is that most people do not even realize that the source of their injury is not where they are feeling or experiencing the pain the most.
And when it comes to forearm problems, it is quite often the small connection points at the elbow where the problem lies.
If your pain is on the outer part of your forearm, then 99.9% of the time, tennis elbow is the most likely cause.
For the simple fact that your forearm extensor muscles connect at your elbow.
This connection point is called the lateral epicondyle.
It is at this exact point where many weight lifters and gym junkies start to have problems.
Tennis elbow is an overuse injury caused by repetitive actions and movements.
If you are over the age of 30 AND sit at a computer or work with your hands day in and day out as part of your job – you are classified as high risk.
We take for granted opening and closing our hands to grip objects throughout the day but …
Overtime combined with working out and weight lifting, you are bound to develop and experience tennis elbow at some point.
I bet you know at least 3 people at your gym who complain about tennis elbow and upper/outer forearm pain even when they are at the gym.
Nevermind the discomfort they have post workout!
So if you want to know for 100% certainty that it is not your elbow but your forearm, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your forearm pain increase when gripping/squeezing/holding objects?
- Is your arm pain worse at night?
- Is the outer part of your affected forearm tender to the touch?
- Does extended your wrist upwards cause pain in upper forearm/elbow region?
- Can you twist the cap off a bottle or jar without pain?
If you can answer “No” to ALL of these above questions, then it is likely that you have a problem with your forearm muscles.
If you can answer “Yes” to ANY ONE of these 5 questions …
Then I am 99.9% certain that it is tennis elbow you have.
But don`t worry …
It is not the end of your working out in the gym or at home.
Overcoming tennis elbow is actually much easier than people think.
While Yes it is true that people have been known to suffer with it for years, there is a simple solution that literally takes only 3 minutes every other day to fully recover.
Yes you can continue with your work out plan and still do all the exercises you love to do but …
You simply need to perform a couple of easy-to-follow movements while sitting in your chair at home – even in front of your TV or iPad and your pain will be completely gone much sooner than you think.
All you will need is a can of soup and a hammer to get started.
I know it sounds strange but that is all that you need to be successful.
Go now and check out these simple steps and get rid of your pain and misery once and for all.