Bicep Pain From Squatting

by Travis Hlavka on July 10, 2011

UPDATE October 31, 2011 —>  I have created a much more comprehensive article along with a video on the myofascial release exercises I do for my bicep pain from squatting.  The post below is still fairly informative however so check it out also.

Click Here – Updated article with video on myofascial release
(Bicep Pain From Squatting Part 2)

Ok, thought I’d post a little bit about bicep pain from squatting.  I started getting bicep pain when my squats got “heavy” (compared to what I was doing before).  Another normal issue is shoulder pain from squatting but I’ve never had any issues with it.

So my bicep problem started after I changed the bar placement on my back.  I lowered it to where it’s recommended by Mark Rippetoe in Starting Strength. I also changed my grip a little and made it tighter/closer together. At first I LOVED IT because the bar was so tight and secure. After a while though I noticed my biceps in the middle started to really ache. Especially my right bicep!

What reeeeally sucked too was it was effecting my bench!  My bench is already my weakest lift and I don’t need anything else making it worse.

It took me a little while to figure it out. I re-read the part on squatting in Starting Strength and there was like one sentence that said something about bicep pain from squatting and be careful because you can get bicep tendonitis if you don’t let it heal. ARRRGH! Great!

So I did more research online and found a few things that helped me. Recently I also started rolling my arms out with a foam roller on the ground. A myofascial release thingy. Along the way I also discovered WHAT NOT TO DO FOR BICEP PAIN!

DO’S (These are things that have worked for me)

  • Warm up well
  • Myofascial release with a foam roller. This reeeeally hurts if you already have some bicep pain from squatting but wow does it help
  • Warm up well  (yes I said this twice)
  • Widen your grip when squatting. You might not like it but you’ll get used to it
  • Start using a safety squat bar until it heals.  (Worst case, do some hack squats, or leg press, or even better… do some pistols.)
  • Lower your reps on your top sets.  If I do more than 5 or so at my top weight it really causes problems.
  • Try some arm sleeves to keep them thar arms warm.  (I personally haven’t tried this yet.  Mostly cuz I forgot until right now. HA)
  • Get some kinda muscle rub and put it on before/after your workout. Not sure it actually “helps”, but boy does it feel good at the time you put it on
  • If it’s really bad you might try some Vitamin I (Ibuprofen). BUT…HEAR ME… I AM NOT GIVING MEDICAL ADVICE AND I AM NOT A DOCTOR. But Vit I helps with inflammation and pain. ALSO… I have only taken Vit I a few times for the pain because it is NOT good to just mask the pain. You’re still injuring it even if you can’t feel it.  (Plus I hate medicines)
  • After your workout, use the foam roller again
  • Try icing your arms for a wee bit after your workout.  (I haven’t tried this yet, but I might.)


  • DO NOT SIT IN A HOT TUB OR SAUNA OR… after a workout when your arms are hurting!  Or if you do, don’t let your arms get hot.  I found this out the hard way. It just prolongs the healing process instead of accelerating it. Trust me, just don’t do it!  (It might be ok to do ice/heat/ice, but I haven’t tried it yet.)
  • Don’t “work through the pain”. If you don’t rest, you’ll never heal and then you’ll really be hurting… Permanently


I’m still dealing with the problem, but it’s manageable and getting better because I’m actually working on fixing the bicep pain from squatting.

Travis Hlavka (9 Posts)

I may act like a 12yr old a lot of the time, but that's because I have a genetic defect that will not allow me grow up. HOWEVER, I do take strength training and fitness very seriously and I love using what I know to help others reach their fitness goals and avoid the bazillion mistakes I've made in my 25+ yrs of training. Since I don't know everything, I never stop learning. Note: I am no longer a "certified" trainer, but I truly understand more about fitness and health now than I ever did with that official piece of paper.

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