J0hns0nT: What’s the short story about that forearm tendon?
he other day, I wrote a bit about working out. I used to do a lot more than i do now. But as I said, I was never big guy to begin with. so I have never been able to develop the biceps or chest or other part of the anatomy to the point that I would become the envy of other men or the focus of the ladies. But I tried. And once I tried too hard.
I have a few books and magazines on muscle development–I even have a book “written” by Gov. Arnold. Anyway, biceps is one part of the anatomy that I think every man tries to develop at one point in their life. It is such a visible representative of physical manhood–or am I full of $hit? Well, I do my barbell curls. I do my dumbell curls. I sit on an incline bench and do hammer curls (palms facing inwards). I sit at the edge of the bench, lean over with my elbow leaning against the inside of my knee and do concentration curls. One of my favorites was “21s”. With a relatively light barbell (I used to do about 40 lbs.), you extend the arm and curl halfway up 7 times, then you curl all the way up to the chest then drop it only halfway and repeat this 7 times, then you do 7 full curls for a total of 21 reps. At the right weight, this is an awesome burn…
My biceps at this point–about seven years ago–was noticeably larger than before, but it didn’t have the fullness I wanted. Upon further research, I learned that there was an exercise called a reverse curl. The effect was, like the hammer curl, to develop the outside portion of the bicep. But this was more effective because instead of palms facing inward toward the thighs, you hold a barbell with your palms down and curl. This forces the outside muscles to work harder. After a few of these, I felt like my biceps getting a bit fuller. But what i didn’t realize was that I was putting more stress on my forearm that I realized. Gripping a barbell in this manner is awkward and requires great gripping power–forearm muscles that I had not yet fully develop.
Well about a two weeks after I started these recerse curls, I was pouring myself a glass of OJ when the 2 quart carton slipped out of my left hand. My forearms had been sore for a few days, but I had dimissed it as muscle fatigue. But on that day, I couldn’t find the strength to grip a carton of juice. Frantic, I went to the doctor and she diagnosed it as an inflammation of the forearm tendon. I hurt mostly near the elbow. I had to take anti-inflammation drugs for about 3 weeks and i was urged to ice it down when I did anything that might stress the tendon. I asked what would that be, and she assured me that when it happened, I’d know.
And she was right.
Like an idiot, I continued to lift weights, avoiding exercises that required excessive gripping like high-pulleys. But regular arm curls? If the bar is resting in my the palm of my hands, I am not using any discernable gripping action. Stupid me. After working out, my arm would throb and when I touch the area it was noticeably warmer. So I learned to stop doing curls–a rock has to hit me in the head for me to understand anything–and iced it regularly. Sadly, it took about a year for it to feel relatively normal and almost two years for me to be 100%. Why so long? Because I use these tendons constantly, everytime I type. Touch your tendons on the outside of your forearms near the elbow and then wiggle your fingers as if typing. Virtually all that movement is cause by your tendons. I am not, of course, exerting it as I would when lifting weights, but it is also not getting complete “bed” rest.
Hahahaha, this “short story” turned out longer than I thought. Hope I didn’t bore anyone. The lesson to be learned is to listen to you body. If it begins to hurt, there is a reason. Obvious advice, I know, but for a guy like me, it’s the kind I needed 7 years ago…