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Thread: Weird bicep strain mark

  1. #1
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    Default Weird bicep strain mark

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    Yesterday I did 5 sets of cable pulldowns followed by 4 sets of shrugs. My biceps felt fatigued as did my upper back, but nothing too out of the ordinary. My joints always feel a little sore, whether itís elbows, shoulders, knees, etc. I believe due to age (56) and a mixture of tendinitis and arthritis. A few hours later I noticed in the mirror that one of my biceps had a slight line or groove or dent running across the muscle belly. No actual bruise, discolor, and only a little soreness. I have had this before after doing a lot of pulling movements or curls, also after moving heavy objects around the house (not training related). It usually goes away after a day or 2. Iíve never asked anyone else about it, until now. Does anyone out there have any similar experience? My training for years has consisted of 2 to 3 full body workouts per week, and usually includes 1-2 pulling movements such as various deadlifts, rows with BBs, machines or cables, shrugs, chins, etc. and occasionally curls but usually not if I already feel very fatigued in the upper arms.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris white View Post
    Yesterday I did 5 sets of cable pulldowns followed by 4 sets of shrugs. My biceps felt fatigued as did my upper back, but nothing too out of the ordinary. My joints always feel a little sore, whether it’s elbows, shoulders, knees, etc. I believe due to age (56) and a mixture of tendinitis and arthritis. A few hours later I noticed in the mirror that one of my biceps had a slight line or groove or dent running across the muscle belly. No actual bruise, discolor, and only a little soreness. I have had this before after doing a lot of pulling movements or curls, also after moving heavy objects around the house (not training related). It usually goes away after a day or 2. I’ve never asked anyone else about it, until now. Does anyone out there have any similar experience? My training for years has consisted of 2 to 3 full body workouts per week, and usually includes 1-2 pulling movements such as various deadlifts, rows with BBs, machines or cables, shrugs, chins, etc. and occasionally curls but usually not if I already feel very fatigued in the upper arms.

    Thank you.
    Would it be plausible to assume that maybe some of the perpetual soreness you have is related to the volume of exercise you are performing?

    As far as the line / indentation, without pain or discoloration, it is likely due to previous trauma and is observable in the setting of the muscle being essentially swollen from the workout.

  3. #3
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    Thanx for the quick reply, and Iíve been meaning to get back but Iíve been extremely busy. No I donít think my joint soreness has to do with volume. I squat 3 times per week, usually with 2-4 work sets depending on the day. My knees are always a little sore due to arthritis, but I usually have no knee pain while Iím squatting. It does take me a few warm up sets to feel comfortable, but I donít find that unusual. I do overhead presses for 3 work sets one day with a barbell and another day seated with dumbbells. On the third day I do 3 work sets of dips. One day I do 3 sets of Romanian deadlifts, and all 3 days I do 3 work sets of an upper back pull like chins, a t-bar row, a machine row or a cable pull down. Some days I add some shrugs. That particular day I did 3 sets of cable pulldowns (I mistakenly wrote 5 or counted the light warmups) quickly, and to failure with the 3rd set being a drop set. I then did 3 work sets of shrugs and probably counted a light set as ď4Ē in my previously post.
    I have recurring tendinitis in my elbows, hands, wrists, and also carpal tunnel which comes and goes in either hand. I just work around these, vary loads and/or movements at times, itís something Iíve dealt with for 20 years or so. My job in construction involves a lot of physical work and Iím certain itís responsible for most of my joint soreness. I wear knee and elbow sleeves, and wrist wraps when I squat and press.
    The line on my biceps has occurred on both/either arm at various times although not frequently. It seems to occur due to overuse from intense exertion with a pulling exercise, curls, or like I mentioned non-training-related lifting, such as moving heavy objects. I guess itís possible there could be previous trauma that is then made visible by swelling in the surrounding tissues, like you mentioned. So would this be a type of scar? I didnít notice this mark until around 8-10 hours after training, and it gradually disappeared over the next 3 days. Yesterday I trained again and my arm felt fine, although I didnít push it hard when I did 3 work sets of t bar rows. I cut back the load a little as a cautionary approach. I looked immediately after I finished training and there was no recurring mark. But the other dayówould there have been that much swelling 8-10 hours later, without much accompanying pain or soreness? I only had a little extra soreness, and only when I flexed my upper arm.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris white View Post
    Thanx for the quick reply, and Iíve been meaning to get back but Iíve been extremely busy. No I donít think my joint soreness has to do with volume. I squat 3 times per week, usually with 2-4 work sets depending on the day. My knees are always a little sore due to arthritis, but I usually have no knee pain while Iím squatting. It does take me a few warm up sets to feel comfortable, but I donít find that unusual. I do overhead presses for 3 work sets one day with a barbell and another day seated with dumbbells. On the third day I do 3 work sets of dips. One day I do 3 sets of Romanian deadlifts, and all 3 days I do 3 work sets of an upper back pull like chins, a t-bar row, a machine row or a cable pull down. Some days I add some shrugs. That particular day I did 3 sets of cable pulldowns (I mistakenly wrote 5 or counted the light warmups) quickly, and to failure with the 3rd set being a drop set. I then did 3 work sets of shrugs and probably counted a light set as ď4Ē in my previously post.
    I have recurring tendinitis in my elbows, hands, wrists, and also carpal tunnel which comes and goes in either hand. I just work around these, vary loads and/or movements at times, itís something Iíve dealt with for 20 years or so. My job in construction involves a lot of physical work and Iím certain itís responsible for most of my joint soreness. I wear knee and elbow sleeves, and wrist wraps when I squat and press.
    The line on my biceps has occurred on both/either arm at various times although not frequently. It seems to occur due to overuse from intense exertion with a pulling exercise, curls, or like I mentioned non-training-related lifting, such as moving heavy objects. I guess itís possible there could be previous trauma that is then made visible by swelling in the surrounding tissues, like you mentioned. So would this be a type of scar? I didnít notice this mark until around 8-10 hours after training, and it gradually disappeared over the next 3 days. Yesterday I trained again and my arm felt fine, although I didnít push it hard when I did 3 work sets of t bar rows. I cut back the load a little as a cautionary approach. I looked immediately after I finished training and there was no recurring mark. But the other dayówould there have been that much swelling 8-10 hours later, without much accompanying pain or soreness? I only had a little extra soreness, and only when I flexed my upper arm.
    You have recurring tendon pain in your hands, elbows, and wrists. You work a physical demanding job that presumably requires you to grip, lift, etc and yet you pull three times a week......and, you donít think volume has anything to do with this?

  5. #5
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    Iíve always worked physically demanding jobs. Since I started trading seriously I was working physical jobs and training 2 or 3 days per week, full body workouts, so this included some kind of pulling each day, whether 2 or 3x/week. Over the last 20 years Iíve accumulated certain work related ailments (starting at age 36, continuing in some form til the present, age 56). In addition to soreness in my knees caused primarily by arthritis and chronic meniscus damage, these have been work related tendon soreness. So, do I think volume has anything to do with it? In short, not really. I can remember specific work situations that aggravated certain joints and caused painful conditions that while improving somewhat, never completely went away. When I trained, I would alter intensity, movements, rep schemes, volume, etc. to work around the pain. If a movement directly aggravated the condition I would find something that didnít, so I could continue to train. Sometimes Iíve trained 2x/week instead of 3. Sometimes Iíve had months away from training due to work schedules and other issues. Whether I was training or not, the aches and pains have continued, which is why I blame work and age instead of training volume.
    However, Iím not saying that Iím using the optimum volume right now. I could be doing too much. Since trying the Starting Strength NLP last year I have maintained a pretty consistent 3x/week schedule. This included some kind of pulling each workout. Since my squats and press stalled out I have altered the program a little, added weight more slowly, experimented with different movements, etc. but usually continued the 3x/week schedule. So that has been my approach to volume. I did cut back to 2 days this spring when I had an especially demanding work schedule with an addition 20 hrs per week of overtime and I was very fatigued. Even with the decreased days per week of training I had to drop all my poundages.

    My initial question had nothing to do with volume per se but was inquiring about that mark on my bicep, which is gone now. Iím continuing for the next couple workouts to go a little lighter and not push as hard in the back movements to keep on the safe side.

    Would you suggest just training 2x/week? I read Sullivanís The Barbell Prescription and while he does mention 2x/week programs most of them are 3x/week for both novices and intermediates. My soreness seems to be the same whether I train 2 or 3x/week.

    Thanx, Chris

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris white View Post
    I’ve always worked physically demanding jobs. Since I started trading seriously I was working physical jobs and training 2 or 3 days per week, full body workouts, so this included some kind of pulling each day, whether 2 or 3x/week. Over the last 20 years I’ve accumulated certain work related ailments (starting at age 36, continuing in some form til the present, age 56). In addition to soreness in my knees caused primarily by arthritis and chronic meniscus damage, these have been work related tendon soreness. So, do I think volume has anything to do with it? In short, not really. I can remember specific work situations that aggravated certain joints and caused painful conditions that while improving somewhat, never completely went away. When I trained, I would alter intensity, movements, rep schemes, volume, etc. to work around the pain. If a movement directly aggravated the condition I would find something that didn’t, so I could continue to train. Sometimes I’ve trained 2x/week instead of 3. Sometimes I’ve had months away from training due to work schedules and other issues. Whether I was training or not, the aches and pains have continued, which is why I blame work and age instead of training volume.
    However, I’m not saying that I’m using the optimum volume right now. I could be doing too much. Since trying the Starting Strength NLP last year I have maintained a pretty consistent 3x/week schedule. This included some kind of pulling each workout. Since my squats and press stalled out I have altered the program a little, added weight more slowly, experimented with different movements, etc. but usually continued the 3x/week schedule. So that has been my approach to volume. I did cut back to 2 days this spring when I had an especially demanding work schedule with an addition 20 hrs per week of overtime and I was very fatigued. Even with the decreased days per week of training I had to drop all my poundages.

    My initial question had nothing to do with volume per se but was inquiring about that mark on my bicep, which is gone now. I’m continuing for the next couple workouts to go a little lighter and not push as hard in the back movements to keep on the safe side.

    Would you suggest just training 2x/week? I read Sullivan’s The Barbell Prescription and while he does mention 2x/week programs most of them are 3x/week for both novices and intermediates. My soreness seems to be the same whether I train 2 or 3x/week.

    Thanx, Chris
    Sir, I would say this: if you don't want the backstory being used in a potential answer, please don't provide the backstory. Just ask the question. Succinctly, no one can really diagnose what the mark on your bicep was without a physical examination. It apparently has not affected you much since the onset, and anything we tell you is simply putting forth a hypothesis based on incomplete subjective information. However, you provided the backstory and immediately I can see that volume is an issue. Perhaps your interpretation of volume and my interpretation of volume is different. I think you are going to have to take a hard look at what your daily tasks are, what tasks are repetitive in nature, and you are going to have to consider these things when you put together your program. Decreasing frequency of your training is not optimal, but adjusting the overall volume, especially in high risk muscle groups (common flexor group in the forearms, for example) and make concessions for these. Pulling three times a week isn't necessarily a bad idea, per se, but someone at your age with your occupational history is going to have to use straps to reduce the amount of heavy gripping you are doing.

    At work, do you wear a good pair of knee pads?

  7. #7
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    Yes maybe it was a mistake to mention that overall soreness since it has sort of led to somewhat of an argument over training volume that I definitely did not intend. And you are correct, we may have different ideas about volume. I believe that I have used a fairly low volume approach for most of my training experience, especially compared to a lot of my peers. And I suppose I have a hard time accepting that with age I may have to further modify my expectations.

    Yes I do wear knťe pads when Iím doing tasks that require kneeling. In my early years however I did not, which I now regret. I also use straps on certain heavy movements like bent rows, deadlifts and shrugs.

    Regarding the biceps strain, I realize that you canít give me a complete diagnosis. I was more thinking, ďhey this is a weird thing, a mark or line that shouldnít be there, I know itís from some kind of strain, yet not that painfulóhas anyone else experienced this?Ē And evidently, nobody that has read the post has, or at least theyíre not saying anything. I appreciate your theory though.

    Thanx for your input.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris white View Post
    Yes maybe it was a mistake to mention that overall soreness since it has sort of led to somewhat of an argument over training volume that I definitely did not intend. And you are correct, we may have different ideas about volume. I believe that I have used a fairly low volume approach for most of my training experience, especially compared to a lot of my peers. And I suppose I have a hard time accepting that with age I may have to further modify my expectations.

    Yes I do wear knťe pads when I’m doing tasks that require kneeling. In my early years however I did not, which I now regret. I also use straps on certain heavy movements like bent rows, deadlifts and shrugs.

    Regarding the biceps strain, I realize that you can’t give me a complete diagnosis. I was more thinking, “hey this is a weird thing, a mark or line that shouldn’t be there, I know it’s from some kind of strain, yet not that painful—has anyone else experienced this?” And evidently, nobody that has read the post has, or at least they’re not saying anything. I appreciate your theory though.

    Thanx for your input.
    In the absence of pain or discoloration that would indicate acute trauma, I think the most likely scenario would be remote trauma of unknown duration and that scar tissue is what is producing the change in appearance.

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