rehab for bicep strain rehab for bicep strain

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Thread: rehab for bicep strain

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2020

    Default rehab for bicep strain

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    This Saturday morning while deadlifting a double at 395lbs I heard a ripping sound (as did my girlfriend) near my right elbow (supinated side for mixed grip) on my 2nd rep. I put the bar down, freaked out a bit, then went to urgent care. The PA said it appears to be a strain. It's Monday two days layer and I have full range of motion and strength, no bruising, and some low-level pain. (It hurts less than some other lifting-related soreness I have.) My home "hook-test" indicates the tendon is still there.

    6'-3", ~250lbs, a few months shy of 50. Eat well, sleep well. Started barbell training for the first time last April, followed the NLP, had a fall-related injury (left arm--lost some ROM) and a reset, NLP'd again, then transitioned to intermediate around October. I work out a home and have been coached by an SSC in town, and I've been doing a Texas-like intensity/volume four-day split and more recently a sort of non-split or two-lifts-a-day approach, depending on your perspective, that I do 3 or 4 days a week depending on my recovery. Ran out squats and deadlifts twice, now cycling through 3s and 2s on the intensity day for all lifts.

    I've pulled 395 for doubles and triples three times over the last few months, and had pulled 395 for a double the week before. I read quite a bit and it's certainly possible that I jerked the bar a bit and/or didn't have my right arm straight, though I don't know one way or another.

    squat: 350x2x3, 305x5x3
    bench: 235x2x3, 207x5x4
    deadlift: 395x2x1 (alternating rack pulls 325x8x3 and RDLs 305x5x3 for my volume day)
    press: 145x2x3, 127x5x4
    + rows, curls, LTEs, chins, dips once per week

    I'm as strong as I've been in my life and was really was feeling pretty great about it last week, and this injury took a bit of the wind out of my sails. I'm really interested in understanding what's a prudent way to rehab this injury and maintain my progress.

    I figured I'd take this week off to give it a break. The obvious things seems to be:
    1) lay off the deadlifts for 2-4 weeks, learn hook grip and/or use straps and build back up
    2) no curls for 2-4 weeks (maybe light dumbbell curls)
    3) no chins for a while (been doing them with bands anyway)
    4) other lifts should be okay but maybe work back up slowly for the next 4-6 weeks?

    I figured also for a masters lifter, I've been going at the intensity for a good while, so maybe doing a 3-day HLM is prudent for the next few months.

    I've listened and read to a bunch of what Andy Baker has said about his bicep tendon post-op, but like he says: it's hard to find the reasonable middle ground between the very conservative doctors and on the other hand the strongmen who lift for their livelihood. I'm more in the I've had a middle-age transformative experience that has improved my life considerably and I want to keep it up but not put myself in a worse position for the long-run (i.e., surgery).

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2020


    Quote Originally Posted by Josh GH View Post
    My home "hook-test" indicates the tendon is still there.
    Clearly I'm not a doctor: went to an ortho, got an MRI, and now I'm two days post-op. The distal tendon was 90% torn. Got the button procedure. Feeling good, in a sling, not much pain.

    After a lot of internet, got the Rogue cambered bar for squats and good mornings, a Rhyno harness for front squats, and two different shoulder straps (Spud Inc. and Repel Bullies) for deadlift variations. Did a trial run 3-day HLM before surgery, subbing dumbbells for the upper body stuff, modeled on Andy Baker's GGW. Made sense to drop down to the 65-70% of 1RM range to get used to these unfamiliar--to me--lift variations. (Took 40% of upper body barbell lifts to estimate 1RM for dumbbells.). Went okay, weight estimates were reasonable. Got a cable set up for doing some light arm stuff one I get the okay.

    My surgeon does not seem super conservative: no splint, expecting to start light rehab after my post-op visit in eight days, said I can start lifting after 3 months. Going to ease into it, use it as an opportunity to learn some assistance variations I can incorporate into my routine once I get back to the big four. Doing a lot of reading, watching videos by people that went through it, and making a plan has really helped. Feeling very positive despite the setback.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2020


    Glad to hear it's going well and also that you're finding ways to work around it instead of stopping training completely, which it seems a lot of people do. Excellent!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2020


    Quote Originally Posted by dalan View Post
    Glad to hear it's going well and also that you're finding ways to work around it instead of stopping training completely, which it seems a lot of people do. Excellent!
    Thanks. If there was one main takeaway for me, it was that there are plenty of options to keep lifting.


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