“Wrist and forearm pain are a common complaint among lifters. Many people who lift weights will feel pain on the inside of their wrists that can often travel down the inside portion of their forearm. This happens most often when the weight lifted is towards the heavier end of your range.”
Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex Injuries
For those of you who lift weights, Jeff is a good trainer to listen to. In this video he describes a type of wrist pain that’s common to weight lifters.
He’s referring to the Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex, which includes cartilage and ligaments, which are sometimes over stressed and sometimes torn – especially by those who engage in work or sports that involve a lot of wrist torque or twisting and compression – in Ulnar Deviation, in particular.
Triangular Fibrocartilage Complex injures are common to golfers, tennis players (and other racket sports enthusiasts) mechanics, and construction workers.
In this case, doing Biceps Curls with a barbell (single, fixed bar) especially with heavy weight (and perhaps Bench Presses) has a tendency to compress and stress this part of the wrist joint and cause pain and potentially an injury.
And this can be a fairly serious injury if you damage the cartilage, meniscus or ligaments in this complex, because it will require surgery to repair it. (Cartilage and meniscus tears do not heal.)
The one thing I would add to Jeff’s explanation and suggestions is to stop using a barbell to do Biceps Curls altogether – and to switch to dumbbells – that way your wrists can move independently and are not locked into a fixed angle by the single, fixed barbell.
Unless you are a very hardcore bodybuilder, I don’t see a good reason to ever use a barbell for Biceps Curls (and the only time I use a fixed bar for curls is when doing cable curls, but even that is technically unnecessary. I’m not going heavy, though.)
If you rely only on barbell curls you will always favor your weaker bicep and will always remain weaker in that arm (usually your non-dominant arm) because your stronger arm will always compensate for the weaker one via the fixed bar.
Dumbbells force each Biceps Muscle to work independently and you can also do supination curls, which add complexity to the motion and work your forearm muscles a little more effectively in the process.If you’re starting to experience this kind of pain, take it easy and be careful. I would avoid doing any fixed bar lifting for awhile, including pull ups, lat pull downs and barbell bench presses – probably skip push ups for awhile too!
And if you have Tennis Elbow see this post on Exercises To Avoid!