Doctor Secrets!

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Avoid Bicep Rupture

April 3rd, 2011 · 1 Comment · My Tips

Not sure if it’s a coincidence but the past week I’ve seen yet another bicep rupture. Which is odd because in the past year this makes the fifth person I’ve seen, including my dentist, with a completely torn bicep after having seen none in the previous 5 years. Weird huh.


The bicep muscle attaches to the shoulder at the top and into bone just below the elbow crease. That allows it when flexed to pull your forearm up toward your chest. If it’s overloaded it will snap from one or both of its tethers.

In all cases the story was similar: grabbing a heavy object that was falling – a garage door, a motorcycle, a person e.t.c. – a nasty snap felt in the arm, and searing pain. What I would see is a Popeye bicep with flexion weakness, tenderness over the bicep muscle, and in one case warmth over the site.

Bicep ruptures are anecdotally more common in bodybuilders than the general population due to using very heavy weights and steroid water retention softening their tendons.

Not sure why so many weekend warriors this year are sharing this injury but the key thing to avoid it is to catch heavy things slowly. What I mean by that is not trying to reduce momentum of a falling object all at once. When I catch something very heavy I actually fall with it following its path and gradually slow it on the way down. I do not try to completely arrest it in the air. My arms and legs slow its decent and whatever velocity is left over the ground absorbs. I call it a “Grounding Catch” method.

Of course, you also have the option of just letting it drop. In every case I’ve seen, the object turned out not to be worth saving from the wrath of the floor.

More bicep rupture information.

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