Biceps Tendonitis Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo


Hey everybody, it’s Doctor Jo, and today I’m
gonna show you some stretches and exercises for bicipital tendonitis. Let’s get started. So some people call it biceps tendonitis, you might hear that more, but bicipital tendonitis
or biceps tendonitis is when the tendon that goes through the grove there gets irritated.
So you really want to stretch out that bicep muscle, that tendon. You can kind of feel
it. It feels like a little cord right in there, sometimes it’s a little uncomfortable when
you push on it. But you want to stretch out that area, get that movement to get that inflammation
out. So the first one you can do against a doorway as well. I’m just gonna show you kind
of holding on to a chair, but you want to have your palm facing forward, put it either
on the doorway or something solid like the chair and straighten out your arm. And then
take your shoulder and just bring it forward and then a little bit to an angle. And what
that does is stretches out that bicep area right there. So holding that for about 30
seconds, nice big push, pushing forward helps a little bit more. And then come back. It
might be a little tender in that area so don’t push too hard. Just push to where you feel
a good stretch and then 30 seconds, do that 3 times. If that one’s not super comfortable,
or you want a different way to do it, you can get a chair or a counter top, put your
palm down on the chair. And then same thing, kind of push your shoulder forward or lean
forward and you’re gonna get that stretch through that biceps muscle and the bicep tendon
up there. So again, hold that for about 30 seconds, come back up, and do that 3 times.
So now I’m gonna show you some exercises in the chair. So for the next exercises, you’re
gonna use a resistive band. This is gonna be internal and external rotation of the shoulder.
So you want to anchor your band into something like a doorway, have some mysterious person
hold it off to the side. You can tie it up onto something, anything nice and sturdy.
But make sure it’s tight so it doesn’t come back and pop off and pop you in the head or
anything. Now keep your elbow by your side. Some people have a hard time with this, so
if you roll up a towel and put it right underneath, then squeeze it in there, if it falls down
then you know your elbow’s coming away from the side. So the first one, keep the thumb
up, keep your wrist in a neutral position, elbow at about a 90 degree angle, and just
nice and slow and controlled come in towards your stomach and then control it coming back
out. You don’t have to go all the way back out, just come to about that parallel to your
other arm kind of area. So just in nice and slow, out nice and slow. Just starting off
with 10 to 15 of these. If they become easy, you get to 20 – 25, then you can go to a more
resistive band. Now I’m gonna switch sides, just so I don’t have to move the band, but
you would still be doing the same side, and now go the other way. So this time, your hand
is gonna be in towards your stomach, elbow’s still by your side, still at about that 90
degree angle, still thumb up, still wrist in neutral position, and now you’re gonna
pull it open this way. And then slowly come back in. So again, you don’t have to go all
the way out, you don’t have to feel like you have to pull it out this far, just come til
it’s right in front of your body, almost perpendicular to your chest area. And then slowly come back
in. So again, same thing, starting off with 10 – 15, work up to 20 – 25. If that becomes
easy, get a more resistive band. Alright, wow, look at that, that just came off so nice.
And the last one is gonna be a bicep curl. So again, you’re working that bicep muscles
and tendon. Step on the band. Make sure you’re stepping on it hard so it doesn’t come back
and pop you. Keep your elbow again by your side. And then just slowly pull all the way
up towards your arm. So get a full motion and come all the way back down. So if you
want to stand up doing it, you can, cause you want that full motion all the way through.
And just nice and controlled squeeze it there, a little hold, and then slowly come back down.
So again, starting off 10 – 15 and working your way up from there. So there you have
it. Those were your stretches and exercises for the bicipital tendonitis, or biceps tendonitis.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section, if you’d like to check out
some other videos, go to AskDoctorJo.com Don’t forget to like us. And remember, be safe,
don’t hurt yourself, have fun, and I hope you feel better soon.

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Reader Comments

  1. MH

    Another great video; clear and straight to the point! Would it be possible to do a video for stretching triceps & upper/lower traps & rhomboids please as it would be great to see your version as there are so many out there, many thanks!

  2. Rilkas

    The variation with the chair is the best biceps stretch I have done. Just one question. If I do it with my palm up, will it stretch more of my lower biceps or does it not matter if my palm is up or down?
    Asking because I have a distal biceps tendonitis and my upper biceps head is a little impinged because of rounded shoulders.

    Thanks for answers! 🙂

  3. Retro Game Lounge

    Thank you for this video. I have a question, I'm experiencing some pain in my forearm/elbow in the lower bicep tendon region. Will these same exercises work for that?

  4. BrownDogIsInTheHouse

    at what point should one start these exercises. I have pain doing the first exercise. the pain first appeared 7 days ago and is not going away even after repeated treatment of ultrasound and rest and ice. thanks for the video

  5. tamma saldaño

    I'm so afraid about doing the last stretch :S actually I think that was one of the causes of my tendonitis :C would it work for me if I just do all the other exercises??

  6. cryvsspy

    stretching inflamed tissues is a good idea? Isn't stress/trauma what caused the inflammation in the first place and stretching going to make it worse?

  7. Valentina M

    Hi, very useful video, although it hurts a lot if you try to stretch your bicep as you do by using that chair. I have a bicep tendonitis and I assure you that it's impossible to push back your arm without crying for the pain 🙁

  8. BrownDogIsInTheHouse

    Thank you for an informative video. I am suffering from biceps tendinitis. At the same time, I have to exercise the trapezius muscles because otherwise it becomes weak and I will develop trigger point's on it. What is a safe way to do shoulder shrugs or similar exercises to keep on exercising the upper trapezius muscle. Obviously I'm not looking for bodybuilding but just trying to avoid the muscles from getting weaker while I wait for the tendinitis pain to reduce. Thank you again for your great series of videos

  9. Sean Hansen

    I've had this for decades now, since high school basketball. If I do this every day, roughly how long should it take before I could go back to the gym without my shoulder getting inflamed? A month or two?

    And who was the mystery person holding the band?!?!

  10. C6DL -

    Hi DrJo

    For 4 months now I'm struggling with an injury in my shoulder area.
    I hope you can help me with my diagnose because it's driving me crazy.

    The injury is created at the lowest point in the fly exercise on a machine (eccentric phase)
    There was to much weight on the machine to handle for me.
    At the lowest point I heard something snap in my shoulder area.

    I went to the doctor, multiple physiotherapist , hospital etc.
    They all say I don't have bursitis, or other shoulder injuries.
    I can do all the shoulders test without any pain.

    I've also got an MRI, CT scan and ultrasound test.
    There are no strange things found 🙁
    The ONLY thing that is found, is some very little moisture in my biceps tendinitis.
    It was so very little, that they can't say that this is my problem.

    I can localize the pain in the biceps area in my shoulder.
    If I press in this particular area it's very painful.

    My symptoms are:
    – pain in the front of the shoulder (at the point where shoulder and biceps come together) when putting my coats on (during pulling)
    – also pain in front of shoulder when putting my jeans on (during pulling)
    – after 30 minutes of playing playstation, and only using my hands (pushing the buttons) the pain is also appears in the same area shoulder / biceps.

    I did a lot of internet research, and my own diagnose is, is that I have biceps tendinitis.
    (the only strange thing is, why this is not visible in my body with the MRI or Ultrasound ?)
    I do the stretching exercises now (3 exercises every day), and I train my rotator cuff every day (also 3 exercises)

    My physiotherapy is trying dry needling to me now, to see if this works.
    I can't go to gym now for 3 months.
    During the training I don't have a lof of issues, but several hours after training it's become very painful.
    The day after the pain is less.

    What do you think what my diagnose is after this story?
    I don't believe it's an inflammation (because it must be visible on the scans) but maybe an irritation.

    What do you think Dr Jo?

    Thank you very much!

  11. Sandip Paul

    I have pain in bicep and elbow joint. Only difference is that the pain is not in outside or lateral. But it is inside elbow. right where the bicep muscles is starting. I have seen your tennis/golfer elbow stretches. But it is not helping me. Can you please suggest any other stretch.

  12. Elefterija Balkoska

    hey dr Jo thanks for these stretches, would you recommend to do these once a day or more times / day? I had a slap tear surgery 7 months ago and the surgeon performed also a biceps tenodesis, so while my shoulder is doing ok, my biceps is still troubling me. In your opinion how long does it take to recover completely? I've been told it sometimes takes a year but wanted to have your thoughts on this matter too. Thank you in advance, love your videos and exercises !

  13. pablito1904

    Hi Doctor,

    I have mostly pain/discomfort in the front of my shoulder, especially if i do a lateral raise's move.

    So could this be my biceps long head that is affected or would it be rather my supraspinatus (but it doesn't matter at all when my physician do resistance's test on it) ?

    Best regards

  14. Jim Gallaher

    Dr. Jo, I'm currently doing therapy for a slap tear and anterior instability that occurred when I took a hard fall during skiing. My therapist is doing a great job and I'm definitely seeing some improvement after 5 weeks so far. Most of my soreness/pain seems to come from biceps and side of the arm when I'm doing exercises which I know can be an issue with slap tears. Which exercises can I do that help the bicep pain while not aggravating the slap tear or issue of anterior stability? Thanks!

  15. ALL HAIL VEGETA - the prince of saiyans

    dr jo…i have had 5 subluxations and 2 dislocations in my left shoulder. please make a vid…with exercises to regain strength & ROM.

    also I have a subuxated bicep tendon in my right shoulder. does that mean I tore my Subscapularis rotator cuff tendon??

    please reply.

  16. Paul Mckenzie

    Jo~Jo! I recently had an MSK Ultrasound for what I thought was {L} shoulder impingement, as I have symptoms consistent with that {overhead pressing and external rotation being the 2 main issues}, and turns out it's moreso {L} Upper Bicep Tendonosis.

    I had a steroid injection 2 weeks ago which {combined with rest, and Ibuprofen ~ that I'm gonna stop taking, as it's been for about a month and don't wanna rely on those} has helped, and currently waiting on Physio.

    Other than what you're showing here is there any more I can do, and during doing these is it a bad idea to do them if feeling discomfort, or is "fighting" through that the best way to strengthen and repair, 'cause there's a fine line between working through it, and doing more harm than good with a gym mentality!

    Thanks.

  17. Keneder Santana

    Hi Dr Jo. Are these stretches the same ones used to treat tendonitis of the short head? I went through PT for inflammation of the long head but recently found out it was the short head that was inflamed. My PT consisted of a lot of scapular retraction and building good posture. Is that the reason why my PT wasn't successful in treating my problem?

  18. Horacio Nelson

    Not tried these yet, but I've have tendinitis in my bicep for about 9 months now but only recently found out it's bicep tendinitis (the physios thought it was shoulder tendinitis as the pain was in my shoulder) so do you think any permanent damage will have been done because I've had this injury for so long and also I've got I have a muscle imbalance chest being bigger than back so do you think that could be aggravating it, thanks for reading any help would be appreciated

  19. Viki Gilbert

    Hi Dr Jo you are so helpful and I am so confused. My pain is mostly in my bicep although at times I feel it in my shoulder so is this still termed as Bicep tendinitis? I also have the pain (really sore) when I bend my arm at the elbow my arm is then lying across my body (90 degree angle) Palm is facing inwards lying across the opposite side just below my chest then, then whilst lifting my arm in that position, when the elbow reaches around cheek height, the pain in my bicep is at that point is quite extreme. Can you advise me please? Thank you Regards Viki

  20. BrownDogIsInTheHouse

    Hello doctor so thank you for a wonderful series of videos. I am suffering with biceps tendonitis for the past 5 weeks. I have a tens machine and it is not clear to me where to place the electrodes. One view is that they should be placed on top of the pain point. Another view is that they should be placed equal distance from the point of pain. The reason for the second you is that the current from the two electrodes will interfere and will reduce the pain. Which one of these is correct? I'm getting conflicting responses from the physiotherapist at my clinic Centre also. Thank you for your time.

  21. Ted Abbott

    I did self diagnose 6 monthes ago thinking it was rotator cuff. Finally went to doctor today and got diagnosed as bicep issue instead. Going to PT Monday finally. Don’t self diagnose.

  22. Daniel Deitz

    Hey im a pitcher with bicep tendonitis, ive always been told to stretch the external rotators and strengthen internal rotator cuff muscle because i have so much excess external rotation, i just wanted to know what uou thought, about which to stretch and which to strengthen.

  23. KYOZAKI

    Thanks Dr Jo. I have a tight lower biceps tendons, and I've realised that the problem is the muscles are being pulled by whatever the upper tendons are attached to in my upper back, causing tightness and pain at the lower biceps tendons. Do you have any exercises to cure this tightness or release my upper back muscles so they don't pull on my biceps so tightly? Thanks!

    Flexing my upper back stops this, but then the tightness moves to a different area, rotator cuff triceps and even my chest or traps. I'd appreciate any advice you can give.

  24. Rishab Agarwal

    Hello Doctor Jo. I am a tennis player and I've bicep tendon pain and bicep mid muscle pain from the past 1 month, I have to train 3to 4hrs every day for my upcoming international tournament which is after 3 weeks. Can please suggest me something for the quick recovery. I recently visited the best physiotherapist in my city, but it didn't help me so much. Thanks.

  25. Randall Avram

    I had a 9 to 5 labrum tear repaired two years ago (no tendonesis, bicep still intact) and then a subacromial decompression 4 months ago to treat my biceps tendonitis. Unfortunately not much help, and the bicep tendon pain that was attributed to impingement has not improved. One thing that was never really focused on during physical therapy was strengthening of the rotator cuff…do you think band work and focusing on rotator cuff strengthening could help? Any advice is welcome 🙂 Thanks!

  26. loushka128

    My LHB tendon has been inflamed for 3 months now. The last doctor I saw 2 weeks ago said I had to stop my elastic band excercises, which I thought specifically targeted shoulder impingement and so should help my body develop good form for the shoulders and strengthen my rotator cuffs. I feel no pain doing them but I'm not sure if they could be contributing to my tendon inflammation. He did not tell me how long I should pause and left me hanging there. He did not tell me when to reconsult him but just prescribed cortisone tablets (which I bought but still did not take) and seemed to be in a hurry. Can you please give me some advice and probably an explanation as to why the inflamation ist still there after 3 months and whether it is normal for the healing to take that long? Are biceps curls with 5Kg still safe for me? (I do them controlled with could form, scapula fully retracted and shoulders down, they are easy for me and don't produce pain at the moment of executing them. Whether they contribute to the very slight and dull pain I feel afterwards, I do not know).

  27. loushka128

    Do yo think passive hanging from a bar is a good idea as long as the biceps tendon doesn't hurt? I read that hanging has alot of benefits and would like to know your take on that.

  28. Joe Podsiedzik

    I had shoulder decompression surgery about 5 weeks ago and seem to have developed this bicep tendonitis. I will give these exercises a try and see if they help until i go see my physiotherapist but how often should these be done? Should i try incorporate these into my exercises for the shoulder or would doing both at the same time be too much at once?

    Thanks

  29. SMH

    Dr Jo, if doing these exercises everyday, about how long would it take to actually start getting some pain relief. It's my right arm, I can still left weights however there are certain motions that I just can't do,. Throwing a ball is out of the question and just putting a seat belt on is awful. Worst pain is when I wake up every morning and begin to roll my right arm over toward my left side. Been dealing with this for almost a year now.

  30. Tyson The fastest

    Hey Dr. Jo my bicep has been feeling extremely tight and a little tinder to the touch the tendon is very tight even to the touch, I work out often and have for probably 11 years now, I am not getting into MMA and after punching for a few minutes I start to feel my right bicep and pec area start to get really tight. I try stretching but I think I might be over stretching it I’m not sure. Your input would be much appreciated thank you 😊

  31. Alex B Chakoian

    Aside from exercises over the head, should I limit any other parts of my workout? Doing push-ups and dips are pretty painful on my shoulder area right now. I don't mind powering through, but don't want to aggravate the injury either.

    Also, thank you so much for posting this video.

  32. Andrew Sins

    My left arm is a slightly smaller and less vascular than my right.. my left shoulder has bad bicep shoulder problem, I sleep on my left side to

  33. Sup Sub

    Excuse me, this is for Biceps Tendonitis exercises. Could you mind telling me why your first suggested exercise is to strengthen Subscapularis
    ( internal rotation)?

  34. ravi hegde

    Hello doctor,
    I was diagnosed with mild supraspinatus tendenosis in my right shoulder around 6th months back. Shoulder overuse(including a heavy weighted object lifting and moving in an akward position; upward front lifting and moving using my shoulder biceps)was the cause.Now, my pain is slightly improved but still i feel like I may have biceps tendonosis as well as since I get pain in biceps when i do certain movements that require biceps work or overhead activities especially combing my hair. Kindly suggest me some useful excercise if i need specifically for my problem other than these exercises in this video.Thank you in advance☺.

  35. Kathy Yeung

    I get Biceps Tendinitis. I know I have to strengthen muscle of bicep. I usually strengthen bicep, Infraspinatus, Subscapularis, Supraspinatus and lat. But I don't strengthen triceps.
    I afraid that it can cause imbalance. For Biceps Tendonitis recovery, is it better to strengthen triceps, such as Dumbbell Kickback
    ?

  36. Brett Martin

    Hey Dr. Jo! My pain started only in my left bicep from doing pull-ups. Usually the pain only comes from this specific movement and my shoulder isn't affected. Do you think this is still bicep tendonitis or do you recommend another one of your videos to maybe help the problem? I've tried icing and resting it now for 2 weeks to no avail. Thank you for your time!

  37. Trent H

    I’ve just recently found your Chanel and your videos help me so much. My body is just naturally tight and it’s really nice to see all the stretches for the different body parts all in one place. Thank you for helping me and keep up the great work!

  38. Rajatt Ssharma

    Can I continue doing my regular hypertrophy based strength training, while I have this issue of Bicep Tendonitis? Because I feel exactly the same as you described at the start of the video, in my left bicep. I don't have very major issue but I keep feeling this irritation, most of the times during the day. I also found out that when I do shoulder external rotations, I feel good in my left bicep after that. Doing these exercises as told by you in this video will help or should I add some more movements? Please reply?

  39. Jimmy Tran

    Hey Doctor Jo, I recently discovered your channel! Love the content! As a PT aide with plans in pursuing a DPT, what's your opinion on PNF stretches? How can it be implemented on the bicep tendon/front delt area?

  40. Jacob Butler

    I have minor bicep tendonitis and it really bums me out im barely 20 years old and was trying to build muscle. Will this ever go away?

  41. michael gonzalez

    Great video !!!! I have biceps tendinitis I got a Kenalog shot (steroid) from doctors so it doesn’t hurt anymore But when I rotate my arm still feel it popping in and out I think because it still inflamed. Are pushups a bad idea that’s how I like to workout. Also any tips on how to get it to stop popping in and out of groove

  42. fastrivers

    Will these same workouts help when bicep pain is closer to the elbow? When I have my elbow bent at 90 degrees and palm facing up, I can feel a lot of pain in my bicep but it is closer towards the elbow and not near the shoulder.

  43. pulkit jain

    Good video, i have pain in my biceps after arm wrestling please mam provide some more better solution, i got some relief from this exercise in the video as shown by you but please provide me solutions

  44. Deborah Redwood

    great exercises, I'm also wondering what kind of vitamins and minerals I should be taking. I'm a vegetarianand I'm suspicious I'm lacking in nutrients

  45. I MP

    When I try to do biceps exercises the tendon that hurts is the one on the opposite extreme of the biceps. The one that connects to the forearm. What causes this and how can i avoid it. My biceps are very small and week and i really need to train them.

  46. Rafael Nadal

    Hey how do i recognise if i have the injury or not. I'm a tennis player. I just took a two month break and now restarting on tennis. How do i know if i still have the injury or not?
    And is basketball bad for this injury?

  47. Sutlej Sutar

    Thanks Dr Jo… I ve been taking medicine for shoulder and bicepital tendonitis….more 15 days to go… Can u pls suggest how to know that it has healed and resume normal workout

  48. Alan Abhari

    Just found you online after a recent bicep injury. Thank you for all the knowledge and info you provide. I don’t have health insurance at the moment, so this is the next best thing. Again, thank you.

  49. Nick Jameson

    I have a question Dr. Jo been. I have been working out in the 2 days and i did some low pulley behind the body curl i did my set i was, i increased the weight then it was ok., third one i put my wrist with the same weight when i was curl the weight after i finished i was feeling pain like inflammation or irritated to middle of the biceps down the biceps. Maybe its a tendinitis or i dont know and i dont know should i keep working too?

  50. killer12345627

    Hi Dr. Jo, just want to know how many sets and reps I should do for bicep curls, sometimes its just so confusing on the rep range

    Let say I have a weak bicep on my left, how many should I do if I just begin using bands in the beginning?

  51. Kevin Bergey

    My long-head bicep is hot/inflamed, but is it normal that it pops/clicks everytime I lift it? Followed by ridiculous pain + inflammation.

    I was told by an orthopedist that I might need a bicep tenodesis…I have had 2 surgeries on my shoulder in the last 6 yrs and this is a new issue from 10 months ago, and I did PT for 4 months + another PT session for 2 months. FML

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