sore biceps and can’t straighten arm

What to Do When You Have Sore Biceps and Can’t Straighten Arm

You have recently started working out and getting serious about your fitness. But just after the first few sessions, you develop very sore biceps and can’t straighten arm?

You are not alone. This is an experience shared among not just beginners but even experienced athletes.

It can really put a damper on your workout journey if you are new to it, but most people who work out frequently are used to it. They have even come to anticipate it and avoid it.

If you have sore biceps and can’t straighten arm after a workout, you are experiencing Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It is also known as DOMS.

DOMS occurs when you put your muscles through movements that it is not used to. It is your muscles’ way of adapting to these new and usually sudden movements that you make when working out.


What to Do When You Have Sore Biceps and Can't Straighten Arm

The fact that soreness is not just limited to a special group of people, but pretty much everyone active is proof that it is a good sign of muscle growth.

Bicep pain when extending the arm is not limited to a few people, so if you have that, rest assured that it is normal.

Scientifically speaking, muscle growth does not happen in a vacuum. When you work out, your bicep muscle fibers undergo small tears and strains.

This is how they adapt to the new status quo (which, in this case, is your workout).

 While you might not feel this pain during or immediately after a workout, you might find that you have sore arms and can’t straighten arm the next day.

This is a sign of muscle growth and strengthening. As the micro-tears heal, your muscles grow back stronger.

As you continue with your fitness regime, the pain will not be as intense as when you were beginning because already your muscles are used to being stretched.


There are many quick remedies if you suddenly find that you cannot straighten your arm at the elbow.


Ice is the go-to remedy for any sort of soreness, and sore biceps aren’t an exception. It will reduce inflammation in your biceps.


When you apply to a core area, the blood flow to the painful spot increases. The oxygen supply to the sore area will increase and make things much better. It also rids the place of the chemicals that cause soreness.


Massage will increase blood flow to your biceps and give you relief from pain. If the pain isn’t that bad, you can lightly massage your biceps with your fingers with some light movements.

However, if you have really sore biceps and can’t straighten arm, have someone else massage your biceps. You can even schedule a massage session at your local spa if it is that serious.


Sore biceps can be so frustrating, especially when you cannot even accomplish the simplest tasks like pouring your coffee.

If ice isn’t working fast enough and you cannot schedule a massage immediately, over-the-counter pain meds will give you relief until the pain passes.

Anti-inflammatory meds will also help you feel better fast.


Being in so much pain, you might want just to sit down all day and not move your painful biceps as little as possible.

Do not think in that direction. Activity is good to increase blood circulation. You can go for a brisk walk, stretch, but don’t sit around. Take care not to work your muscles too hard either.


If you have sore biceps and can’t straighten arm, the best thing you can do is wait for it to subside. Make it better with the muscle recovery methods listed above but to avoid a repeat of the soreness, try these tips.


Stretching is the best antidote for muscle soreness, but most people do not realize this. 

If you are just beginning to work out on your own, you might go straight into heavy lifting and cardio without a warm-up. This creates a perfect platform for sore biceps. 

So stretch before you begin any workout, and stretch both your arms after a workout.

 Try to stretch out your arms fully a little at a time while rubbing at the sore spots until you can fully stretch it out.


According to a small study, dehydration will make soreness much worse. Make sure to stay hydrated at all times. More so, as muscles tear, they release chemicals that contribute to soreness. 

These chemicals will pile up if there isn’t enough water to wash them away. 


To avoid future occurrences of sore biceps, start your exercises easy. Apart from stretching, start with simple exercises like jogging.

 Also, do not finish an intense session and leave off like that. Finish your session with a simple, relaxing exercise before you call it a day.


There is a huge difference between DOM and pain from overtraining. If you have sore biceps and can’t stretch arm, and this goes on for days without waning, it could be that you are overtraining.

Most people get so excited they start the training with so much energy and just don’t know what to stop. 

When they then experience pain, you might assume that it is something severe. And that maybe you were not cut out for working out.

Take things easy, especially in the beginning, and only do what your body is comfortable with.


There is nothing wrong with giving your body time to recover. If you are into high-intensity workouts, best alternate between days instead of doing them every single day. 

As you rest, you may do very light movements to keep things moving, so you do not have to start from scratch the next time you train.


Do everything to ensure your biceps recover but by no means stop working out. True, the pain can be very frustrating, and you might even be tempted to quit working out altogether. 

It gets better with time. If you take time off exercise totally, you will be back to the same problem the next time you start working out. 

Try the quick relief methods to quell the pain, and keep pushing through the first few days. It gets better. Once you feel used to the rhythm, try to cross-train so your muscle growth does not plateau.

If you do one monotonous exercise all the time, your muscles will grow used to it, and there will be a smaller growth margin. So, diversify your workouts.

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