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Are Preacher Curls Bad For Your Elbows? (Explained!)

If you’ve ever done preacher curls before, you may have experienced some pain in your elbows during or after the exercise.

This can lead you to worry that preacher curls are bad for your elbows, but is that really the case?

Any exercise comes with some level of risk, but it’s always a good idea to minimize this risk to prevent injuries.

In this article, we look at whether preacher curls are actually bad for your elbows or if there could be other reasons why you might feel some discomfort during the exercise.

Are Preacher Curls Bad For Elbows?

As with many questions related to fitness, the answer to this is both yes and no.

While preacher curls aren’t necessarily dangerous or truly bad for your elbows, they place them under additional stress during the exercise.

When doing any curling exercises, your body has to adapt to the added stress and tension placed upon it.

If the added stress is too much, inflammation of muscles and tendons can occur.

This can not only cause pain and discomfort in the working muscles but also in the surrounding joints too.

As preacher curls do such a good job of isolating your biceps, the nearest joints that are likely to be affected are your elbows.

That doesn’t mean that preacher curls are bad for your elbows though. It simply means you should take care when positioning your arms on the preacher pad and think carefully about how much weight you’ll try to lift.

If you make sure you’re in the correct position, you’re using the correct technique, and you’re lifting a weight appropriate to your current fitness levels – preacher curls can be an effective arm-building exercise with minimal risk of injury.

Why Some People Get Elbow Pain During Preacher Curls

Lifting Too Much Weight

One of the most common reasons why people get elbow pain during preacher curls is that they’re trying to lift a weight too heavy for their current abilities.

Building the bicep peak is a common goal for many gym-goers, so it makes sense that they want to overload their biceps as much as possible to encourage lots of growth.

However, trying to lift too much too soon can have detrimental effects on your training.

Gripping The Bar Too Tight

If you grip the bar (or dumbbells) too tightly during preacher curls, this can cause pain in your elbows.

This is because a tight grip can activate the flexor tender in your forearm that allows your wrist to curl upwards. 

A tight grip that activates this tendon might not result in wrist movement but it can cause pain in your inner elbow.

Why Some People Get Elbow Pain After Preacher Curls

Injury

Pain after a workout or a particular exercise could be the result of an underlying injury.

After any exercise, some mild discomfort in the working muscles is to be expected as the micro-tears in your muscles caused through exercise need time to repair and heal.

However, pain in a joint (like the elbow) might be something a bit more serious.

If you feel severe pain or pain that prevents you from getting on with your everyday life, it’s a good idea to go and see a medical professional.

They’ll be able to advise the best cause of treatment if you are indeed carrying an injury in your elbow.

Incorrect Technique

If you use the incorrect technique during preacher curls, you might feel pain in your elbows after your workout.

This could be because your elbow has been placed under added stress due to errors in your technique.

If you get elbow pain after preacher curls, you should double check your technique before doing them again.

How To Reduce Elbow Pain When Doing Preacher Curls

Don’t Lock Out Your Elbows

Fully locking out your joints is usually a bad idea.

It becomes even more of a bad idea when they’re under added stress from lifting weights.

During preacher curls, ending the lowering phase of the exercise while there’s still a slight bend in your elbows can help keep elbow pain at bay.

Use Light Weights

Lifting lighter weights is a good way of preventing elbow pain during preacher curls.

If you try to lift heavy weights, it’s more likely your technique will contain errors that can cause issues in other parts of your body, including your elbows.

Sometimes lifting lighter weights is more beneficial in the long run than going too heavy too soon.

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