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T-Rex Arms After Workout (Causes + How To Fix It!)

If you’re wondering why you get T-Rex arms after a workout, then you’ve come to the right place!

In this article, I explain what T-Rex arms actually are, what causes them, and some solutions to alleviate them.

t-rex arms

What Are T-Rex Arms After A Workout?

T-Rex arms describes the muscle soreness and tightness you may feel in your arms after a workout where your biceps are heavily used.

They can be experienced straight after your gym session or even in the following couple of days.

It’s called T-Rex arms because when you have sore and stiff biceps, it becomes very uncomfortable to straighten your arms, giving them a short appearance, like a T-Rex.

Why Do You Get T-Rex Arms After Working Out?

T-Rex arms are caused by delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

When you train your arms, tiny tears occur in the muscle fibres and lactic acid builds up in your arm muscles.

Both these factors result in a low-level inflammatory response which causes DOMS.

The severity of DOMS depends on numerous factors, including nutrition, sleep quality and workout intensity.

How Do You Get Rid Of T-Rex Arms After Working Out?

I’ve found 8 methods to help prevent T-Rex arms after working out. These are:

  • Low-Intensity Exercise
  • Adequate Hydration
  • Pain Medication (NSAID)
  • Good Quality Sleep
  • Stretching
  • Eating Sufficient Protein
  • Taking A Shower
  • Massage Therapy

Let’s take a look at these in more detail.

Low-Intensity Arm Exercise

Most people with T-Rex arms following a workout will take a rest day or do some lower-body exercise.

While this is logical, it can be even more beneficial if you add some low-intensity arm exercise into your routine.


Well, by lightly exercising your arms, you’re encouraging more blood flow to the sore muscles.

And more blood flow means more nutrients are reaching the muscles.

These nutrients are vital for repair and recovery, so will help speed up the process of fixing your T-Rex arms.

I recommend a few sets of bicep curls with an extremely low weight.

Whereas anything strenuous, like pull-ups or chin-ups, should be avoided.

Adequate Hydration

Adequate hydration is vital for nearly every bodily process, including muscle recovery.

But many people skip on drinking enough water with T-Rex arms, as the movement of lifting a glass of water to your mouth can be painful!

Don’t be this guy.

If you do find it uncomfortable lifting a glass of water to your mouth, then you can always use a straw.

As a guideline, aim to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.

Pain Medication (NSAID)

There are some concerns that NSAIDs can inhibit muscle growth, but the latest research suggests that this isn’t the case.

Since T-Rex arms are the result of low-level inflammation in your biceps, taking anti-inflammatory painkillers, like ibuprofen, can help relieve them.

As always, never take more than the manufacturer’s recommended dose.

Good Quality Sleep

Arguably the most underrated aspect of any recovery protocol is good quality sleep.

After all, muscle hypertrophy – the process of muscles repairing and getting bigger – happens when you sleep!

If you’re someone who only gets 5-6 hours of poor-quality sleep a night, then your T-Rex arms will likely be much more severe.

Whereas if you consistently get 7-8 hours of high-quality sleep a night, your muscle soreness and stiffness will typically be mild.

Simple changes like avoiding caffeine after 3pm, avoiding screen time within 90 minutes of going to bed, and taking a magnesium supplement will make a huge difference to your sleep quality.


Stretching works similarly to low-intensity exercise.

When you stretch your biceps after a workout, you help straighten and extend the muscle, which reduces cramping and tightness.

Stretching also encourages blood flow to the muscle, supplying the damaged muscle tissue with more nutrients to help with recovery.

Both these benefits are invaluable when it comes to preventing T-Rex arms.

Eating Sufficient Protein

Your muscles are made up of protein.

Without an adequate protein intake, your muscles will have difficulty recovering and repairing from the strenuous exercise.

The likely outcome of this is severe DOMS.

Whereas if you eat a protein-rich diet, you’re providing your muscles with everything they need to recover.

As a rule of thumb, aim for 1.5g of protein for every pound you weigh.

So, if you weigh 150lbs, then aim for a daily protein intake of 225g.

Taking A Shower

Taking a shower after an intense workout is not only deeply relaxing but can help speed up muscle recovery too!

As for what temperature the shower should be – both hot and cold are beneficial.

Hot water will help relax your muscles and reduce tension, which will help prevent T-Rex arms.

Whereas some research suggests that cold water (such as taking a cold shower) can help speed up muscle recovery.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy, while not cheap, can be a great tool at reducing muscle soreness.

The benefits of massage therapy are profound, including improved circulation and reduced inflammation.

Both of these will speed up the recovery process of your stiff biceps.

If you’re short on cash, then you can even try massaging your arms yourself!

Here’s a great video to get you started.

Is It Normal To Have T-Rex Arms After A Workout?

It’s completely normal to have T-Rex arms after a workout where your biceps have been working hard.

DOMS is experienced by nearly everyone who steps foot in a gym, so is nothing to be concerned about.

However, if your arms are still sore after a significant amount of time (4 or more days after your workout), then you should speak to your medical professional to rule out any potential injury.

Does T-Rex Arms After A Workout Mean Muscle Growth?

You’ve likely heard the saying ‘No pain, no gain’ – so you would expect that T-Rex arms means muscle growth, right?

Well interestingly, research suggests that muscle hypertrophy has very little correlation to DOMS.

In other words, the soreness of your muscles after exercise doesn’t predict how much muscle growth you’ll experience!

How Long Do T-Rex Arms Last After A Workout?

T-Rex arms are usually a temporary condition and will typically subside within a few days. However, the exact length of time can vary depending on a number of factors.

For me personally, I’ve experienced T-Rex arms after particularly intense upper body workouts, especially when I’ve pushed myself to lift heavier weights or complete more reps than usual.

When this happens, I find that the tightness and discomfort can last anywhere from a day to three days, but it ultimately depends on the severity of the workout.

It’s important to note that the duration of T-Rex arms can also depend on how you treat your body after the workout. If you neglect to stretch or cool down properly, or fail to properly hydrate and nourish your muscles with protein and other nutrients, your recovery time may be longer.

Another factor to consider is your overall fitness level.

If you’re new to weightlifting or haven’t been consistent with your workouts, you may experience T-Rex arms more frequently and with greater intensity than someone who’s been working out for a longer period of time.

T-Rex Arms vs Injury: How To Tell The Difference

When you’re experiencing T-Rex arms, it can be easy to worry that you’ve injured yourself.

But there are a few key differences between T-Rex arms and actual injury that can help you determine what you’re dealing with.

I’ve had a few instances where I thought I may have injured myself during a workout, but it turned out to just be T-Rex arms.

One way I could tell was by paying attention to the level of pain I was experiencing.

T-Rex arms typically feel uncomfortable or tight, but not necessarily painful. If you’re experiencing sharp, shooting pain, that could be a sign of injury.

Another way to differentiate between T-Rex arms and injury is by paying attention to the duration of the discomfort.

As I mentioned earlier, T-Rex arms typically subside within a few days with proper rest, hydration, and nutrition. If you’re experiencing discomfort for longer than that, or if the discomfort is getting worse instead of better, that could be a sign of injury.

Lastly, it’s important to listen to your body and pay attention to any other symptoms you may be experiencing.

If you have swelling, bruising, or other signs of physical damage, that could be a sign of injury.

Similarly, if you’re experiencing numbness or tingling in your arms, that could be a sign of nerve damage and should be addressed by a medical professional.


It can be frustrating when you have T-Rex arms after a workout. Thankfully, there are many ways to reduce it:

  •  Low-Intensity Exercise
  • Adequate Hydration
  • Pain Medication (NSAID)
  • Good Quality Sleep
  • Stretching
  • Eating Sufficient Protein
  • Taking A Shower
  • Massage Therapy

That’s all for T-Rex arms, but why isn’t your chest sore after a workout?

Thanks for reading!