How to rebuild your torn bicep

Written by julia derek
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How to rebuild your torn bicep
This man is doing a bicep curl. (senior power one image by Paul Moore from

Your biceps are the muscles located at the front of your upper arm. While it looks like one muscle, it actually consists of two. They flex your arm and help you lift things. Most bicep tears occur when you lift too much weight. If you have rheumatoid arthritis or suffer from shoulder impingement, the likelihood of you experiencing a partial or complete bicep tear increases. "When the tendon is completely ruptured, the biceps muscle will retract towards the shoulder, resulting in a ball-like appearance ½ - ¾ of the way up the arm," according to the Physio Room.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Determine that you have indeed ruptured your bicep. Symptoms include a popping or sharp pain in the elbow region, dull pain closer to the shoulder, bruising and swelling, and loss of strength when flexing the arm or turning in the elbow. See a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

  2. 2

    Assess severity of tear. A full tear will require surgery if you are young, athletic or wish to have full function of your biceps. Conservative management, which involves rest and occupational therapy, may suffice to treat partial tears. "The activity level of the patient (low demand vs. high demand) will be one of the primary determining factors," explains Physio Room.

  3. 3

    Follow your doctor's recommendation. If it entailed undergoing surgery, you will need physiotherapy to regain range of motion, flexibility and strength in the biceps muscles. Start with using one-pound weights doing bicep curls and gradually increase the weight as you get stronger. The initial process generally takes six to eight weeks.You may weight train lightly using the bench press and shoulder presses at the three or three ad a-half month post-op mark. Expect six to nine months post-op to regain full function of the arm.

  4. 4

    Have your arm examined to ensure you have no other injuries if your doctor recommends conservative management of your torn bicep. Rest the arm during the acute stage. You may need to put it in a sling. Ingest non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to decrease inflammation and use ice massage and cold packs to control swelling. Follow the aforementioned post-operative suggestions to regain function.

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