Exercises to Avoid Biceps Tendonitis

Close up of woman flexing biceps

Tendons are strong cords of tissue that attach muscles to bones. The biceps tendon runs from the biceps muscle in the upper arm to the shoulder and radius bone in the arm. Biceps tendonitis is a condition that causes pain, inflammation and weakness in the shoulder area according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Exercises are commonly used for rehabilitation, but they can also be used for prevention.


To prevent biceps tendonitis, find exercises that help keep the biceps tendons strong and flexible; you can do this through both weight training and stretching. Weight-training exercises involve the rotator cuff, which is a small group of muscles that surround the shoulder joint. They are known as the "SITS" muscles -- supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis -- according to the website of Moore Chiropractic Clinic.


When you exercise or perform a sport without warming up, your muscles and tendons are tight. This in turn can increase your chances for developing biceps tendonitis. Dynamic stretches can help prevent this from happening. These are performed in motion as opposed to being held for a specific amount of time, according to the Sports Fitness Advisor website. Arm circles, arm crossovers, shoulder shrugs and alternating toe touches all involve your shoulders and are good options.


The shoulder is a mobile but delicate joint. Perform exercises with proper form to maximize efficiency. The cable external rotation requires a single handle and a cable machine. After attaching the handle to a chest-high setting, stand with your left shoulder facing the weight stack and grasp the handle with your right hand. Bend your elbow 90 degrees, move your upper arm tight to your side and position your lower arm across your stomach. Keep your upper arm tight to your side as you rotate your lower arm outward like a swinging door. Slowly move it back to the starting point, repeat 10 to 12 times and switch arms, according to the ExRx website.

Perform the internal rotation with your body in the same position, but reverse the direction that you move the handle. For example, if you are standing with your left shoulder facing the weight stack, hold the handle in your left hand and pull the handle across your stomach, as shown on the Body Trainer website.

Angled front raises require some form of free weights, such as dumbbells or large soup cans. To do these, according to the Family Doctor website, stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and hold the weights at your sides with your thumbs facing behind you. Keep your arms straight as you raise the weights in front of your body at an angle that is between the front and sides of your body. Once your arms parallel the floor, slowly lower them down and repeat 10 to 12 times.

Even though your biceps tendons are not injured, start off with light weights and work your way up as your strength improves.

Yoga Poses

Yoga is a mind and body program that creates flexibility and balance. The Downward-Facing Dog pose is especially beneficial to the biceps tendons because it increases shoulder strength and stability. The "Yoga Journal" offers these tips on performing the pose: Start on hands and knees with hands flat on the floor and feet hip-width apart behind you. Steadily raise your hips in the air as you push your weight back onto your heels and straighten out your arms. Once your body forms an inverted V, hold for 30 to 45 seconds and then slowly release. In the raised position, make sure your shoulder blades are rotated inward.


For any exercises to be effective, you need to do them on a regular basis. Three workouts a week performed on nonconsecutive days is sufficient. Aim for three or four sets of each exercise. Consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.