What to Do When You Can’t Extend Your Arm After Workout ? 11 Solutions !

What to Do When You Can’t Extend Your Arm After Workout. If you can’t extend your arm after a workout, you’re not alone. It’s normal to feel sore after working your arm muscles. This physiological repair process is how they become stronger. Yet, when you lift weights and work your biceps, sometimes you can’t end your arm after the workout.

Bicep pain that won’t let you extend your arm after working out tends to be caused by inflammation and damages. It’s smart to learn what’s really going on so you can relieve the pain and prevent problems in the future.

Why You Can’t Extend Your Arm After a Workout ?

 

After a tough arm day at the gym, it’s painful when you can’t extend that elbow. What is causing this to happen? Part of it could be due to the micro-tears in your muscle fibers, as well as the impacted nerves. Your body kicks into action to repair this damage by increasing the blood flow.

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When that happens, it results in inflammation or swelling. While it’s good for your body to increase the blood flow since that’s how your muscles get the nutrients they need to strengthen and heal, it can be painful. This process will help you regenerate your muscle tissue though and increase your performance and strength. But as it does so, it pushes on those nerve fibers making you more receptive to the pain, which means you can’t extend the arm after a workout. This inflammation blocks you from a full extension and likely causes you to wince in pain.

 

man painful arm

  • You may also have damage to the structures that bring support for those biceps in your arms too. This matrix helps you contract and relax muscles while releasing calcium into the muscle cells. Calcium unlocks the muscles and helps them move, so when this matrix is damaged during heavy bouts of exercise, it’s not releasing the calcium like it should. As such, you’ll feel stiff and can’t extend the arm after working out.

 

  • When you push yourself too hard during a workout, you have a greater chance of overworking those muscles and then you can’t extend your arm after a workout. Muscles stressed beyond their limits from repeated contractions with a heavy load mean you need to back off a little the next time you exercise. You want to up your intensity little by little instead which will lead to better long-term results.

 

  • Did you try a new exercise at the gym? This could be why you can’t extend your arm after workouts. It’s also possible if you are just starting to get back into exercise. When you’re not used to the activity you’re doing, you will create more of those microtears as discussed above. Ease into these things rather than jumping into them with full force. This will help your muscles adjust to the movements and strengthen without causing severe arm pain.

 

can't move arm

What to Do When You Can’t Extend Your Arm After Workout ?

You will also have trouble extending your arm after a workout if you use eccentric actions, which are forcing the lengthening of a muscle. When you raise your hand to your shoulder during your bicep curls, it is concentric or a contraction. This is shortening the muscle. When you hold the weight in place at the top of your lift, that’s isometric contraction which doesn’t change muscle length. Lowering your arm back down in eccentric and elongates the muscle which also produces the most muscle damage. You are fighting gravity in this move, and you have to work to control it.

Exercises like these are wonderful for building muscles, though you need to limit them in your workouts to keep them from working against you.

 

Should You Worry When You Can’t Extend Arm After Workout?

Thankfully, there is little to worry about when you can’t extend arms after workout. It should be back to normal within 48 to 72 hours. The most likely reason you are experiencing this is because you’ve pushed too hard in your workout.

That said, you don’t want to have this happen again. When your arms are too sore to extend, that means you need to rest this muscle group. You can work your other muscles, and it would certainly be a great time to work on those legs. But the consistency of exercise on the regular is what will truly benefit you, so you should do all you can to avoid having troubles like these.

Should you not be able to extend your arm beyond 72 hours, it’s a good idea to visit your doctor. In some cases, it could be a sign of a serious condition called rhabdomyolysis. This is when you have extreme damage to the muscles. It breaks down, releasing protein into the blood which can hurt your heart and kidneys. It has the potential to be life threatening too, though it’s not just being unable to extend that arm. You will have dark red urine, and severe muscle aches coupled with weakness.

When the pain is severe or long-lasting in the inner elbow portion of your arm, it could be an injury to your tendons. This part attaches to your biceps and holds them to the bones. Straining the tendon by lifting too much weight is a common injury that has earned the nickname of tennis elbow. Tennis elbow isn’t too severe though and often resolves by itself.

To heal tennis elbow, you simply need to take it easy and rest the muscle area. Over-the-counter pain relief can help until it heals. You may also want to see a physical therapist, especially if you’re an athlete, so you can get back to doing what you love without impacting the affected area further.

When you can’t extend the arm after a workout, you need to rest it up. It could need more time to recover though, but giving yourself the rest you need should have you feeling more like yourself again in a few more days.

 

sore muscle arms

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How to Extend Your Arms Again ?

When you can’t extend your arm after workout, it is likely due to pushing yourself too hard during your workouts. That said, you need to lower the intensity of your exercises down a notch. Then you can slowly progress them along further so your muscles have time to adapt and recover. Then they will grow back stronger and stronger between each workout session you have.

Recovery is vital to easing your current pain and preventing this from happening in the future. Gentle range-of-motion movements are important right now. These will increase that blood flow to the affected area. The more blood flow, the more oxygen, and the more healing will take hold.

To do this, you should make the same movements that initially caused your arm pain. However, you should not use any weights. If you were doing bicep curls before you couldn’t extend your arms, do them only using your arms without holding those weights. The same goes for arm circles, triceps extensions, and shoulder presses.

  • Make sure you are moving slowly and in a fluid motion rather than with jerky, halting movements. Do several repetitions of each arm exercise without those weights. On the next day, stick to legs and don’t work those arms. By the following day, you should notice your arms feel much better.
  • When they feel better, you can then start adding the weights back. Go with a lower weight to help slowly build back up again. This way, you can avoid the same trouble that got you here in the first place.
  • Additionally, make sure that you’re drinking enough fluids and filling your plate with nutritious foods. When you can’t extend an arm after a workout, incorporating more fresh fruits and veggies with antioxidants will help speed up the recovery for your sore muscles.

If you find this keeps happening often, it might be wise to work with a physical therapist or a personal trainer. They can help you increase your range of motion without overexerting these muscles so you can get the results you’re going for with your fitness goals.

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