Biceps tendon | How to reinforce it?
The musculoskeletal system is not just made up of muscles. To perform any movement there is also a need for a more structural component that allows the forces generated by the muscles to be transmitted to the bone segments.
Therefore, bones, ligaments and tendons are also of vital importance. The tendons can be compared to the "tie rods" of what is the system that allows each movement.
Strong tendons are essential, particularly if you train at a high intensity level. The strengthening of the tendons is accompanied by the growth of the muscular system as the movements that "stress" the muscles also stimulate the tendons.
Often, however, the development of the latter does not go hand in hand with the former, this occurs because the adaptation of the non-muscular component is slower and the training of this is much less specific.
Finally, if you compare yourself with some calisthenics or Olympic gymnastics exercises you go to stress the tendons in disadvantageous positions and this represents a great danger if you are not prepared.
Particularly when a muscle is mostly lengthening it has the greatest potential for shortening. This means maximum tension on the tendon which has to cope with a large shortening of the muscle.
An example of this condition is the back lever or even more the Maltese. In these two skills, the bicep is stretched for the elbow flexion component, which covers a large ROM, while it must be contracted to the maximum for the shoulder flexion.
This condition represents an important stress for the bicipital tendon and, if this is not prepared for such a tension, it ends up being damaged.
At first glance, working with weights below the maximum on eccentric repetitions might seem like a huge risk. In reality this is only true if the muscle is completely isolated in its maximum stretch; if you use a not completely complete ROM and a more “multi-joint” exercise, this type of repetition is an excellent aid in strengthening the tendons.
A very simple example is barbell cheat curls. This exercise is certainly “more multi-joint” than a dumbbell curl on a scott bench, and it is also practically impossible to reach full elbow extension.
To do this, a certain shoulder flexion should be maintained, which is very difficult if sub-maximal weights are used. If the torso were to be tilted forward again, it would be almost impossible to use sufficiently dangerous weights.
This exercise is therefore an excellent aid in strengthening the biceps tendon. An added benefit is the excellent stimulus that is also obtained for the muscular component: the eccentric strength allows you to use heavier weights and have an excellent muscle "damage" (which translates into an adaptation response).
To make the most of the benefits of these repetitions, try to stop the weight during the entire negative phase. Should the chosen weight allow you to perform 6? 8 reps with good control, about 3? 5 seconds, if you can't control the movement for this rep range the weight is too high.
A good idea might be to include 3 sets of cheat curls at the end of a back workout.
As mentioned earlier, exercises like the Maltese place a lot of stress on the tendons. This stress is so high that you can get injured.
However, this stress can be exploited and by reducing its intensity, the tendon can be stimulated to such tensions. An excellent example is Maltese leaning, that is to position yourself on an elevated support and, keeping your arms in the supine planche position, carry your shoulders forward. Trying to hold the position for 10? 15 seconds and come back with the shoulders, rest a few seconds and repeat the isometry two more times.
In this way, the entire musculoskeletal system is accustomed to the position you are training using a lower intensity that allows you to reduce the risks. A good idea might be to include 3 sets of this exercise in your propaedeutic routine for pushing skills.
Both proposed exercises can be part of a normal training program without requiring additional time. In addition, both have a direct return in terms of muscle development and skill progress.