Stop pressing right away until you read this!!!
I think you're right - your bicep COULD tear at any moment. Be smarter than I was and listen to your body! I'm paying the price for not listening - I'm dealing with what is probably a partially torn bicep tendon as a chronic injury (going for an MRI next week) and it totally sucks! What you're describing sounds exactly
like what happened to me, but I was stupid and ignored it for too long until it really got bad. Do not make the mistake that I did and work through the pain!
My pain is in the front of my bicep, running in a vertical line up and down the bicep. Just like you describe, it's very tight and feels taut, like a guitar string. It began three years ago as a pain just when I did certain movements, like upright rows. Then it hurt to put my arm behind my back (like putting a coat on). But I was a tough girl and worked through the pain.
Then one day, I was benching and on the third set, heard the worst noise ever and felt the worst pain ever. I had partially torn the bicep tendon, ended up not being able to do any upper body for two months, went through physical therapy, and it took a year to be pain-free again. My strength never completely came back on that side.
Ah, you'd think I would have learned my lesson, right? Nope, I'm a moron and about three months ago, I did a way too heavy upright row to get a BB over my head for walking lunges and re-injured it. I didn't go to the doctor because it felt exactly like the same pain and I know all the PT exercises. But this time it isn't getting better -- it's getting worse, hence the MRI to see exactly what's going on.
Here's what I learned in physical therapy - most shoulder injuries (the bicep tendon is part of the rotator cuff) happen during chest exercises, not shoulder exercises (like chest presses, for example). Are you using a BB or DBs? Benching with a BB is VERY hard on the whole rotator cuff because your hands are internally rotated when you hold the bar, which puts a ton of stress on your shoulders.
I don't think you're doing the exercise wrong - I think it's just putting too much stress on your bicep tendon, which is probably already weakened or injured. Suggestions: if you're using a BB, go to DBs and if you're using DBs already, angle your hands so that they're holding the DBs vertically instead of horizontally or at an angle between vertical and horizontal (instead of DBs pointed at each other, they're parallel - does that make sense?) See if that eases the pain (bet it will
). Hammer Strength equipment has ergonomically correct handles that works well for sensitive shoulders - does your gym have them? On shoulder exercises, totally skip upright rows - forever. On front and side raises, do them 'thumbs up' - with the DBs held vertically, not horizontally (to avoid internal rotation of the shoulder again). Don't do any 'pouring motions' because those involve internal rotation.
Of course, see your doctor if the pain continues. The standard line would be a few weeks of anti-inflammatories and rest. The last
thing you want is a nagging, chronic injury that limits working out. I kick myself every day for not stopping when it first began to hurt. I think I'll be paying the price for being stupid for a long, long time.
You don't need that!
Bottom line - if changing your hand position doesn't help, go see a doctor and get it fixed before it escalates. And please let us know how you're doing!