A Complete Guide To Alleviate Tricep Pain In Deadlifts

April 9th 2019

When you extend your arm, your triceps are contracted. During the deadlifts, your arms are perfectly straight in order to achieve the best leverages for the deadlift. In response, your triceps are contracted in order to maintain a perfectly straight arm. But should you feel tricep pain during the deadlift? Should you feel tricep pain at all in the deadlift?

Tricep pain and deadlifts

Triceps pain is not normal during deadlifts as the triceps are not a primary muscle group used to execute the deadlift. However, they do provide stability and maximize your leverages for a successful deadlift.

Though my research, I have found that tricep pain is not common in deadlifts. Most lifters will usually feel sensations on their back, forearms, hamstrings, and glutes. However, there are instances where tricep pain has occurred. There is usually no crack, pop or snap. It is just a general pain in the tricep area. So, let us dive into some possible explanations for tricep pain during the deadlift.

i) Flexing your arms too much

When you keep your arms straight, your triceps are contracted. However, you may be actively trying to force your arms to be very straight, which is causing your triceps to contract even more. This, along with several hundred pounds of weight, will fatigue your triceps. In some cases, you may notice that your triceps are in pain as well.


It is important to keep your arms straight, with a 0-degree bend. This is the best position to maximize leverage for your deadlift since your arms are its longest at this position.



The main function of the triceps muscle is to straighten your elbow. So, to have triceps pain, it would mean that you have suffered some sort of injury with straightening your elbows. In the deadlift, there is not much movement in order to suffer an injury of the triceps.

In addition to that, there are many other muscles that attach to the back of the arm. Did you know that your one of your tricep groups (the triceps brachii) also connect to a part of your shoulder blade called the glenoid cavity.

There are three other muscle insertions that are located in the back of your arm. You may be experiencing “tricep pain” during your deadlift because you think that the back of your arms is only your triceps. In fact, the teres major and latissmus dorsi (lats) are also inserted in the near the back of your arms.

ii) Lat pain

If you are experiencing lat pain, you will most likely experience pain in your shoulder blades and around the front of your shoulders as well. When something feels off, it is critical that you stop doing the exercise and do pain-free movements.


Do a variety of low intensity, high rep exercises to get the blood flowing and pumping into your triceps. Do what works for you and what can get your muscles to start firing. Some of these exercises can include:

  • Tricep pushbacks
  • Tricep extensions overhead
  • Triceps presses

iii) Teres major pain

If you are experiencing teres major pain, you will most likely also experience pain in your shoulder and at the back of your arms. The functions of the teres major are to adduct the arms, turn your shoulder internally, and to extend your shoulders. Most likely, you will be also experiencing shoulder pain along with arm pain if your teres major is injured.


Massage around the armpit can be a method to help relax the muscle. Again, do the exercises recommended in bullet ii in order to promote blood flow in the area.

iv) Being a new lifter

When you first started deadlifting, you can experience crippling full body DOMS. It is bound to happen especially if you have not been lifting weights at all. If your tricep pains do not go away, it is time to seek consultation from a medical professional.

Otherwise, it is just a step towards the right direction in building strength and muscle. Your body is just doing its best in order to recover and recoperate.

Triceps Tingling during deadlifts

Usually, tingling sensations are often related to nerve issues. Nerves, like the radial nerve, that run through the back of your arm can be pinched or damaged which may cause you to feel tingling throughout your triceps.

Tricep pops during deadlifts

Any tricep pops are not normal. Tricep pops followed by pain, swelling and inflamation should be looked at by a medical professional.

Some athletes may feel tricep pops during the deadlift and experience no pain or swelling initially. However, over time, bruising and swelling may occur. This is a sign of a muscular strain and you should proceed with caution when doing any exercises prior to being fully healed.

Tricep Cramps from deadlifts

Tricep cramps, which result in pain and discomfort, are not common in deadlifts. Cramps usually occur when your muscles are exerted forcefully while not hydrating yourself properly.

Making sure your nutrition and workout program are optimal for reaching your goals.


When you experience any unusual symptoms during training, it is often recommended to visit a medical professional to get yourself evaluated. Of course, there are those minor tweaks and twinges that you could feel every now and then. However, when something just does not feel right or has never happened before, it is in your best interest to go get yourself checked out. Here is an unusual story to illustrate this point:

There was a lifter that was 50 and a half years old that felt a sharp pain in his triceps during deadlifts and pullups. Naturally, this is definitely not normal since pullups and deadlifts do not even actively work your triceps.

He scheduled a visit to examine his shoulders but after a few days of rest, he was back to performing pain-free pullups and low weight deadlifts. After visiting the doctor, he found nothing wrong structually with his right shoulder and may think it could be arthritis. Physical therapy was recommended to further figure out the exact issue.

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