How Long Does It Take for Biceps to Recover?

Biceps need time to recover.
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Biceps exercises can affect you for days after a workout. You might feel soreness or weakness in your arms, but these generally aren't signs of a problem. Your body is rebuilding your biceps, making them larger and stronger. If you eat right and exercise your biceps regularly, you should notice improved performance over time. But if you jump the gun and start exercising your biceps too early, you might sabotage your body’s efforts.

Recovery Time

After 48 hours, your biceps likely have recovered fully, according to Columbia Health. Before then, avoid exercising your biceps so they can heal as much as possible. Exercises you should avoid include biceps curls, chin-ups and rows, because each of these movements primarily targets your biceps. Performing these exercises on consecutive days can inhibit your muscle gains.


While allowing your biceps to heal, also avoid exercises that rely on your biceps as secondary muscle groups. For example, pullups involve facing your palms away, which primarily engages the latissimus dorsi muscle groups in your back. But biceps also contribute to pullups as secondary muscle groups, so performing such exercises will inhibit biceps recovery to some degree. If you’re not sure whether a specific exercise is counter-productive, ask a certified fitness instructor or your doctor.

Scheduling Workouts

Distributing your workouts across a full week is an effective way to ensure adequate recovery time for the various muscle groups you exercise. For example, exercise your biceps and back muscles on one day and then your chest muscles and triceps during the next workout. Exercising opposing muscle groups on consecutive days allows you to participate in a vigorous exercise regimen without over-exercising any particular muscle group.

Minimizing Soreness

Columbia Health offers the following recommendations for reducing muscle soreness and speeding up recovery. Begin and end your workout with stretches that warm up and cool down your muscles. Start your workout with weights you can handle, gradually increasing the weight and repetitions as necessary. Rest for several minutes after each set. Within 15 minutes after your workout, eat a carbohydrate- and protein-rich snack, such as peanut butter on toast. A healthy snack replenishes the glycogen stores in your muscles, helping to rebuild your muscles and prevent soreness.

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