T Nation

BENCH press / elbow

Lately the muscular area around (above/below) my right elbow has been hurting while doing bench presses. When I am benching, when I get the bar to touch my chest, the very bottom of my right tricep starts to hurt (the muscle very close to my elbow). This hurts especially when I do my warmups. I can do 4 reps of 130 before it starts hurting. But I feel comfortable (with not as much pain) doing 6 reps of 185. By the 6th rep, however, I start to feel it hurt again. What is going on here? Any advice is appreciated.

You probably have tennis elbow. I would check out w/ your doc first. You should lay off it for a while see how it feels.

Remove tricep movement from your training for a while. If you need to do your chest do some flys or the pec dec will absolutely prevent any stress on that tricep.

Sorry guys, gotta disagree with the lay-off theory. Sure, you could just lay off it and hope for the best, oh and don’t forget to put a band-aid on it. Yes it probably will feel better in a couple of weeks…but you have to remember, something caused this elbow pain. As an example (and a common problem) you could have some sort of impingement in your right shoulder, causing less than optimal motor unit activation in your tricep. This can cause your ROM on the right arm to decrease to be able to handle the same load as the left arm. This can lead to muscle fibers that have adapted to contract over a shorter distance, therefore staying in a shortened- sometimes hypertonic rested state and pulling on your elbow. Relax both of your arms to your side while standing. Does your right palm hang a little bit more posterior than your left? This is all just a shot in the dark, based on what I see alot of with clients…but all I can do is work with what you told me. Instead of laying off, try some lying pronating dumbbell extensions with high reps. This will cause increased blood flow and lactic acid to your anconeus muscle and the surrounding connective tissue, which will help accelerate repair.

I’ve never heard of your theory before but it makes absolute sense to me. This makes me wonder… can someone have genetic traits that would cause some sort of imbalnce? I’m thinking of scoleosis making one lat stronger and longer or perhaps even one shoulder stronger? Have you seen anything like that before? Can long term improper form produce similar imbalances?