Chronic Elbow Pain is Too Much

TL;DR: Chronic elbow pain is holding back my training. At this point, it is mainly my right elbow that gives me the most trouble. I’m looking for help to get my training back on track.

Around early Spring 2012, I finished the base mesocycle on Smolov. The last day I was supposed to do ten triples at 300. The week before, my elbow felt a bit tender, but I hadn’t had any major problems. Around set 6, my elbow started feeling kind of sore, so I asked the gym owner to borrow his elbow sleeves. I did two more sets with the sleeves, but had to call the workout short because the pain got to be too much.

Over the next six months or so, the pain would subside, I would have a great workout, but then immediately after I would feel the tenderness in my elbow coming back. This summer, because I’m smart and learn from my mistakes, I decided to do another base cycle of Smolov. I had minor problems earlier in the summer, but I was feeling pretty good by the time I finished up the base cycle. I hit a long awaited 405 ATG back squat, and decided to try to intense mesocycle.

By the first workout, I already felt the pain coming back, and I said enough was enough. I spent August - November dieting down and on rehabilitating my elbow, and for the past few weeks, my elbow has felt great. Yesterday, however, I set a huge ATG back squat PR at 315x12 sans belt. As soon as I reracked the weight, I felt the oh too familiar stinging in my elbow. I couldn’t even get under the bar evenly to try to do some back off sets.

My chiropractor/sports massage therapist said that I suffer from a chronic tendonosis that caused a malformation of the tissue surrounding my elbow, and that my ulnar nerve was catching along the elbow joint on extension.

So far, I have taken the following steps to recovery:
-Sports massage
-ART Therapy
-Postural fixes
-Lots of stretching
-Used a fucking car buffer to work on tight spots through my arms
-Use a foam roller/lacrosse ball/trigger wheel for SMFR
-Hot Epsom salt baths and cold showers
-Lots of sleep, food, and rest
-Adjusting the bar position in the back squat from low bar to high bar
-Generally improving my squat form to reduce torque on the elbows
-Because I have ignored direct arm work for a long time, adding most direct biceps exercises, namely curls, to improve the strength of the tissue around the elbow. I have what I would consider very small arms for my size (16" arms [cold, flexed] at 6’4" 265).
-Compressive ice wraps immediately after workouts

Movements that have caused me the most pain in the past:
-Heavy power cleans
-Heavy push presses
-Heavy back squats, especially “bouncing” out of the hole
-Externally rotating my shoulder, turning my right arm clockwise (my elbow and shoulder pop a lot more than they used to)

Where the pain is located:
Just above and below (currently below the elbow towards the forearm) on the inside of my arm. Dull, but occasionally sharp, pain on the inside of the elbow itself.


i feel ya bub, i have the same problem(dunno if its chronic) but after i bench it flares like no other, so in an effort to subside the pain, i leave about 4 reps in the tank, and then strap on my titan ram, seems to help.

since ive adjusted my training, no more waking up late at night, clutching the elbow.

so take a step back on your training, and look if wrapping a ace bandage/ knee wraps around the elbow can/will help.

oh for me, cissus supplement helped abit.

Hey man, congrats on the 405 ATG, that’s awesome and you’re officially strong for the rest of your life.

I’ve had a very smiliar problem when I get spasming brachilis muscles the size of eggs, I’ve shocked physios and Art guys. Nothing takes the fun out of squatting like blinding pain just holding the bar on your back.

Here’s what worked for me right away, when absolutely nothing esle would:

Pinkyless on your warm up sets, thumbless on works sets.

Sounds dumb, but this just lets the shoulders be way more flexible, if you watch Sam Byrd squat, he’s so tight he’ll go pinkyless and ring fingerless. It’s definitely a little awkward, but the more awkward it feels, the more you were supporting the bar on your arms instead of your back.

Also, what have you done to fix your posture? As my brachialis pain didn’t go away fully until I fixed this up big time. Let me know and we could go over a few things to maybe get your upper back a bit tigether and loosen the shoulders up.

Either way, Smolov is badass, take care.

Have you looked into blood injections? I suffered from chronic medial epycondilitis(sp?) for years, although my pain was right on the boney point on the inside of the elbow. I had several of these injections done under ultrasound. It took a while to work but i can pretty much train pain free now.

I’ve had a similar issue. Comes and goes.

Wearing an elbow sleeve during push workouts is a good idea for sure. Continue to apply compressive icing post workout. Also, continue doing bicep exercises to strengthen that area. And, I’d recommend plenty of rope press downs, at moderate poundages/high reps, to get that elbow to open up, before starting a push workout.

Use Iboprufen only if needed, as it interferes with recovery. Avoid exercises that aggravate it: skull crushers, behind the neck dumbell presses, be it a vertical or horizontal position.

Cheers, hope it helps. Oh and yes, if you’re a gamer, don’t play too many driving games or shooters! overuse of right trigger button = repetitive stress injuries to the elbow!


How does the elbow feel after a heavy front squat session?

Or after a heavy Clean and Jerk session?


wow!! cant believe I finally found other people with this issue! If I even bump the tip of my elbow on a pillow I scream like a fairy!!! It sucks!!! If I bench too hard, chin to failure, OHP on hardest rep, the elbow hurts like a beast. I basically just scream!!!
Time off helps, but I only take a day off.
Mine hurts just at the tip of the elbow. Dont even think about skull crushers…
This sucks big time.
Question: if I took a month off any of you think it would be healed for good???

This is just a suggestion but high-rep band pushdowns helped me with my right elbow pain. I think the constant tension from the band plus forcing a ton of blood into that area more often helped heal it. I had pain doing anything with a pronated grip so I switched to DB rows, Neutral grip chins, etc.

Yep, got the exact same issue here, believe me.

If I accidently tap or hit my elbow somewhere, the pain’s just bloddy annoying. If I lean on my elbow and put weight on it, while on the bed… yep, hurts. But not as much. It’s on the inside of my elbow. Golfer’s elbow, I think they call it.

Hey guys,

Quickly scanned the thread, and although this is probably completely out of place…I’m desperate, in pain, and can’t get a doc on NYE to give me cortisone shock to alleviate my elbow pain.

Long story short, 2 arthroscopies due to excessive boxing/mma punching, fighting, elbows…and today I re-aggravated/re-injured my elbow sparring. Blocked a punch at the wrist, causing pretty forceful hyperflexion. Big “Ow,” and now my already limited ROM is even more so.

Random, hypothetical. If cortisone is a steroid…and test-e is a steroid, what are the implications of self-injecting into the elbow in place of cortisone?

Any ideas? Thoughts? And please don’t assume I’ve already been drinking for the evening.


Dealing with this myself. Have had it bugging me for about 4 months. I am in day 11 of forcing myself to take a month off of the weights. Fucking sucks but whatever. I am icing it twice a day, frequently stretching, etc. etc. It seems to S L O W L Y be getting better. When I get back into things I iwll be damn sure to take it slow.

I have very bad elbow tendonitis in both arms to the point I cant even rest my elbows on a table. Here is some on the things that help me get through:

Aleve regimen morning and post workout

Full on ice bath when you need them, not just ice effected area. I have a large plastic trash can on my patio and I just grab a couple 20lbs bags of ice on the way home from gym. 7-10min soak. The reason is, a locally applied cold press only reduces inflammation in affected area which is ok, but a full on ice bath reduces inflammation but also send your body a signal to pull all the bodies blood to the core to protect from hyperthermia. This means that all the dead blood built up in the injured area ( which causes 90% of the pain) gets pulled out and to your core. Once you leave the ice bath fresh, fully enriched oxygenated blood will flow back into injured area.

Band triceps pull downs. Again fills area with new blood

I use fat grips on all my warm up sets and half way through my work sets. Goes a long way to reduce elbow pain.

I eliminated skull crushers completely.

I wear a good set of elbow sleeves from Elitefts for chest anything triceps related.

I would definitely try the Voodoo Band from Rogue Fitness. Also check out and search golfer’s elbow or medial epicondylitis in the search box. Check out this video here.

PB Andy… You bastard you beat me to it. He’s spot on with the voodoo band recommendation. Cured my tricep tendonitis when nothing else would, even physical therapy.

[quote]bulkNcut wrote:
PB Andy… You bastard you beat me to it. He’s spot on with the voodoo band recommendation. Cured my tricep tendonitis when nothing else would, even physical therapy. [/quote]
Yup… it’s a bit tricky getting the Voodoo band on correctly or tight enough the first few times but you get the hang of it.

Yeah you def need someone else to wrap it for you. Works so much better

[quote]bulkNcut wrote:
Yeah you def need someone else to wrap it for you. Works so much better[/quote]

Exactly why you wear a good set of sleeves not wraps, unless your going to have someone follow you around rewrapping your wraps the entire workout

[quote]tattoo’d’popeye wrote:

[quote]bulkNcut wrote:
Yeah you def need someone else to wrap it for you. Works so much better[/quote]

Exactly why you wear a good set of sleeves not wraps, unless your going to have someone follow you around rewrapping your wraps the entire workout [/quote]
lol what… you don’t wear Voodoo Bands during your workout, you do it for a 2-3 minute period whenever you want during the day. Towards the end it actually cuts off circulation towards your hand, good luck lifting like that

Haha yeah PB Andy is right. Actually I have heard of some guys wrapping with voodoo bands for a lift, although much lighter. However, the way I have used them to cure my tendonitis and the way shown in the video by kelly starr you could def not lift like that. Like PB andy said you know when to take the things off cause the circulation is cut off towards the distal part of your limb. Keep em on for a bit too long and your arm can go numb and “dusky”, literally looks dead.

I had a similar issue - completely unresponsive to a number of therapies (even dropped a few hundred on a quality ART practitioner who was dumbfounded by it). Only thing that worked for me was Poliquin Sinewplex and really working on the balance in strength between forearm muscles.