T Nation

Connective Tissue Training


Anyone here specifically do this type of training to keep their tendons/ligaments strong and free from tendonitis?

After some research i have found some interesting reading about old time strongmen who did supra-maximal partials and isometric holds to strengthen tendons.

There is also a lot of info that incorporating eccentric only work also helps.

I'm currently doing the 531 template and considering slotting a small volume of this type of training somewhere into the program. Perhaps similar to what Kubik mentions in the article.

What are peoples thoughts/experience on this?


Hmmm, guess no-one gives a shit about this type of training anymore


Nope, just no one knows anything about it. Can't expect too many people to post just to say "hey, I'm clueless."


Great now I feel like a jerk! I used to call that being lazy. I was actually taught to do those but it was never explained to me why they were done. Later I would give it up for the new full range of motion. Now I'm going to get me a rack and start some grass roots lifting. Thanks for the post!


You only gave us 40 minutes to reply to your post. This is the over 35 forum and all of us have pretty busy lives and don't live on this site. Your best bet is to create a post then come back in a handful of hours to see if there is a reply.

I've not really done this type of training. I always thought that your connective tissue was worked when you did full range of motion.



No it was more like 25hrs if you look at the post times. Not to worry i'm trying it out anyway. I just thought i would see what other people thought about it.



Has played havoc with my lifting schedule as well. I'm flattered by some of what has happened, but swamped as well. 50-60 billable hour weeks for a lawyer are really not fun.



Hi, Dudsman. To be frank, Brooks Kubik doesn't impress me. I've read his stuff before and he pretty much rambles without much information. It can be pretty inspiring, but not much practical advice. I followed your link, and it's typical Kubik. Tendons create strength?? Wrong, they just transmit it.

Just be patient when building strength and the connective tissue catches up with muscle development.



Actually when I was messing around with strong man many moons ago I was a Kubik fan. But .......As I got older and actually sat back and thought about it I realized a few things.

  1. He comes across as a hypocrite . In his break out book Dinosaur Training. He likes to bad mouth bench specialist. Yet he repeatedly reminds you that he was a National Bench press champ several times in NASA. From what I understand it was done while wearing a shirt ..mind you it was a low end old style. Ive have yet come across any mention of him actually doing a full Meet. Talk about being a hypocrite. Matter of fact I don't remember him ever mentioning in his books about his own squat or deads or competitive total.

  2. A few years ago when he started focusing on Body weight exercises he actually bad mouth using free weights. Because all the physical problems he was having. Well no shit...If you look at his philosophy from his early books. Heavy all the time and damn near going to failure at every given chance. Come on, he talks about doing singles with 90 % up to almost 10 sets. I'm all for going heavy and hard but in all reality there has to be common sense involved not some bullshit ego driven macho mentality. At the time I found it funny ,He made a little money on some books and make some videos for sell . Then down the road he contradicts himself and guess what..He had a new book covering Body weight exercises.

  3. Don't get me wrong. Kubik does or did give out good advice since I haven't read his stuff in awhile. Heavy weight, hard work, mental toughness , basic lifts , lifting odd objects. Along with keeping alive some of the old traditions of the old time strongmen. I will give him that. The thing is as I get older and the more things Ive learned and apply. I just feel that Kubik is over rated. In all honesty he is a strength historian .Now if he was to start taking guys and training them in his principles and if they started kicking ass in say drug tested and unequipped competition. Then my opinion would change.

Sorry.....That my opinion had to get it off my chest .


Reason i ask is i have suffered bouts of tendonitis in my elbows and knees for years. I have tried all sorts of shit to stop it from re-occurring with minimal success. Including taking months off training.

I have been training a long time and have come to the conclusion that the combination of my body structure (small joints ----> small tendons) and the poor blood supply to these areas has left me very vulnerable to tendonitis. It has become more frequent over the past few years because of
1. my age
2. my work, which is labour intensive and repetitive.

I came across the Brooks article, as well as a few others that commented on this type of training when looking for an answer to my question. Can connective tissue, namely tendons be specifically strengthened through targeted training? Because it seems after years of lifting, i still have weak tendons.

If anyone has some better ideas i would love to hear them.


There was an article on T Nation a while back on tendonitis...

One idea was that negatives with a light weight can help. So slow lowering bicep curl for elbow tendonitis. They weren't sure why it helped... One idea was that it might help promote bloodflow. Site search might give you the article...

In my own case I had what I thought was elbow tendonitis. Turned out that my triceps were really very tight, though. Got stuck into them with an EVA foam roller and managed to get them to relax by holding the pressure on the tightest portion for around 30 seconds / 60 seconds. That fixed it right up for me.

Do you deload? I've heard that that can help with joint pain / potential overuse injury. I'm not sure though, because my pain went away with foam rolling.


I assume a doctor or chiro or someone is looking at this and figuring out how to fix?

I can see how a job which requires physical labor would complicate all this, you can't just put your arm in a sling.

My own experience is pretty limited, but can offer 0.02 on avoiding this in the first place. years ago, trained really hard and got injury like crazy. It eventually healed up (took almost a year for each one). Today I don't have that trouble. As I understand, connective tissue responds to training just like muscles by strengthening, but more slowly. Hence, by training light weight for lots of reps and set can toughen up the tissue, just as Alexus suggests. Blood flow? No idea. Do wind sprints then lift immediately after??

Also have had very good results with foam rolling techniques, the sooner after the injury, the better.


Tendonitis doesn't come from weak tendons. If your tendons are weak they will snap not get inflamed. It's tough it's a result of everything you did in your past plus age, it takes along time to recover from, and won't help if you do nothing. Set routines and programs are not good for it because it requires a lot of feedback. The absolute best thing you can do is dedicate some time to them. For example 30 minutes one day warm up rub work the joint ice compress then warm up again. Then you have to completely rest it the next day. If you did all that for all your joints I would expect you have a million dollar contract with the NFL.

For a working man, you have to try to make sure your diet, and technique in everything you do is perfect. Try to make sure your daily activities are done with minimal damage. Your routine should be pushed but only after you have conditioned for it. Try to swim or do some form of cardio to have good blood flow, and make sure you have at least one day of rest I would try for two.


I have a jacked up elbow. What helps me is to do a few sets of high rep triceps pulldowns with rope, using very light weights, to get blood flowing to the elbow joint before doing any barbell stuff. I also use fat barz grips on many of my dumbbell exercises, so that I am not always gripping things in the same way (and thus always stressing the forearm muscles in the same way). Just an example of strategies you might try.

I agree with Airtruth that tendonitis doesn't come from weak tendons.

Muscles, tendons, bones are strengthened on a continuum, depending on amount of weight used -that's nothing new.