T Nation

Elbow Pain During Pulls


Lots of people here seem to have elbow pain during push exercises, but not me, my elbow hurts when I do romanian deadlifts and BB shrugs. I don't think I'm using my biceps to pull since I'm able to do chin ups and curls afterwards, but it does feel like the insertion point for my biceps are hurting...even though they don't hurt when I do exercises that should stress my biceps like this chin up and curls. It also hurts when I try to rotate my forearm forward--it'll hurt when I do a pec stretch in the doorway unless I make an effort to keep the pressure off my wrist and forearm.

I get at least 300 grams of protein, several capsules of fish oil, calcium with D3 and multivitamins every day. I've been massaging the area--it was quite tender the day after my last back workout, but most days it doesn't hurt to the touch.

Doing searches indicates that I should take 2 weeks to a year off. I'm not ready to go to that extent yet, so what else can I do before taking time off? I'm thinking about picking up a set of sleeves or wraps. Both should help keep the joint warm, but I'm not sure how much of a benefit wraps will provide in a pull. I'm also thinking about trying curcumin 500, but I'm not sure if masking the pain is the best idea.


Sounds like the brachioradialis, it attaches outside of the elbow and often can be mistaken for a biceps issue. stretch your bad arm out palm up and then pull your hand gently towards the floor (wrist extension)... then rotate your entire arm counterclockwise, this will stretch it out, if thats where your feeling the pain this would be a good stretch to hold when warmed up - 30 seconds or so..

ice it for 20 minutes a few times throughout the day, lots of fish oil, lots of rest in the area is a good idea too if you don't want it to keep flaring up, warm up for a good amount of time if you simply must use it..


That doesn't hurt. My fault. I should've explained where and how it hurts better. I can make it hurt right now by putting my arms in front of me at a 90 degree angle like I'm praying and pressing my palms together. It hurts the inside of my elbow kind of in the funny bone area and can extend several inches out my upper and lower arm.


ok, if the pain is on the inside then its likely golfer's elbow.. but in any case I'd get it checked out to be sure... icing the area for a couple of days several times a day wouldn't hurt to bring down any inflammation in the meantime.. coupled with fish oils and laying off any exercises that cause pain... you likely dont need two weeks off of lifting though, just some time to reduce the inflammation so it wont keep flaring up. Hope this helps... good luck


Reduce your volume, temporarily eliminate the lifts that are hurting your elbow, and think about a neoprine wrap. If its nothing serious (and it probably isnt) the pain will go away.


I've eliminated shrugs and romanian deadlifts from my workout for now. The good mornings will replace rdl's. I think shrugs will be out of the question since even 80 lb dumbbells hurt to hold, nevermind the multiple of that for my working weight. The rest of my pull workout is using lower weight and more sets. Icing the area isn't practical since I'm at school ~13 hours a day.

Does this sound good?

I'm planning on buying elbow sleeves, but would wraps serve the same purpose? I'd love it if wraps allowed me to get closer to my working weight while my tendon heals. Either way I need to hit the wraps & sleeve thread for a little research.

I'm sure we all know how hard it is to find a doctor that dispenses useful advise. I'll start looking, but I've almost always had better luck fixing myself...dental work being the big exception. I prefer your help versus half a dozen visits to the doctor over the next few weeks.


I have the same problem- aggressive stretching of the forearm flexors fixes it for me.


I'll try stretching more. Wait, that's not accurate. I never stretch my forearms. I just started.

That would be great news if tight forearm flexors are my problem. I have been cranking on my grip tool more. I used it last Wednesday, then did farmers walks and other forearm exercises on Thursday. My elbow has been hurting more than ever since then.

This morning I can finally press my palms together with some pressure without pain, although there's still pain if I press harder.

+1 week recovery times suck. I want my heavy pulls back.


I don't think stretching has helped much. That stretch is always recommended for problems with the other tendon, so I didn't expect much. I may have also been set back by illness this last weekend...everything ached.

My elbow seems to slowly be getting better. I tried throwing on 150 lbs to BB row and that hurt like a bitch. Sucks that I can't even row my warmup weight. I tried shrugs later and found I can do them again. 295 lbs didn't hurt at all. That's great news! Unfortunately my elbow is still raw enough that I can't squeeze the plates hard enough to pull them off the bar...I'd have to spin or wobble the plates to make a gap open up, then I could pull it off with straight arms.

I've also been taking 6000 IU if D3 daily since last Thursday.

I'd going to try bringing romanian deadlifts back into my workout this Friday. I'll be happy if that's the only other pull I get back.


Poliquin talks about toxicity in the liver can manifest itself in the elbow area. I had severe elbow pain while training heavy. I backed off the exercises that hurt and did a generic liver detox. I bought it for $20. My pain went away in a few days (this after months of training with the pain). I can't say the cleanse helped for sure but for $20 it is worth the try.


The toxic elbow thing is interesting, but I'm not doing a liver cleanse if that means sticking anything up my butt. Looking up liver cleansing did bring up information about increasing fiber and water intake to help decrease toxicity. Still though, I don't see toxicity being my problem. The amount of toxic substances that enters my body must be much lower than most other people that live here in southern California.


I have some elbow issues in both arms pretty severe.
it manifests in pullups, direct arm work
OH pressing and sometimes pulling.

I think it originates from deadlifts, snatch grip deads,
and some repetitive shit from work. Typing with bad posture does not help either.

from trial and error, a visit to a PT and some solid advice from other members here.
this is what helped

taking time off
ice and heat
mega dosing fish oil
MSM another joint supplement.

taking the slack out of the bar- making sure the bar is "taut" prior to pulls,
rack pulls, deads ect.

squeezing the bar- and not using a false grip on bench or anything else.
this was pretty noticeable right away the combination of
pulling the slack out of the bar, its pull not lift.
and squeezing the bar on everything.

modulating the amount of elbo extension work I do.
( rolling db tri extensions or skull crushers or what ever)

shit the PT had me do
band work
band push downs,
lots of shoulder dislocates
some massage and self myofacial stuff.


I meant to also say sometimes carbs- have a big play in joint inflamation.
and I take a generic version of curcumin and it helps a bit.


Thanks especially for these two points; I'm going to try it out and see if it helps with the same issues I've been having.


I'm not sure how squeezing the bar will work for me because I use hooks for my heaviest sets. I can still squeeze the bar, but the hooks make it difficult to get a good grip on the bar. I do use palms in.

Does taking the slack out the bar mean trying to spread the bar apart? I've read that the triceps should be flexed, so if I'm unknowingly trying to curl the bar, spreading should deactivate my biceps.


Squeezing is for other lifts then pulls.
like pressing.
lots of people say when you deadlift the bar rests in your hands-
to squeeze with the thumb and not the fingers.

you mean hook grip right? You dont have to squeeze on a hook grip
or do you mean some strap contraption that has a hook?

I mean pull the slack out of the bar- give it a tug- to take the slack out of the bar
then PULL not lift.

spreading the bar apart- is also usually for pushing- bench, OH press OH squat
you pull the bar apart to help keep it moving during those kinds of lifts
and take the stress off the elbow.


I mean these hooks:


I'm starting to think I actually made an effort to hurt my elbow. I think I may have been trying to pull the bar towards my body during RDL's. I haven't tried them recently, but this type of force on my elbow would definitely hurt right now. I'm thinking this because my shrugs didn't seem to bother me at all yesterday.

Yeah, I definitely think this has something to do with it. I just watched some of my videos from a couple weeks ago and my wrists look like they're an inch or two behind my shoulders. I'll definitely be working on form and flexibility before I pile weight on the bar.


A little update.

Watching those videos told me I was trying to make up for bad form by pulling the bar towards my legs. My hip mobility still sucked today, but I tried to focus and keeping my arms dangling freely in front of me.

I also found that keeping a neutral hand position on the bar still hurt my elbow, or maybe allowed me to cheat, so I rotated my wrists and elbows out...the wrists are kind of like how you'd bench. This seemed to do the most to keep my elbow from hurting.

I also iced my elbow afterwards...a luxury I could do today because I workout at home on weekends...which made my elbow feel very nice, probably better than it's felt in weeks.

So kmcnyc, thanks for the tip on icing my elbow. It feels good enough that I'll try asking my gym office if they'll put my ice pack in their freezer for me on pull days.