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Elbow Pain When Working Triceps


Everytime I do Triceps Extensions it causes some pain in my elbows whether I use dumbbells or the ez curl bar. I was wondering what tricep exercise is elbow friendly? I don't use/have a pulldown machine to warm up my triceps before doing extensions or anything like that. CGBP also causes a bit of elbow pain too. I've been muddling through and ignoring the elbow pain for quite some time, but I really would love to find a tricep exercise that is pain free...


Different variations of tri PD is the way to go. Buy some decent rubber bands (what PLers use) and loop them around something, if a machine is no option.


Man, skull crushers are (IMO) the best exercise for tricep mass, but the absolute worst for elbow health.

I fought through it for a long time, as I love them and found them so productive, but eventually I got tired of hurting and had to drop them. Same with one arm DB extensions - it’s like sticking a knife in my elbow.

Overhead with a rope (pulley) is the best sub I’ve come up with … I also do a version of “21’s” on the seated tri extension machine “thing” that feels pretty good. I do 10 reps partial at the bottom, 10 reps full range, and 10 at the top (so really, “30’s” … Not “21’s” lol) … Because its high reps I have to keep the weight light, and I go slow and strict. Great pump … And my elbows don’t hurt doing it

I’ve also done a little superset with light one arm extensions and kickbacks … I do 15 reps with a #25 DB in the extension (seated) then jump up and do 10-15 kickbacks immediately with the same arm … Then switch arms and repeat

I know it’s light weight and more reps, but for me that’s the only answer to still get some type of extensions in and not hurt


First off, get it looked at.

My favourite has always been Close Grip BP and some form of tricep dip.



I have trouble unless I get a great pump in my triceps first. I have to do triceps at the end of my push day after they have had a decent amount of work already.


“Fuck you, and fuck your elbow.” -Mark Bell

In all seriousness, make sure you have your elbow extension, and flexion exercises balanced out. Try to do one bicep exercise for every tricep, and try to do a pull for every push. Now, let’s give the traditional extensions a break. Yes, I know they are wonderful. They have built up my triceps, and bench like no other accessory work has especially JM press/roll back tricep extensions/extensions to the throat.

You can warm up with some Push downs. Do them with whatever you have, a cable, machine, bands, ect. Then for elbow friendly tricep exercises. Here are a list of exercises (note: mileage may vary) Dead stop tricep extensions from with the floor (stick some tens+fives+2.5’s on the bar, or some 25’s on the bar depending how strong you are, I just don’t recommend the biggest plate to be any smaller than a ten), PJR pull overs are also good. They can be done with a DB, or a barbell. It is a hybrid exercise of a tricep extension, and a pull over. JM presses can also be elbow friendly, so can roll back tricep extensions (with a barbell, or DB).

For compound exercises close grip rack lockouts, and close grip floor presses are good. I hear great things about board presses, but I don’t have access to enough spotters to make it work. That is about it for tricep exercises I know about.

A roll back tricep extension is where you lower it halfway, or so then drop down into an extension to around the area of your throat/chin, a deadstop tricep extension is pretty straight forward, and a jm press you basically lower the bar in a straight line, push your elbows forward, and tuck your elbows. Pause for a few seconds where you feel a lot of stress on the tricep close to the elbow, and press back up without flaring your elbows. It should look like a combination of a close grip bench press, and a tricep extension. Just make sure your elbows are in front of the bar, and the other things can vary from person to person.


Been through this for years, YEARS. The trick is this. You have to find what exercises work for you with little to no pain as opposed to finding out how to keep the exercises you want to do while trying to cure the pain. Fact of the matter is that most pressing movements and tricep movements are not ideal and put a ton of stress on all the innards of the elbow. If you are insistent on keeping the exercises that cause the inflammation then you better figure out how to do therapy on yourself ALL THE TIME!

FYI, there may come a time when you will have to make a decision. You want to make that decision sooner rather than later…


I’ve had elbow issues (only one actually) for some time, and what helped me get through sessions were:

Lotta isolation work first
Elbow sleeve to keep the area warm
Very controlled movements when placing the triceps in a deep stretched position
Avoided Heavy pressing work (focusing a lot more on other movements for most of my pec/delt work)
Lots of icing post training
TONS of fish oils and curcumin

And of course, getting an MRI if you think it’s serious will confirm if there is any real damage, or if you’re simply dealing with some bad inflammation (which can be alleviated with a cortisone shot and a few days’ rest).



Buy a compression sleeve for your elbow and put some tiger balm on your elbow before training so that it’s warm before you start. Train your tris with a lot of volume and lower weight so it doesn’t hurt at all when you train and actually have time to heal


Get some bands of varying resistance to do pressdowns with, also give up skullcrushers for a couple of months if not for good