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Elbow Pain with Extensions


#1

For as long as I can remember I've had a tight pain in my elbow while doing any kind of triceps extension exercise (usually lying down with an easy curl or skull crushers) but not anything else like pressing or pull up, although rarely I'll feel it with dips.

I'm not sure if its some kind of tendinitis or just tight tendons from always avoiding triceps extensions because of the pain. Its the worst on the first set and then on subsequent sets I can still feel it but it isn't anywhere near as bad as the first.

I'm just wondering what the cause and/or solution to the problem is. I think I may have some kind of muscle imbalance between my biceps and triceps but I'm not really sure.


#2

[quote]dreadlocks1221 wrote:
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a tight pain in my elbow while doing any kind of triceps extension exercise (usually lying down with an easy curl or skull crushers) but not anything else like pressing or pull up, although rarely I’ll feel it with dips.

I’m not sure if its some kind of tendinitis or just tight tendons from always avoiding triceps extensions because of the pain. Its the worst on the first set and then on subsequent sets I can still feel it but it isn’t anywhere near as bad as the first.

I’m just wondering what the cause and/or solution to the problem is. I think I may have some kind of muscle imbalance between my biceps and triceps but I’m not really sure. [/quote]

Skull crushers are notorious for inducing elbow pain aka triceps tendonitis. This could be a prelude to a shitty condition thats plagues many lifters esp. the older guys who have put years into their joints only to end up wearing elbows sleeves to keep their gnarly battered up tendons warm and hopefully pain free while they work out.

My advice to you is ensure full shoulder mobility in all overhead activities becasue shitty shoulder mobility can lead to elbow pain. Ensure a flexible triceps and biceps muscle that are in balance strength wise. Avoid crappy exercises that aggravate this potential condition you may have.

If it progresses into full blown tendonitis back off and let it heal for a week or two. If it gets worse and progresses into chronic tnedinosis follow an ecentric rehab protocol that initiates the healing process. Light weight for 20ish eccentric reps with a 3/6 second eccentric phase but no concentric phase most days a week followed by stretches and heat application to fill the area with blood. This will promote remodeling of the injured tendon.

Familiarise yourself with Kelly Starrett on Mobility WOD - everything you need to know should be found there


#3

How can I test myself to find out if my biceps and triceps are balanced strength-wise? Is there a ratio I should look for between curls and extensions?


#4

Well, I am not an expert in this, but from experience and what I’ve read on this topic. An imbalance in elbow extension/flexion volume (think curls vs extension or chin ups vs dips or bench press vs row) can cause at least some elbow issues. Suddenly adding volume to the elbow extensions that you are used to also can be an issue, along with some exercises are just elbow killers especially if you have other issues with the elbows or stuff that can add onto it.

Extensions to the throat, chin, forehead, nose, ect the descents on those are mostly the issue you can get from it. What I’ve found that helps is getting blood flowing to the area, doing curls when you do extensions, and warming up really bloody well.

There are also more elbow friendlier tricep exercises like dead stop tricep extensions and variations of it, jm presses, calafornia presses, (lower like a close grip bench press then do a tricep extension and lower like a press again for the next rep) and I think what is called PJR’s are all supposed to be elbow friendly exercises, or are from experience very elbow friendly.

Close grip bench presses, partials like floor presses, rack lock outs if your shoulders can stay healthy , and board presses are also good ones.


#5

[quote]dreadlocks1221 wrote:
How can I test myself to find out if my biceps and triceps are balanced strength-wise? Is there a ratio I should look for between curls and extensions? [/quote]

DSSG is right about curl v extesnion volume. The strength ratio should be 1:1 but due to variations in leverage form one exercise to another measuring it would be difficult. Check this article out for stremgth ratios http://www.T-Nation.com/readArticle.do?id=1823834.

If your arms hang in a flexed position consider stretching your biceps. If your knuckles face forward when your arms hang down consider stretching your internal rotators. If your upper back and shoulders are rounded consider stretching the chest, pec minor and strengthening the upper back…read this series http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_repair/neanderthal_no_more_part_i

Remember the bicpes and triceps are simple muscles so hitting them with a gazillion different ninja moves to get them to grow is pointless and potentially injurious. DSSG recommendations were spot on


#6

Hey how come no one mentioned icing?!