T Nation

Elbow Tendonitis w/Training Triceps


Seem to be getting a lot of this lately, primarily when training tris. I have ditched skull crushers in favor of close-grip bench, since the former hurt my elbows too much and I enjoy the latter more anyway. It seems the movement that hurts the most now is overhead extensions with a dumbell, both arms at the same time.

I have always been a big believer in having at least one stretch movement for tri's, but it is getting to the point where I may have to stop these because it really hurts the elbows. My form is strict too, but I do go pretty deep for the stretch. Cable pushouts hurt too somewhat. Just stinks because I have been getting a little stronger on some movements. Somewhat of an improvement from my humerus fracture last year (the two are not related).

So anyone have any tips and/or methods on dealing with this? I do use a joint supplement called Regenicare. It has glucosamine, chondroiton, MSM and something called protectin. I do ice them when I think of it too and and also I have some pad which is supposed to emit infra-red light to help with joint repair. Not sure if it is helping or not. Maybe I need to try this new Biotest product that just came out.


i would use some cissus as well for joints


I have the same problem here. I get really bad tendonitis inflammation when I work chest so bad that haven't been able to do tris in a couple of weeks. I ice it. I'm thinking of taking a week or two off from upper body and just hammer away at squats and deads


hi.it sounds like that you have got golfers elbow-medial epicondylitis(if thge pain is located on the inner side of the elbow)i have got the same problem too.golfers elbow begins as inflammation of the flexor tendons of the forearm as rhey attached to the humerus bone.

this inflammation is usually cosed by prolonged gripping activities such as hammering and WEIGHT LIFTING.if the activities are continued,then the inflammatory nature of golfers elbow give rise to a chronic tendon problem,that is characterised by pain,weakness and degeneration of the tendon.

this elbow problem can be much difficoult to treat.the only way to get rid of the problem is to rest it comlpetely for at lest 2 weeks,but tendons have no blood suply so it might take longer to heal.for me is not possible to rest because i have got 12 weeks to my BB competition,so i apply ice for 10 minutes every 2 hours if the pain is unbearable.

what i do is,i always warm up with at least 80-90 push ups,and start my training with light weight-high reps to allow the tendon to warm up propely so it doesnt hurt that much.anti-inflammatory gel can help too or you have to create a new origin to the tendon by tieing a small scarf around your forearm (quite thightly)for the time of your training to take the preassure off the medial epicondyle bone.

im a sport massage therapist,i have seen this injury few times,and sadly i have got it too....hope,that helps.rest it if you can.


I had tendinitis in my elbows and knees last year for a full 8 months! Really depressing. Every pressing movement caused great pain. Even resting my elbows on my desk, or on a table was excruciating. I had to stop training altogether except for a few exercises where my elbows and knees weren't involved.

Then my wife's Naturopathic doctor recommended large doses of magnesium/potassium suplements, and also a creme of the same, applied directly to the tendons and triceps 3x a day. Within 2 weeks my pain subsided greatly!

Avoid the exercises that hurt (obviously). And even though they're often criticized here, Dumbbell Kickbacks do not hurt my tendons.


I have heard that slow eccentrics seem to help as well. And possibly look into so band pushdowns? I know those have helped in the past for elbow based pain for me. But I think those might be after the initial RICE phase.

Good luck.


All good tips so far. I wish there was a way getting around simply not doing the exercises, but if you want to continue to be healthy, guess there is not much of a choice. I have also ordered myself an Ultrasound device to use, don't know if it will be helpful or turn out to be a waste.

I am also thinking about going on something like maybe a Bill Starr routine for a while where there is not too much emphasis on direct arm training. Who knows, maybe the change will do me some good. It's been a while since I did a good squat, deadlift/power clean oriented routine.


Flameout....no joke, 3 servings a day for a week and it will be gone...no lie


I used to love doing the 2 hand dumbell behind the head, all the way down. It got to the point where the pain in my elbows was crippling. I don't even touch that exercise on a light day.

I can still do skullcrushers, but they have to be a second or third exercise. I have to warm up with a light set of 30 cable pressdowns, focusing on feeling the torque go around the elbows. The primary exercise for triceps is some variant of close-grip press (flat elbows in or decline elbows out).

If I don't follow that protocol, my elbows will light up and bug me for a week.

Long story short, you may not have to completely abandon skullcrushers and french curls. Just make sure you've warmed up adequately.


Do you do Flameout with or without food?


I had have golfer's elbow. (Hurts on the inside side of the elbow) I got one of those braces with the strap to make it really tight and it helped. I also started taking massive doses of fish oil (6-9 grams per day) and alleve right after lifting. Tigerbalm and icy hot helped bring blood circulation to the area. Anyway, with all this stuff in place, it's not perfect, but it funtions well enough again.




Do you use neoprene sleeves for your arms? Anytime I have pain/inflammation of the elbows (especially the left one), I use neoprene sleeves for pressing and direct triceps work. Of course if that does not work, I just rest it - no choice.

Db and bb extensions/crushers put a lot of pressure on the elbows so I try to keep that to a minimum until the elbows get better. One exercise that don't hurt for me is the reverse grip smith bench press - as seen in the DC program.


Worth a shot. Do you get those at any store or special order? Sometimes your average drug store doesn't have big enough sizes for the weightlifter.


I just ordered it online - similar to this http://www.flexcart.com/members/elitefts/default.asp?m=PD&cid=114&pid=939 I know many people like Tommy Kono's sleeves http://www.prowriststraps.com/inc/sdetail/48705 but I have yet to try those (also it is a little pricey).


Tried arms again the other night. The only thing I seem to be able to do for tri's without extreme pain is pushdowns with elbows wide and dips (surprised by dips, thought they would hurt). Even bi's are kind of restricted.

I think what it really comes down to is I just need a break in general. I have been going pretty much nonstop since September once I got the greenlight to start training normal after my arm break last year.

I've been getting stronger but I think my joints need a rest in general. Even my forearms are feeling a little tweaked from going heavy on dumbell and hammer curls. I guess the remedy is to take a week rest and then change up the routine after.


I've had golfers elbow on and off at different times. As suggested above slow eccentrics are what worked for me. I used the machine preacher curl or strive preacher curl. Basically lift the weight with 2 hands lower with 1. Do 3-4 reps with a lowering tempo of around 30-40 seconds.

I would also include the anti-inflammatory suggestions and some stretching.



Because of my tendency toward tendinitis, I've had to avoid 3 staple tricep moves (Skull Crushers, French Press, Push-Downs). I've replaced them with Close-Grip Bench, Wide-Grip Pushdowns (elbows up, not at sides), and Bench Dips.

Of these, the Bench Dip has had the most impact on my triceps. The downside is I train alone, and placing weights on my lap while trying to get into position is a pain in the ass.