T Nation

My Fu*ked Up Elbows


I’ve been training for a bit over a year now. In my first month I did the “bro split” so I had an arm day. It was good and all till my elbows started aching, I took some time off then got back into training. I’ve been training full-body style for so long but now I want to do some arm work. I haven’t seriously trained my arm since about a year. Today I was doing some decline dumbell extensions and pushdowns but my elbows got fucked very quickly although I used a pretty light weight. If anyone had gone through this , please tell me how did you train your tris ?


When you say ‘elbows,’ are you referring to your triceps insertion (back of the arm, just above the ‘point’ of the elbow)?


Yeah somehow like this


So, it sounds like you’ve got triceps tendonitis. What is your current split?


Monday Back and Chest ( 2-3 movements each for a total of 8-10 sets per muscle group)
Wednesday Legs and shoulders (same as above)
Thursday Back and Chest
Saturday Shoulders and Legs

But this week I am focusing on my arms a bit because they’re way under developed so I put other musles on maintenance and will train my arms 3× if my left elbow didn’t bother me again


Triceps tendonitis is a very common problem (I have dealt with it on-and-off over the years). In my experience, it stems from one or both of two common issues:

  1. Most lifters get a lot of incidental triceps stimulation. (Remember, every time you do any sort of a press or pullover, your triceps are getting worked.) So depending on their split, some lifters are hitting triceps hard 5+ days a week. Given this, it’s not surprising the tendons get hinky after a while.
  2. Most lifters do not take the time to warm up properly before placing inordinate stress on the triceps tendon. For example, I used to do heavy skullcrushers as my first triceps movement. This is a classic example of terrible programming, as this exercise is really stressful on the tendon (especially if done with heavy weights). Little wonder that I suffered triceps tendonitis for years.

I did a training cycle with John Meadows, and he really opened my eyes to the importance of appropriate intra-workout exercise programming. For any bodypart, the first exercise performed should be geared toward getting blood into the muscle without putting undo stress on the tendons and joints. To do this, an isolation exercise should be employed, light loads used, and (most importantly) the ROM is limited to the final third (ie, approaching the fully contracted position) of the movement. With respect to triceps, allow me to expand (Note: The following is based on something I added to the post entitled EyeDentist: How do you train?):

My favorite warm-up exercise for triceps is rope pushouts (not a typo–will explain below). Use a very light weight, and pull the rope handles down and OUT (this is key!) as hard as you can. The goal is to pull the rope hard enough to literally render it straight (ie, parallel to the floor). Hold this extreme-contracted position for a 4-count, then ‘break’ the peak contraction, slowly lower the weight stack a few inches, then it’s right back to the max contracted position for another 4-count. I can’t emphasize enough just how short the ROM is–the hands NEVER get close to one another, and other than the first and last reps, the movement has no vertical (ie, up and down) component. (This is why I call them rope pushOUTS, not pushDOWNS.) Done correctly, these are brutal, the pump is insane, and most importantly, they prepare the triceps tendon for heavier work. Do 3 sets, resting only 30 sec between each. The weight should be light enough to allow 15-25 reps, with at least 2-3 left in the tank (ie, don’t go to failure).

If this exercise irritates your triceps tendons, you’re gonna have to consider taking a six-week-or-so holiday from ALL triceps-related work.


Thank you so much for the reply , I will definitely try it !


Have you voodoo flossed it? Tack & floss.

Wrap the band tightly north and south of the actual elbow. Then extend, hold for a second, then relax. 2 mins of work.

I like to add a band and distract, with palm on ground. Plenty of vids of this online. Smashwerx has several very good vids explaining exactly how to perform.

This should clear you right up.

Eye is right too, a proper warmup is essential.


Shoulder positioning is everything. Fix the shoulders and the elbows will not be a problem.