T Nation


Tendonitis, both elbows, what do people recommend in terms of recovery/ time off etc.
For example, I have cut back my workouts heaps and even took 2 weeks off so what next??

I seem to remember a T-mag article on rehabbing tendinitis using negatives. Do a search in the previous issues section. I think you should avoid any movement that aggravates the pain. For example, I have always found skull crushers much worse on my elbows than close grip bench. By the way, the article title spelled it “tendonitis” like you, but either spelling is acceptable according to my dictionary.

Cheers Hyok, interesting article - what he didn’t make clear was how doing such rehab affected other muscle groups which used the affected area - ie do you stop training Chest and shoulders etc while you do the negative work specifically focused on the triceps tendon. I probably missed it.

As for the spelling thing, possibly a regional variation thing…colour/ color???

I’m in the same boat. I’ve been dealing with tricep tendonitis for over a year now. The past few months I’ve really started to try and get it under control. I haven’t done any direct tricep work in the gym for about 2 months. The only direct work I do is high-rep light pushdowns with my jump stretch band. After reading the eccentric exercise article, I think I’ll incorporate that too. I’m pretty desperate at this point…maybe I should just have a bionic elbow installed.

Cy told me to use fish oils, nsaids, and ice.

I used to experience tendonitis with my lat pulldowns. What solved it for me was a break from the heavy weights - if it hurt I didn’t do it.
Mostly I decreased weight.
And I changed my form.
It turned out that my technique with that weight was straining them.

iscariot: After having read about “negative only” training a
few years back and then again in T-MAG earlier this year, I decided to give it a whirl. (The main obstacle for me was training alone.)

I have a slight problem with the AC joint in my right shoulder,
accompanied by some on again off again tendonitis, as well as a problem with a right elbow tendon which goes into spasm whenever I do any kind of heavy traditional bicep work.

So, being one who loves to experiment, I put together a
program that consisted of “negative only” exercises, but
just for my - CHEST, TRI’S, SHOULDERS, and BICEPS - those being
the affected areas. I trained with my usual exercises for the legs and back (i.e. - dead lifts, rows, squats etc…
you get the picture.)

Having only one example to work with (the machine bench press where you press the lever with your foot to get the weight up), I HAD TO INVENT MY MOVEMENTS. Most of the exercises I employed were hybrid movements involving dumbbells, cables, or machines (50% uni and 50 % bilateral).
A common thread I used on all my movements was that of
a 5 second negative, usually performed for 6 reps. I paused
a few times during the descent while flexing against the weight.

I used this “negative only” routine for two months and am
now in the process of reinserting more of the traditional type movements into my routine. Results: The pain in my afflicted areas is down by about 80%, and I can once again perform favorite movements such as dips. The weird thing is that I have actually gained some muscle on my chest and BI’s during this period.

I found this program most beneficial and would recommend
that YOU tap YOUR creative genius and put together a program
which suits YOUR own personal needs. It’s going to take some
thinking and a lot of patience, but it’s well worth the effort! Good training … Joey Z.

Iscariot, I’ve been dealing with tendonitis in first the left and then the right elbow for a year now. I got therapy for the left one (ultrasound and massage) and took a few weeks off from the gym during the Christmas break last year, and it went away in about three months. Then the right elbow flared up in March, and is just now getting better. I tried everything I could think of - treatment as above, ART, acupuncture, magnets, rest from the gym - nothing worked. What finally has done the trick is cutting out all the OTHER stuff that I do in my daily life that aggravates the condition. For example, I switched my computer mouse over to the left side of my keyboard; I stopped playing pool for a month; I started wiping dishes the opposite way that I normally do them; and I try NEVER to use my right hand to pick 45s in the gym. The cumulative effect of all this has helped quite a bit, and I’m now confident that I’m on the downhill side of this nagging injury. I think that long-term tendonitis is multifactorial, and the more small causes you can eliminate, the sooner you’ll heal.

I’ve found that tendonitis responds well to high volume/low intensity GPP type work. It typically doesn’t respond well to 100% rest…you have to get the blood and fluid in the joint. Try this periodized scheme. You progress from high volume low intensity movements (such as simply flexing the muscles several times a day), to more intense movements (doing exercises in a pool or using bands), to doing light bodyweight movements, and finally to lifting weights. Here’s the scheme:

Week 1-3 3X daily <10% load
Week 4-6 1X daily 10-30% load
Week 7-9 Every other day 30-60%
Week 10-12 Every 3-4 days >60%

By the time you’re on week 10 you’ll be ready to hit the iron hard. You’ll want to gradually decrease the reps and increase intensity. So you might use 50 reps of isometric contractions during weeks 1-3, 30 reps of band work or swimming weeks 4-6, 15-25 reps of bodyweight work weeks 7-9 and regular weight training weeks 10-12. Hope this helps!

OK, first up, thanks folks [see I can be nice]
I appreciate the input. I’ll reduce load and add more negatives in. Will also trey v.light with higher vol adn see which results in a better repsonse. I am gonna miss all those fun exercises like clean and presses and power cleans etc as well as the tricep stuff sob…maybe I’ll join a monastery for stamp collectors.

Iscariot, I assume that pressing movements have contributed to your elbow tendonitis? If so, lay off the pressing movements for a while and strengthen your biceps and back through pulling movements like chins and bent over rows. If you still want to work chest and shoulders without tricep involvement and further tendonitis, you’ll probably have to settle for chest flyes and shoulder raises…

I have occasional flareups in both elbows…taking a complete break from the gym doesn’t seem to help, but reducing workload, avoiding exercises that seem to aggrivate it more, warming up more throughly, and using IcyHot or something similar before training helps. NSAIDs also help - I get pretty good relief from paracetamol/codeine. You can’t buy them here in the States, but it’s OTC in the UK…I hit Boots two or three times every time I go over.

Hey bud, I haven’t had time to read the other posts to see if I’m echoing someone, but there’s a great article on tendonitis (eg’s are for elbows), so do a search and check it out. Cheers. (Seemed to work somewhat for me.)

Try some arnica. It is a very effective healing tool. Peace,k

That article was on T-Mag by the way…

My very cool doctor has already given me a heap of NSAIDs for a pinched nerve in my back…voltarin is my friend… What gets me with this is that despite the fact that I am in pain I am hitting lots ofpersonal bests at the moment, so obviously this has to be some kind of sick cosmic joke. I’ll just keep in mind this image I have of a weightlifter at a past Olympics having his elbow dislocate on him
at the top of his snatch, that’ll make me behave.

Is it true tendonitis, as in damage to a tendon? Or possibly an overuse injury to one or a couple of the small stabilizer muscles around the elbow? It is very easy to chronically injure a muscle in the arm because of overuse. I know from past experience an overuse muscle injury in the forearm/elbow area can pinch nerves and cause excruciating pain in certain ranges of motion. I went through this and had it taken care of by an ART practioner. Just an idea -LW