T Nation

Tricep Pain

I have a pain in the joint area of the elbow/tricep whenver I am doing Skulls, pressdowns, or any type of extension movment.

It is only mild whenver doing any type of pressing movment.

Non existent if I am not doing anything or moving the arm through a plane without weight.

Will seek good medical advice, just wondering what the boards thoughts where on what it may be?

I’ve had a similar pain in the past, and I switched to doing skull crushers through with reverse grip. You have to use less weight, but for me it didn’t cause any elbow pain and worked the tri’s a little differently than usual until it healed up. Also, try some glucosamine.

Lying Tricep Extensions (Skull Crushers) can be hard on the elbow joint because of the isolation factor. I have had the exact thing you are talking about. Lay off the isolation movements and in 6 to 8 weeks you will be good to go!

Zeb is probably right. I used to get this from time to time in college when I did lying tricep extensions. I just considered it mild tendonitis. I used to take a few days off from tricep work and it was usually better in about a week without any special treatment. I haven’t had a recurrence for many years. Not to discourage anyone from seeing a dr, but if it was me, I would hold off unless it starts to get worse. All they will do is tell you to rest it and maybe give up weightlifting altogether, as I’ve found many drs to prescribe at the slightest inflammation. You could also try bringing the bar to the top of the head rather than the forehead on your lying extensions. I found that this little change in motion helped alleviate a lot of the elbow strain without compromising the amount of tricep work - not sure exactly why.
You should ice it though.


thanks for the replies! Looks like it is a good time for a month or so of specilization work on legs and pulling muscles.

These cats, as usual are right on. My take on it is a slightly different angle however. Yes, take some time off of the exercise that causes such stress to your distal tricep tendon. If you are able to, do another exercise, maybe (GASP!) use a machine and build up your tendon strength using higher repetitions for a few weeks(i.e. 2-3 x 12-15). If that hurts, take time off of any direct tricep work until you do not feel pain in that area for about a week and a half.

When it is time to hit up the skull crushers again, use very light weight and go slowly, using the type of scheme set up earlier. And yes, CW’s recent articles may have said to go faster during your reps and whatnot, but that applies to a healthy joint. In your case, a good month in emphasizing tendon strength would be extremely beneficial to you.

Progress slowly, and remember that though you may be seeing people heaving heavier weights up around you in stuff like skull crushers, the time building up the strength of the tendon will allow you to move those bigger weights around in no time.

Good points. Funny how the ego plays with you. After 16 years of solid lifting and good results from it, in can be hard to back of even when it is the right thing to do for long term gains!