Triceps/Elbow-Friendly Routine?

Hi all,

I am constantly having an issue STILL with my tri’s getting worn out extermely quick so much that it ruins the rest of my workout. Have gone back to basics and started following the Lyle Mcdonald Generic Bulking routine upper/lower, on the upper day after i have done my first exercise the flat bench press by the time i get to the shoulder press i am failing half way through my first set not even using heavy ass weights just feel weakness in my left elbow area but unsure if this is actually the lower portion of my tricep??? no matter what i try i cannot get this issue to subside, can anyone advise if they have a similar issue and what i could try to resolve as getting no where :frowning:


Was expecting elbow/tricep pain when I clicked on this. Is there pain at all?

For now probably select exercises around this if possible while you seek professional help ASAP e.g. physical therapist or physiotherapist.

As for what the issue is you’ve not given much to go on however it is peculiar. Instability, peripheral neuropathy/nerve injury or entrapment, muscle injury and many other things could be the cause.

Pain is usually a pretty straightforward musculoskeletal injury however weakness is more worrying. Weakness is of muscles so your elbow can’t actually be or feel weak. Your triceps and other muscles acting on and around your elbow can be weak.

Are cable tricep extensions weak? Can you press down with your left/affected arm while resisting with your non affected arm? Do you feel/can you feel your triceps contracting or is there no activation? Look up Triceps Reflex and see if it’s present.

That’s just neurological issues however given the host of things that could be going on, many of which we have neither the means to diagnose or treat ourselves, would highly recommend seeing a healthcare professional.

Reply above may have been a bit alarmist. Go with your gut feeling. Is something wrong or
possibly your triceps are just fatigued from the workload. If so, the solution is to build up work capacity and strength. If you used the muscle group on the exercise before it’s going to be fatigued and we need to adjust intensity/volume and our expectations accordingly.

If it’s a genuine weak area then probably best not to avoid it. Instead try pressing however much you can and then adding in raises or other exercises e.g. front raises to stimulate the shoulders fully without being limited by your triceps.

Cheers guys,

Thanks i may have a slight injury to area or impingement somewhere as i do wake up with pins and needles in my lower arms and had physio last year for trapped nerve in shoulder area so have seen about issues already and have specific exercises to do to help with this.

No pain really just a real feeling of weakness/unable to push out the reps from my elbow area, as i say cannot work out if it is coming from the elbow or end of tricep connecting to elbow area.

Other tricep work is fine doing pushdowns etc it seems to be primarily pushing up movements bench, shoulder press which this affects the most. Tricep reflex fine.

I am following Lyle Mcdonalds Generic Bulking at the moment in which the first exercise on a monday i Flat Bench then back row then Shoulder Press - so i am refreshed after a weekend off by the time i get to shoulder press i am having to drop the weight right down to say 12-15kgs to get the reps out which is crap after training for 7 years ish - could be like you say i need to build up the work capacity and strength.

Could you advise on a better program to follow to allow me to train say Mon/Wed/Thurs which are the main days i can get and a fourth day sometimes when available to try and build up some strength in my weak areas but including hitting each body part?

Thanks again guys.

out of interest, what kind of weights are you putting up and what is your bodyweight?

Switch to dumbbells, preferably with a neutral (palms facing inwards) grip and/or use some kind of fat grip/thick bar for any pressing. Those would be the band-aid solutions.

Addressing this is the priority.

Since you’re fine with triceps isolation work, I’m leaning towards it not being an actual triceps issue. Try to get checked again by your physio doc because it seems like the problem either came back or wasn’t 100% resolved.

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Do your shoulder work before your chest work and intersperse with a pulling movement. The lighter weights of the the shoulder work will not tire the triceps as much as doing the likes of bench press before shoulders.
Back width (pulldown, pullup of some sort)
Shoulders (press, laterals etc)
Back thickness (rows etc)

as others have said try different equipment, variations of grips etc to ascertain which exercises provide maximum target muscle stimulation with minimal tricep involvement.


Chains and bands work good because the load at the bottom is light.
I add a short band to pushdowns. Any type lying extensions with chains.
If I am doing a lot of heavy presses, like floor presses or close grip presses, I don’t think my isolation type work needs to be so heavy.

I’ve had elbow issues in the past and an axle usually makes things much worse for me. If it works for the Op, that’s great but if you feel discomfort then dont press (hehe) on.

Neutral grip pressing (and rows/chins) did wonders for me.

BTW, lack of internal rotation was (still is) the issue for me.

I don’t know about a routine but I have found that doing heavy press downs on the assisted dip/pull up machine works good and has little stress on my elbows. Seated triceps extension and skull crushers seem to be the worst for me.

Thanks for all the tips guys, will try to put something into action and see if i get any improvement.

Fair point. A bar that doesn’t rotate can increase torque on the joints. If a thick barbell doesn’t have rotating sleeves, then fat bar grips (like fat gripz, some homemade version, or whatever) on a regular Oly bar would be a better choice.

Stretch the pecs hard immediately post workout from a variety of angles…