Tennis Elbow and Bodybuilding - Dealing with Treatment & Exercises

Tennis Elbow in Bodybuilding

Learning how to Avoid and Cure Injuries is Key in Fitness

Ask yourself, have you been experiencing pain in your elbows? Especially when doing reverse-grip wrist curls and triceps pushdowns. In most cases, doctors will diagnosed this as the very common tennis elbow. Even if you've never played tennis in my life! Usually they will say it will settle after a month's rest, but most of us that are bodybuilders or train daily don't want to stop working out. The question then becomes, what should I do?

Your doctor has probably made the correct diagnosis. Tennis elbow is commonly seen in tennis players, but you don't have to play that game to get this problem. The condition, correctly called "lateral epicondylitis," is due to inflammation of the extensor muscles of the forearm where they merge into a single tendon attaching to bone at the elbow. It may be caused by either an acute injury or repetitive overuse. The initial tendon inflammation, or tendinitis, will usually heal with rest, ice application and some anti-inflammatory medication, such as Ibuprofen (tablets or topical gel). A course of physical therapy may also help, and your doctor may suggest a cortisone injection into the painful area to reduce the inflammation. If the tendon is reinjured during the healing phase, however, the condition can develop into a chronic tendinosis, where the tendon undergoes a degenerative process, becoming more difficult to treat. If these measures are not successful, you may require surgery to cure the problem.

Bodybuilders can develop tennis elbow, injuring the tendon while doing exercises such as those you mention. The tendinitis will persist if you continue those movements during the healing phase. I would highly recommend that you reduce the intensity of your upper-body workouts, and avoid any exercises that make the pain worse - in particular, any movement that stresses the wrist extensor muscles such as reverse curls, triceps pushdowns, lateral raises, upright rows, and possibly bench press with the wrist extended. This short-term restriction might be frustrating, but if you allow the tendinitis to become chronic, your problem will stick around for a long time. Good luck with your rehab!

Related Articles