Exercises when you have tennis elbow?

kathydaffy

Cathlete
Hi all and help! I work out with Cathe DVDs most days of the week but recently developed what I think is tennis elbow - it's not severe but I also can't lift anything with the affected arm without some pain. Bicep curls, tricep extensions, lateral raises and upright rows really aggravate the area so I'm suddenly very limited in what I can do as far as Cathe workouts go (i.e. any RiiPed with HiiT, XTrain or strength DVDs are out). Any suggestions as to how to keep some of my muscle gains? I've been trying some barre inspired arm exercises that are easier on the joints but am worried that everything I've worked for is doomed for the trash heap while I recover. Even push ups and chest moves hurt so I'm desperate for whatever tips I can get! Thank you in advance! :)
 

ginny mahaney

Active Member
I'm curious to see how others respond as I'm definitely not the poster child for success here. I have had tennis elbow since February and it has gotten better but has not gone away, probably because I haven't given it enough rest and haven't taken any time off from tennis.

For weights I switched to upper body workouts that do not have bi's and tri's, and if there are upright rows I either use just 5 pounds or don't do them at all. So for example I've been doing the XTrain DVDs a lot - chest, back and shoulders and the burn sets dvd as well.

I am still playing tennis 2-3 days a week which definitely aggravates it. I suspect that if I was just doing XTrain without tennis it would have gone away by now, but don't know for sure.

I've recently started doing eccentric and stretching exercises and that seem to be helping a lot. For example I do tricep push downs with a straight bar on a pulley, hold the bar in my right hand (the one with tennis elbow), use my left hand to pull the bar down, then release my left hand and let the weight back up very slowly. I do 2 sets of 15 with as much weight as I can. I also bought a thera-band bar to do some stretching exercises with and really like it:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00067E4YU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Hope that helps and good luck! Hope yours goes away faster than mine:)
 

kathydaffy

Cathlete
Thank you ginny! I'll definitely try staying away from the biceps and triceps when it comes to exercise but unfortunately I'm having trouble with anything that requires use of my bum elbow, including rows and chest presses. Since you can still play tennis and do XTrain I'm afraid I'm worse off! I plan on doing Cathe's lower body workouts but will be stashing the heavy weights for a while until the elbow is a bit better. Thank you again for your reply and I'll try your suggestions once the elbow has recovered! :)
 

ginny mahaney

Active Member
Happy to help! Couple additional thoughts:
- Now that I think about it, I didn't start doing upright rows again with 5 pound weights until about a month ago after I started using the thera band. So yea, lay off those for a while.
- If you use the theraband 5 days a week, you should be able to go back to doing pushups and chest presses within a week or two. Here is a link to some exercises:
- I also hold the thera band out in front of me with my right wrist cocked as far as I can, then twist with the left hand to force a deeper stretch and hold it for 30 seconds. Then I do it in the opposite direction. This really gives the tendon a good stretch.
- If you still can't do chest exercises after a week, maybe try doing pushups on your knees and just do a lot of reps to keep from losing too much muscle.
- Try doing flies, that doesn't bother my elbow as much since it doesn't move. If you can't do them with dumbbells, do it with a machine or band with elbows bent 90 degrees so that the pressure/pushing action is happening at the upper arm instead of the hand/wrist.

Good luck!
 

jacmar

Cathlete
Hi ladies-I have had really bad tennis elbow in my left elbow for quite a while. I do the stretching exercises and they do help a little, but the only thing that has really helped me is to not lift heavy anymore. It's really frustrating but I don't really have a choice. I have switched to more metabolic workouts for lifting.
 

ginny mahaney

Active Member
That is a really good point. What I did as an exercise-aholic is not what should really be done. I had just finished STS in Dec and didn't want to lose my strength gains. In reality I have lost strength anyway, on XTrain I've had to drop 5-10 lb on chest and back. The girls on my tennis team that have successfully recovered from tennis elbow quit tennis and weights and did nothing but PT for 3-6 months. Sadly I think that is the only way to truly get rid of it.
 

BlakKat

Cathlete
I have been suffering from tennis elbow for 8 months now. I didn't stop working out, but in the beginning I did more cardio than weights & when I did weights it was frustrating because I had to use lower weight and avoid some movements (upright rows, lateral raises, bicep curls and some triceps). I couldn't even lift my water bottle with that arm. I was discouraged because it seemed like it was never going away & I was losing my muscle definition plus my grip strength on that arm was weak. I couldn't even do legs because just holding a dumbbell seemed to aggravate it. Sometimes after a workout, it would feel inflamed so I would ice it. I did a lot of research and tried so many different gadgets, exercises, soaking in epsom salt, youtube videos-one of them being the Theraband from amazon (like above). Even the lightest resistant Theraband was too much for me so I did the same movement with a towel and actually liked that better & returned the 2 Therabands. I was already going to my sports med dr every few weeks for my back, so while there, he would do a "transfriction massage" on the muscles and tendons in my forearm-that always made it feel so much better. He agreed with the research that I found that it is not always better to completely stop exercising (unless there is pain of course), but to work around it and do what you can do to keep any strength in it you have. They say tennis elbow can last up to a year, sometimes returning. I was probably back at my normal workouts after 4 or 5 months and sometimes it still talks to me a little and I always seem to bang that elbow into something that is still super sensitive. What seemed to work the fastest for me was watching Ask Dr. Jo on youtube (
) and religiously following her exercises plus this one stretch that I also found on youtube where you lie face down on the ground with your arms straight in front of your body, hands turned so your palms are facing the ground-this stretches the forearm. Go slow at first and once the stretch feels good and not as tight, you can raise 1 leg at a time which will make your hip bone press into your forearm for a little deeper stretch and then you can try lifting both legs if you want.
I hope some of this helps-good luck!
 

snowlover

Cathlete
I've had tennis elbow and golfer's elbow in both elbows at different times. I generally follow the "if it hurts don't do it" rule which of course gives the area plenty of rest. I then start at a lower weight and work my way up. This really helped in the past year and I never had to see anyone for the problem (I work with my hands so any injury like this can really sideline me). Best of luck!
 

Traildoggie

Cathlete
My DH is retired doc. We have both had tennis elbow several times, not from tennis, but shoveling, bark, dirt, and wood chopping. I can't comment on exercises but the main thing for us was.... don't do whatever makes it hurt.
second , get a wrist immobilizer splint and wear it faithfully at night sleeping. Mueller brand is good and available on amazon. Less than twenty dollars. much nicer for less money than what was available at local pharmacies.
We get out the splint whenever elbow or wrist discomfort. I have deterioration of the thumb joint. immobilizing wrist at night lets the elbow area and thumb area be quiet, rest, heal. I notice much less discomfort in a week usually in a day or two. I get out the brace and use it for a while if there is the slightest discomfort, so I've headed off problems before they became huge. HTH. we have both completely recovered from more than one case of tennis elbow using a brace. we backed off on the activity that caused the problem but did not do any special exercises. I didn't know of any. have not gotten epicondylitis from cathe weight work.
 
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Terina

Cathlete
Thank you for sharing this information. It helps to know what was going on with my elbow and that I'm not the only one and that there's a solution. [emoji3]


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

meliffy18

Cathlete
Hi everyone! I'm a physical therapist and I treat patients with tennis/golfer's elbow quite frequently. While eccentric wrist and elbow exercises coupled with forearm and bi/tri/wrist stretches may help alleviate your condition, the more severe symptoms should not be self-diagnosed or corrected on your own, as you could put more force on the tendons/ligaments. There could also be compensations somewhere else (usually through the shoulder/shoulder blade) that could partly be contributing to the problem, and individualized exercises could address this to prevent the issue in the future. A lot of states now allow physical therapists to see patients without a prescription from an MD, but its pretty easy to get one if needed. A PT can set you up with an exercise program and even start you on your journey for lifting heavy again, especially if you address it early.

I don't mean to sound preachy on here, but I don't advise looking up exercises on the web and self-prescribing, especially when you're in pain; there could be compensations going on of just not getting the most effective treatment for your individual needs. Not all routines are cut out for everyone, despite having the same ailment.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to PM me! I love this stuff (I should since I do it for a living lol) and I really love helping people reach their wellness goals despite injury!
 
I don't mean to sound preachy on here, but I don't advise looking up exercises on the web and self-prescribing, especially when you're in pain; there could be compensations going on of just not getting the most effective treatment for your individual needs. Not all routines are cut out for everyone, despite having the same ailment.

Awww you are very kind. Your post did not sound preachy to me at all. You're right.

My injury was diagnosed as a calcific tendonitis causing pain around shoulder blade and rotator cuff.
I have not experienced any tennis elbow issue at all. I have pm you:):)

https://cathe.com/forum/threads/bes...centric-negative-lifting.303121/#post-2406815
https://cathe.com/forum/threads/rec...ury-how-to-balance-sides.306227/#post-2394071
 
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kathydaffy

Cathlete
Thanks everyone for all the tips and advice! It's so frustrating not being able to lift but better to take it easy for a bit and avoid really tearing the tendon. I've found I can handle very light weights but am giving my arm a good week off before doing anything else... helps that it will be resting in Martha's Vineyard! :)
 

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