A lot of people have elbow pain so let’s talk about what causes elbow pain and how you can prevent it.
As you know, I’m really big on training for longevity. I don’t think people need to lift light weight or not be extremely strong to avoid injuries even as they get older but there are some dangers in tricep exercises that, if done for prolonged periods of time, can damage your elbows.
No Pain No Gain
It’s this crazy mindset of ‘No Pain No Gain’ that causes injuries. How many guys do you know who were lifting for years or used to lift and they’re always talking about ”oh man I used to be big.. I used to be strong”. There are even guys mid 30’s saying this which is kind of scary. It’s a direct result of the ‘No Pain No Gain’ mentality that is causing injuries over time.
If something hurts, don’t do it. I’m not talking about a little bit of a burning as a result of lactic acid buildup though but actual pain. Pain is a sign that you’re doing something wrong. Training shouldn’t be painful, even deadlifting 500 pounds shouldn’t be painful. Maybe on your hands a little bit until they toughen up but you shouldn’t actually be experiencing pain from the exercise
Be Careful Who You Take Advice From
Most of this stuff is perpetuated by the bodybuilding world and you need to remember that most pro bodybuilders and many pro bodybuilding coaching have no knowledge of exercise science, physiology or anything like that. Most of them don’t know how to keep themselves from getting injured in the long term or snapping their shit up, which is why you see many bodybuilders that are wrapped up when they train and always needing to have tendons reattached.
Be careful when you listen to the advice of competitive bodybuilders when it comes to performing exercises.
The most perpetuated myth is that full range of motion locking out on exercises is what causes elbow pain and that’s simply not true.
UNLESS you have any medical deformation like being double-jointed. You would need to see a specialist to teach you how to train then.
If you don’t have any medical deformation, locking out is actually good for your elbows. You’re training them to train through a full range of motion, causing your elbows to get stronger throughout the whole range of motion.
Plenty of people actually get hurt with little isolation movements. In facts, often times it’s the damage from the isolation movements that makes big compounds hurt because once you put an actual heavy weight on that damaged or inflamed area then all of a sudden you feel that pain and people in their head are thinking it’s the compound that hurt them.
The Cause: Tricep Extensions
The reason people get elbow injuries is because they perform their tricep extensions with their elbows tucked in and move the weight towards their face. This will cause inflammation overtime of the lateral and medial tendons where they insert into the elbow.
This will create a tremendous amount of tension on the tendons near the top of the range of motion (stretched).
I see a lot of people who do this stuff and ironically I see a lot of these people who seem to need sleeves for their elbows when they press heavy. You think that’s a coincidence?
How To Fix It
The best thing you can do to remedy that is to not keep your elbows really close to your side but let them flare a little bit and as you come up you need to come all the way past your head wether you’re doing a rope or a barbell. You need to get shoulder extension to where you’re almost replicating a pullover motion.
A Better Developed Tricep
This not only gives you the advantage of not putting that stress on the connective tissue of the triceps that causes this elbow pain over time. It also gives you the benefit of giving extra long head stimulation which is one of the heads of the triceps that gets the least work on most pressing exercises so you’re actually killing two bird with one stone.
You can get a better developed tricep while not having your elbows hurts all the time.
- Pain is a sign that you’re doing something wrong. Training shouldn’t be painful.
- The reason people get elbow injuries is because they perform their tricep extensions with their elbows tucked in and move the weight towards their face. This will cause inflammation overtime of the lateral and medial tendons where they insert into the elbow.
- The best thing you can do to remedy that is to not keep your elbows really close to your side but let them flare a little bit and as you come up you need to come all the way past your head wether you’re doing a rope or a barbell. You can get a better developed tricep while not having your elbows hurts all the time.
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