If you have tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis as it is officially known, you know one thing – it hurts and you’d likely do anything you could to stop if. In this video, I’m going to show you the best way to fix tennis elbow pain once and for all by actually continuing to workout rather than stopping all together, which is never really the optimal solution to any orthopedic inflammatory issue.
When we talk about tennis elbow, we are talking about the pain that radiates from a specific spot on the top side or outside of the elbow whenever we reach to pick something up or hold something with a palms down grip. This spot is where many of the extensor tendons of the wrist converge and attach. The issue with this group of muscles is that they are very weak and unable to handle a significant load on their own, when unsupported by the muscles that are supposed to contribute to making their job in function easier.
The irony is that many of the tennis elbow injuries don’t come from playing tennis. The backhand stroke in tennis is the one that requires a forceful extension of the wrist at the moment of striking the ball that powerfully drives it towards your opponent. That said, this is not ever going to be as strong as it could be if you are leaving these weaker muscles on their own to produce maximal force.
Well, as is almost always the case, the mechanics that are out of whack when the tennis stroke goes awry carry over to the gym as well. The same things that are lacking on the court can play out in the weight room that lead to almost immediate aggravation of these tendons in weightlifters. Keep in mind, while this is known as an overuse injury it should probably be more properly termed an overtaxing issue.
This exercise is almost always the side lateral or front dumbbell raise for shoulders. It pains me to say it because this is one of my all time favorite exercises for building up bigger middle delts and shoulders in general.
When performing a side lateral raise you can either use a weight that is challenging but attainable to complete 10-12 repetitions, one that is lighter than what would normally be used here or one that is even heavier than usual but relies on body swing and momentum to get the weight up. I’d argue that the worst weight to use here is the one in the middle. This is because it often times exceeds the isometric strength capacity of the wrist extensors.
Instead, as I’ve advised countless times on this channel, choosing the light dumbbells for strict form side lateral raises is the only way to go. Incorporating additional intensity techniques like slow motion reps and one and a half reps is going to help equalize the load and take a weight that may be too light and create an overload that is appropriate for causing muscle growth.
The exercise that does this better than any other? The kettlebell swing.
That’s right. The swing allows you to progressively and gradually load the muscles that are being subjected to too much isolated load right now and incorporate the muscles that are supposed to be assisting in the first place.
Start with a two arm swing (one being the injured arm and the other being the healthy one that can serve to spot the other through the initial recovery). Perform sets of 30-50 swings at a time with a light to moderate weight. This should be performed as 2-3 sets two to three times per week. As you are able to handle more, you can either increase the weight of the kettlebell or shift to a slightly lighter kettlebell but hold it with just one hand rather than two and perform the same movement.
Also, you can offset the load by swinging it to one side rather than straight down the middle. The key benefit here is that you turn the exercise from a sagittal plane driven exercise into a transverse plane exercise as well. This will help to load up the hips into rotation for additional power recruitment and further blend every day function into the ultimate demands of the forearm extensors.
If you find that this video helps to fix tennis elbow once and for all, be sure to leave your comments to let me know. If you are looking for a program then head to athleanx.com via the link below and get the ATHLEAN-X training plan that fits your current goals. Build a ripped, strong athletic body by training like an athlete for the next 90 days.
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