Sane Approach to Combating Elbow Pain

Everyone wants to have big arms but unfortunately with this overzealous nature one can easily sustain ongoing elbow pain (typically bursitis) as a result of not careful. Sadly this is so common in the iron game that many resort to over the counter pain killers, joint support supplements or flat out stop working out all together.  But luckily there are other more effective and sane approaches available to you.

The first and easiest option to eliminating elbow pain is to simply drop all direct arm movements. Now I know what you are thinking you will lose arm size.  Don’t worry your arms will still get worked with your other upper body movements such as bench presses, shoulder presses, rows, etc.  Most will find that by just doing this that not only will their elbow pain disappear but their arm size will not regress.  In fact many have even reported an increase in their upper arm girth that has be stagnated for years.  This is especially true if you have been over working the guns.  

Exercise selection

Of course many of those reading can not eliminate arm movements all together or perhaps in some cases might need to include direct arm work.  Competitive bodybuilders or those with weak arms should at the very least cut back on their volume and find movements that do not bother them and go heavy with them.  For triceps it is usually overhead extensions that usually causes the problem.  For biceps it can be a little bit harder to find the culprit.  But whatever it is find a movement or two that do not cause any pain and go heavy with it.   

There are so many different exercise variations out there for your disposal so take advantage of it.  If you typically do barbell curls maybe do the dumbbell or pulley variation instead.  Same thing applies to triceps.  Just by simply changing angles or method of application (barbells, dumbells, pulley, incline/decline bench, etc.)

Training Volume

Sometimes a simple reduction in training volume for arm exercises is the short path to enlightenment. This is especially true if your set total for biceps floats over the single digit range. 

Training intensity

Another tried and true adjustment is to cycle your training intensity.  Many hardcore lifters go all out all the time.  This not only can slow down you progress but your body will eventually burn out and that is when all the nagging pains can set in.  Your body needs rest or it will eventually tell you it needs rest by this way.  This can be as simple as taking a week or two off from trading every 4-8 weeks or throwing in an easy week here or there.  


Well there you have these simple but time honored workout modifications can save you a lot of pain and aggravation.  I know they sound simple for many but how many of you have been a victim of pushing at least one of these areas too far.  


2 thoughts on “Sane Approach to Combating Elbow Pain

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