So, you're having a great workout. You are cranking out reps, writing the info down, checking out your form in the mirror (Mirror, Mirror) and letting your body do its super hero impersonation. You are just finishing up a set of hammer curls and realize you've pumped out a few more than last time when suddenly you feel a sharp pain in your forearm and elbow. At first you think it's just a spasm but the next attempt proves you wrong and you can barely hold the weight at all let alone do another rep. You finish the workout practically one-handed and then race to the computer to see if there isn't an answer to what has just happened. Well, chances are what you've done is come down with tennis elbow. Even shaking hands with someone, putting on your socks or turning the covers over will remind you that you now have a ways to go before you're game ready! Of course no internet search can completely diagnose injuries, only a doctor can and you should always get a professional opinion . But for those of us who have experienced it, I thought it would be helpful to supply a few helpful tips, and while there is no cure there are things you can do to help the healing process and prevent another injury.
The primary treatment is to rest the muscles. (4-6 weeks is about average) The fact is the muscles won't allow you to do much anyway so you have no choice but the good news is you can adapt the moves to keep away from the injury. Sound depressing? Not really. Our nature is to get back into the gym as soon as possible. You can as long as you use some common sense and modify. (Know Thyself) For example, substitute open arm curls for supinated ones, and when you pick up weights pick them up palms facing away from you. Chances are the elbow that's injured is your dominant one so make a concious effort to use your other arm to move weights, clean up, or any other stressful moves you might otherwise take for granted. Your body will tell you what it can and can't do... Know Thyself!
Second tip is to wear a compression sleeve around the meaty part of the forearm an inch or so below the elbow and to wear weightlifting gloves. Sometimes our pull up bars and dumbbell bars are a bit too narrow and without realizing it our hands are wrapping tightly on a smaller diameter. These two items prevent over flexing of the forearm muscles and will help not only in the healing process but will assist in prevention of the injury as well. Another tip is to grip the pull-up bar using an open grip instead of wrapping your entire hand around the bar. Use mostly your fingers in other words, again to prevent over-gripping. (For those of you doing P90X just watch how Tony Horton does it.)
These are just a few tips and ideas on the subject. Feel free to add your own experiences but whatever you do don't get discouraged. Injuries are bound to come. You can work around them and build up different parts of you body. Remember, if the upper hurts, work the lower (and modify the upper). If the lower hurts, work the core, etc.
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