Ah, elbow wraps, the solution to one of weightlifting’s most common ailments: elbow pain. Many weightlifters experience elbow pain due to the repetitive nature of weightlifting and the strain it puts on the elbow joint.
But fear not, my fellow gym-goers, for elbow wraps, are here to provide support and compression to the elbow joint, helping to alleviate pain and prevent injury.
When lifting weights, the muscles and tendons in the elbow can become strained, leading to inflammation and pain. However, weightlifters can reduce the strain on the elbow joint and continue lifting confidently and efficiently using elbow wraps.
But with the help of elbow wraps, you can continue to lift with confidence and ease. After all, who needs pain-free elbows when you can just cover them up with some fashionable wraps?
What Causes Elbow Pain in Weight Lifters?
Weightlifters may experience elbow pain due to overuse or tendonitis, medically known as medial or lateral epicondylitis and commonly referred to as “tennis elbow” or “golfer’s elbow.”
This type of pain often occurs when tendons are overloaded, which can happen when training volume is increased too quickly, rest periods are insufficient, or when a grip changes.
To prevent elbow pain, weightlifters should gradually increase their training volume and stick to their plan. They should also ensure enough recovery between training days for each muscle group, with larger muscles requiring extended rest periods.
Additionally, when training is heavy, more extended rest periods are necessary. When changing their routine, such as introducing new lift types or grips, weightlifters should do so slowly and gradually to allow their hands, forearms, and elbows to adjust.
Can I Continue to Lift With Elbow Pain?
Many weightlifters are reluctant to rest when they experience elbow pain, but ignoring it can worsen the problem. However, it is possible to continue lifting while treating the pain correctly.
The first step is to identify the pain early, as tendinitis typically presents as tenderness near the bony prominence of either side of the elbow. This type of pain responds well to treatments that reduce inflammation, such as icing.
Weightlifters should use lifting straps and tendon off-loading straps to reduce stress on the tendons while they recover. These devices can help reduce the grip force produced, decreasing the tendon’s strain.
After approximately three weeks, tendinitis is no longer an actual inflammation problem, and anti-inflammatory treatments are no longer effective. At this point, eccentric strengthening or a heavy, slow resistance program can help improve the condition over time.
This involves performing regular or reverse wrist curls while slowly lowering the weight over five seconds. Performing three sets of 20 reps once daily with enough weight to fatigue the tendon effectively resolves tendinitis.
How can I Prevent Elbow Pain When Lifting?
There are a few key factors to consider when preventing elbow pain while lifting weights.
Firstly, it’s essential to gradually train your tendons for the load you will put on them. This means starting with lighter weights and gradually increasing the load over time. To help build your grip strength, you can practice pinching and gripping kettlebells or plates as part of your strength training routine.
Additionally, incorporating eccentric strengthening exercises for your wrist and forearm muscles can be a useful preventative measure. This exercise involves slowly lowering the weight over five seconds and has been shown to help resolve tendinitis over time.
In addition to targeting your forearm muscles, training other muscle groups to help support your elbows during weightlifting is essential. Specifically, the posterior shoulder muscles and mid-back are essential for proper lifting form and preventing strain on the forearms and hands.
Weakness in these “pulling” muscles can lead to overuse of the forearm and hand muscles, putting more stress on the tendons in your elbow. Exercises like rows that pull your shoulder blades together and downward can help activate the lower trapezius muscle and improve your overall lifting form.
Another critical tip for preventing elbow pain is to break up your lifting routine and give your grip muscles a break. This can be achieved by alternating grips or setting the bar between lifts instead of hanging onto them continuously. This intermittent break can reduce the strain on the tendons that attach to your elbow and give them time to recover.
Overall, preventing elbow pain in weightlifting requires proper training, targeted exercises, and mindful technique. Gradually building your grip strength, incorporating eccentric strengthening exercises, and targeting your posterior shoulder muscles and mid-back can help prevent strain on your elbow tendons.
Additionally, taking breaks during your lifting routine can reduce the overall amount of strain on your elbows and improve your overall lifting performance in the long run.
When to Seek Help
As a weightlifter, it can be extremely frustrating to experience elbow pain. Although many lifters might ignore the pain, knowing when to seek help is essential. If you have been experiencing elbow pain for over two weeks or have difficulty lifting weights without modifying your routine, seeking expert advice is a good idea.
Additionally, if your elbow pain is affecting your daily tasks or preventing you from working, getting help as soon as possible is essential.
If you’re experiencing numbness or tingling in your elbow, it’s recommended to be examined immediately to determine the root cause.
With help, you can return to lifting confidently and minimise your risk of further injury. So don’t hesitate to seek help if you’re experiencing elbow pain.
Elbow pain is a common issue among weightlifters that can have various causes, including tendonitis, joint inflammation, or nerve entrapment. Overuse, poor technique, and inadequate warm-up or cool-down routines can also contribute to developing elbow pain.
It is essential to take preventive measures, such as gradually increasing loads, incorporating proper form, and strengthening the relevant muscle groups. In the case of injury, timely intervention and rest are necessary to promote healing and prevent long-term complications.
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Seeking help from a specialist can provide the necessary guidance and treatment to manage and prevent elbow pain in weightlifting. By taking care of their elbows, weightlifters can continue to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of this challenging and rewarding sport.
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