Elbow pain from weighted press-ups

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Elbow pain from weighted press-ups

Postby Spit on Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:29 pm

I reintroduced weighted press-ups a couple of months back and have been loving them; however, just before Xmas I noticed that my elbows had started clicking and felt inflamed either side of the joint. I had a total week off the gym over Xmas during which time the pain gradually subsided, and since then I've done various pressing, benching etc. (nothing super-heavy) with no real problems. However last night I thought I'd give press-ups a go again- sure enough, after a couple of sets I could feel the elbows start to moan again. I was very conscious of good form (elbows tucked, hands neutral, a good pause at the bottom of the movement to ensure no sudden change of direction), but they just don't seem to be agreeing with me.

Any thoughts? I've never had a problem with any pressing motions before, so am a bit baffled by this. Obviously it's not the end of the world if they just don't work for my physiology, but I can't see why that should be, and I'd much rather keep them in as it's such a good movement otherwise, my shoulders already feel less stable having dropped them for a few weeks.
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Re: Elbow pain from weighted press-ups

Postby health4ni on Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:47 pm

Do you lock out?
If so, don't.

How many reps do you usually perform?
imo it's bets to keep to higher reps on exercises that trouble joints like dips; so do 8+. Lower the weight if need be.

When in the session do you perform them? Beginning, middle, end?
imo they are best done middle or end. Basically, try to get more reps: 8+

Have you tried them with hands on press-up handles or DBs?
That might be better for you and that actually might be the problem.

Where is the pain exactly?
I'm betting it's the outside of the elbow a la tennis elbow. Likely due to the wrist extension in the pressup position.
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Re: Elbow pain from weighted press-ups

Postby Gym-pig on Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:11 pm

Ive had bad elbow problems in the past with golfers .

But its never affected my pressing - in fact thats about the only thing I could do !!

Id say its more than tennis/golfers elbow


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Re: Elbow pain from weighted press-ups

Postby Ader on Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:15 pm

health4ni wrote:I'm betting it's the outside of the elbow a la tennis elbow. Likely due to the wrist extension in the pressup position.
I've got this ATM too - I'm not sure if it started from hanging onto a heavy DL a few months back when I undid my grip hitting my legs but hung on with my fingertips (Doh) or some of the benching I do.

What do you mean by "due to wrist extension"?
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Re: Elbow pain from weighted press-ups

Postby health4ni on Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:17 pm

^^ the wrist is extended in a pressup position.
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Re: Elbow pain from weighted press-ups

Postby Karlos on Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:57 pm

To echo H4NI, get DB handles, paralettes or rings.
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Re: Elbow pain from weighted press-ups

Postby Ader on Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:59 pm

health4ni wrote:^^ the wrist is extended in a pressup position.
OK Thanks H4Ni - It's in the same position in squats and they sometimes exacerbate (did I spell that right) it so that makes sense - Time for some physio methinks :)
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Re: Elbow pain from weighted press-ups

Postby ollie on Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:02 pm

Are you ok on all other movements? Shoulder pressing?
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Re: Elbow pain from weighted press-ups

Postby Spit on Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:59 pm

ollie wrote:Are you ok on all other movements? Shoulder pressing?



Yeah all other stuff is fine- the elbows are generally a bit clicky at the moment on all pressing/pulling movements but that's just symptomatic rather than causal.


Scott- no locking out (thought you're right to suggest it), the pain occurs coming up from the bottom position (i.e. when the arm is most flexed). I've been sticking to higher reps- last night I was doing 10 reps with 10kg on my back just to ease back into it, felt reasonable for the first two sets but by the third they were getting sore so I stopped.

The pain is on the outside, I've had mild tennis elbow in the past and this is pretty similar, so maybe press-ups on DBs are the answer...
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Re: Elbow pain from weighted press-ups

Postby Alex on Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:01 pm

Sounds likes maybe you flare your elbows outwards when pressing rather than tucking them in...?
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Re: Elbow pain from weighted press-ups

Postby Spit on Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:10 pm

Alex wrote:Sounds likes maybe you flare your elbows outwards when pressing rather than tucking them in...?



Until last night I did wonder, but I made sure I was keep my elbows tucked (almost brushing my sides) all the way through the movement and the problem still persisted. I've always benched with elbows tucked as it's healthier for your shoulders, so I don't think I've any bad habits in that respect.
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Re: Elbow pain from weighted press-ups

Postby Dtlv74 on Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:17 pm

It might well be just 'localised overtrianing' - too much heavy work on a joint without enough total rest between blasting it hard can leave the joint in a parmanent state of mild inflammation. This leads to joint ache and slightly reduced strength.

If your form is good and there's no obvious injury then I'd bet it's down to this. A short break for your triceps followed by reduced overall pressing/triceps volume or a little restructuring of your routine to allow some extra days rest should do the trick.
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Re: Elbow pain from weighted press-ups

Postby ollie on Tue Jan 05, 2010 4:32 pm

Clicking is usually down to tight tendons AFAIK.

This stretch is good - definitely helped me out when I had elbow trouble.

Image

Another good one is to rotate your wrist as far as possible, and place your hand on a flat surface (e.g. a table) so that it's flat with your fingers over the edge, with a slight bend in your elbow. You can then straighten your elbow and move weight forward - you should feel the stretch in your elbow when you do.
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Re: Elbow pain from weighted press-ups

Postby Spit on Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:21 pm

Cheers- I've actually been doing that stretch in the pic for the last couple of weeks, almost unwittingly- it just feels right. If I put my hand into a flat press-up position, then even when it's not bearing any weight I can still feel the slightest of twinges on the outside of the elbow, so I think this wrist extension issue may be the root cause. My ROM isn't actually that bad- I can front squat with a clean grip- but that may not be relevant.
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Re: Elbow pain from weighted press-ups

Postby Spit on Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:54 pm

Well I was in the gym today and tried some weighted press-ups on an upturned BOSU ball (sue me) as I could grip the edges in a neutral position; low and behold, my elbows seemed happy as Larry again. Cheers for the tips on and all.

As an aside, Det- your advice chimes in with my other 'theory', which is that as my RC has improved and I've been able to train pressing movements more effectively, the elbows have been feeling the burn instead. I'm confident that the change in press-up hand position is a good move, but will keep an eye on volume as you suggest, no sense in ramping things up too quickly only to get sidelined with another injury.
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