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  1. #1
    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    Working Around Forearm Tendonitis

    Seems like I've got some left forearm tendonitis from overuse and muscle imbalance. Here are the symptoms:
    Pain in forearm area opposite elbow when going from pronation to supination of wrist, and the other way around as well
    Pain on pinky side of forearm during supinated elbow extension

    So my Q's are:
    1. Should I ditch pull workouts completely, or just go lighter and work through the pain? Defo not touching bicep curls and pull ups tho for a while
    Btw, I did some RDLs today, and my forearm felt fine
    Dips don't feel painful either
    No pain in elbows at all

    2. Anyone with any experiences doing push workouts or exercises with this injury? Seems like the injury only affects pull exercises.

    3. How long will this last, from you guys' experience? I stopped doing pull workouts about 5 days from when the pain first arose btw.
    4. Should I up my leg and push workout volume if I have to quit doing pull workouts? I'm just mindful of any recovery issues if I do so.
    Thanks
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  2. #2
    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    im pretty sure some of us have had to reschedule or modify our workouts before around this specific injury.

    This is what I did during my first week of recovery:
    Initially I did PPL rest PP (5 days per week). Following the injury, I've removed the first pull day of the week, added a leg day, and did only unilateral back and biceps work on the second pull day.
    I've also added two triceps exercises on that second pull day, since my forearm doesn't hurt so bad doing them.
    Gonna repeat this modified routine next week, and hopefully I can start doing light curls again.
    Doubt I'll be returning to doing pull ups soon tho, at least not for another 2-3 weeks.
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    Registered User ncsuLuke's Avatar
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    Sounds kind of like golfers elbow. If that's the case get a Theraband Flexbar and look up the exercises to do for golfers elbow and take a break from any lifts that aggravate it for a while. A couple weeks of using the Flexbar and you should be feeling a lot better but just keep using it daily for a while.
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  4. #4
    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    Is it golfers elbow if I'm not experiencing any elbow pain? Thanks
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    Registered User ncsuLuke's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tsp7221 View Post
    Is it golfers elbow if I'm not experiencing any elbow pain? Thanks
    Golfers elbow isn't really pain in the elbow, it's in the forearm near the elbow. It is on the pinky side of your forearm back towards your elbow.
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  6. #6
    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ncsuLuke View Post
    Golfers elbow isn't really pain in the elbow, it's in the forearm near the elbow. It is on the pinky side of your forearm back towards your elbow.
    While it could be golfers' elbow, how can I be sure that it's not forearm tendonitis?
    While the pain is on the pinky side when my forearm is supinated, it's actually about 3 inches down from my elbow though.

    Thanks for the clarification btw. Have you got any sources that claim golfers' elbow symptoms doesn't include elbow pain?
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    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    UPDATE:

    Did a push workout the other day, and could barely bench 70% of 5RM lmao. Felt weak af
    brb looking like a noob benching, chick next to me could probly bench more
    On that last rep my right arm was extended while my left arm (injured side) was still one inch from chest
    OHP strength legit halved

    But for some reason I could still DL and RDL heavy (both with pronated grip)

    Also now that I'm training legs 2x a week instead of once, I am able to feel them every other day (like mild DOMs) even with 8hrs+ sleep

    TIL: Heavy squat and moderate deadlift on the same day not even once

    brb disproportionate physique - arms shrunk but leg and glutes getting bigger
    but

    ppl still dont think i lift though lmao
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  8. #8
    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    Gonna start logging recovery progress with this thread now.

    Gonna hit some unilateral work with my pulls.

    Feeling better today, slow bicep curl eccentrics don't feel as painful anymore, although this was with 4lbs
    but the discomfort seems to have migrated down the forearm (in direction of wrist).
    Will try out some hammer curls today and see how that feels

    Will also do some dips, as they didn't really hurt the last time round. Will also be doing DB and cable lateral raises, although will probably use less weight for left (injured) side.
    I'd normally do these on push days, but since I can't do any curling today (a pull day), I'll substitute these two exercises in. Will also do some extra trap work
    lmao brb looking weird doing shrugs on calf raise machine
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  9. #9
    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    Just finished the bastardized version of a pull workout today

    Walked into the gym and felt kinda good, so was like: "screw this unilateral ****", and proceeded to start with bent over rows using both hands
    But was still kinda cautious/scared, so instead of doing with barbells, went extra light with the short bars instead
    The pronated/overhand grip didn't cause any discomfort at lower weight, but at heavier weights it seemed to inflame the wrist area a little
    But strangely with the supinated/underhand grip, there were no issues, even at higher weights

    Man getting to train the back again feels real good

    Was gonna do one arm seated cable rows, but instead did it with both hands at lighter weights, and the pain was minimal, although there was a bit of discomfort
    The contraction was insane, esp. after having not rowed for 3 weeks

    Lat pull down with overhand grip felt pretty painful, but like the bent over row there was very little pain when switched to underhand grip, although this was done at lighter weights (gotta ease myself back)
    Face pulls felt ok, wrist was slightly uncomfortable at heavier weights, but overall the rear delts and rotator cuff really felt it
    Tried some hammer curls at lighter weights, and there was a very teeny weeny bit of discomfort at the start. Then tightened the grip on the ropes, and was able to curl almost pain free

    Dips felt great - fewer reps per set than normal, but managed an extra set. Lateral raises felt heavy, but gladly there was no pain.

    Gonna start doing more back workout next week
    Definitely noticed how the pain has significantly decreased below the elbow, but seems to have migrated down to near the wrist area
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    Registered User etet1919's Avatar
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    For a long time, I had to work through forearm tendonitis....and I'm glad I did. The key is to avoid what's most painful, so that may entail going lighter, reducing the volume, wearing adjustable elbow wraps, trying some over the counter capsaicin or IcyHot (I wouldn't use it regularly!!!), etc. It can defiantly be painful, but you don't want to stop strengthening the muscles and all surrounding connective tissue. I'm glad you've had some pain relief already...
    "A Winner is a Dreamer Who Never Gives Up" --- Nelson Mandela
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  11. #11
    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by etet1919 View Post
    For a long time, I had to work through forearm tendonitis....and I'm glad I did. The key is to avoid what's most painful, so that may entail going lighter, reducing the volume, wearing adjustable elbow wraps, trying some over the counter capsaicin or IcyHot (I wouldn't use it regularly!!!), etc. It can defiantly be painful, but you don't want to stop strengthening the muscles and all surrounding connective tissue. I'm glad you've had some pain relief already...
    hey thanks for sharing your experience, and for the motivational words.

    The key for me right now is definitely moderation - don't stop working it completely, but also listen to my body and knowing when I shouldn't push it
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    It's treated by loading the eccentric portion only. Collagen is laid randomly (but is only strong in one direction) so the load breaks all the bad fibers and strengthens the good fibers. Blood vessels can form in there too, from the swelling, and they only bring more swelling, but the eccentric load will break these too.
    Use your other arm to assist/produce the concentric exercise and the bad arm to do eccentric. Do the exercise that otherwise would flare it up if done normally.

    Basically the best non-surgical way to heal it. You can give it a hard massage across the grain too but it hurts and doesn't work as well.

    And use ice if you do flare it up, of course.
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  13. #13
    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BenMcLeodNZ View Post
    It's treated by loading the eccentric portion only. Collagen is laid randomly (but is only strong in one direction) so the load breaks all the bad fibers and strengthens the good fibers. Blood vessels can form in there too, from the swelling, and they only bring more swelling, but the eccentric load will break these too.
    Use your other arm to assist/produce the concentric exercise and the bad arm to do eccentric. Do the exercise that otherwise would flare it up if done normally.

    Basically the best non-surgical way to heal it. You can give it a hard massage across the grain too but it hurts and doesn't work as well.

    And use ice if you do flare it up, of course.
    Hey man thanks for the advice. While supinated positions and eccentric portions of curls do indeed feel more uncomfortable, this is the first time I've heard of using them as a way to treat this problem. Will defo try it out!
    The only dips you need are weighted and hummus
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  14. #14
    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    Gonna hit some squats and DLs today, but going heavier on the former.
    Will probably stick to training 4x a week this week instead of 5 like before I got injured, with 2 leg days, a push day, and a back and shoulder day. Will slowly start loading up a bit more on back day, but gonna keep it conservative. Last week was the first time I curled in 3 weeks (although can only do hammers), so hopefully I can keep it up this week (probably going to stick to hammers for now)
    Last week's pressing exercises felt really bad on the wrist and lower forearms, hopefully that's gonna change this week
    The only dips you need are weighted and hummus
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    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    Hit another squat PR today! Ever since the injury made me switch from 5 sessions/week to 4, and having an extra leg day, squats have felt really strong (2PRs in 3 weeks).
    Problem is I recorded my form today, and have got to work on that neck hyperextension problem lmao.

    DL afterwards were also decent. Pronated grip (lol Ive never tried mixed grip) did not cause any pain. Did 5x5 with RPT, and there were no wrists or elbow issues.
    Then followed up with some leg presses, calf raises, and leg curls

    Finished off with some abs, but tbh it felt like **** after 10 sets of squats and DLs lol

    The hammer curls caused a very minor burn in the wrist area (wouldn't consider it a kind of sharp pain though), but only on the heavy weight set
    Also took BenMcLeodNZ 's advice and did some loaded negatives. This felt totally fine with lighter weights (could do like 2x15), but when I started going heavy I was really feeling the burn on the pinky side, and had to do the negatives really slowly (like 5+ seconds), and only with 5-6 of reps (was trying to be cautious).

    Also did wrist curls and wrist extension for the first time ever! I did 2 sets of each, and the wrist curls felt much easier than the wrist extension regardless of weight used. After these 4 sets, I definitely felt a burn 2-3 inches around my wrist area, but this wasn't like a sharp pain feeling though. Went away after 10 mins so that's a relief.

    Gonna take a day off tmr to rest both the forearm and the posterior chain (lmao this is only the second time Ive squatted and DL heavy in one session).
    Also because the weather forecast for nyc tmr isn't very pretty, cold wind+rain+snow aint my kinda weather.
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    Kiwi Battler BenMcLeodNZ's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tsp7221 View Post
    Hey man thanks for the advice. While supinated positions and eccentric portions of curls do indeed feel more uncomfortable, this is the first time I've heard of using them as a way to treat this problem. Will defo try it out!
    No probs man, I explained them pretty poor because most people don't follow advice anyway, but the theory is sound, just don't go too hard, when you inflame tendons you set recovery back.
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    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BenMcLeodNZ View Post
    No probs man, I explained them pretty poor because most people don't follow advice anyway, but the theory is sound, just don't go too hard, when you inflame tendons you set recovery back.
    Yeah defo bro. It doesnt make sense to treat something that was inflamed by inflaming it more lmao really hopes this one doesnt last too long, cant wait to get back to srs upper body work
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    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    Some mixed results from today's push workout:

    Good news: forearm pain has noticeably reduced on the flat bench, ohp, and incline bench. This is great cuz last week's pressing felt really painful, even just from unracking the bar. No pain from dips or db shoulder pressing either!
    Defo getting stronger on the hammer curls today (only used it as a rehab exercise). Did some face pulls as well just to balance out the pressing and to see how forearm reacts. Neither face pull nor the hammers were painful, except they did burn a little (the burn didnt last very long tho)

    Bad news: lifts and strengths has defo gone down. This is probly cuz Im only pressing once a week instead of 2, and bcuz the pain, although reduced, has not gone away completely. Incline was most disappointing in terms of total weight lifted, but flat bench and ohp while still at crappy weights have felt much less painful.

    Probly gon' rest tmr, then get some leg work in on Friday

    I've noticed that since I started getting really disciplined with my sleep 3 nights ago, recovery has accelerated a little. This coupled with not cutting calories has probably really helped. At this rate I think I should be 90% healed within the next 2 weeks (fingers crossed).
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    Kiwi Battler BenMcLeodNZ's Avatar
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    That's good man, don't rush it though it may be 6 weeks or more until it's gone.
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    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by BenMcLeodNZ View Post
    That's good man, don't rush it though it may be 6 weeks or more until it's gone.
    Thanks man...
    damn, 6 more weeks... Im really hoping my gains wont disappear by then
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    Kiwi Battler BenMcLeodNZ's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tsp7221 View Post
    Thanks man...
    damn, 6 more weeks... Im really hoping my gains wont disappear by then
    Yeah the trick is to adapt the exercises to maintain while injured, I can tell you now this aint your last injury!
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    Death Metal Madman StinnerOzz's Avatar
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    Been there. Rest didn't work and neither did PT. I just stuck or switched to exercises I could get away with, and eventually it went away. Took a while, and I had times where it went away and came back, but it beat being on the shelf indefinitely.
    Lifting. Hockey. Headbanging.

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    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by StinnerOzz View Post
    Been there. Rest didn't work and neither did PT. I just stuck or switched to exercises I could get away with, and eventually it went away. Took a while, and I had times where it went away and came back, but it beat being on the shelf indefinitely.
    Hey man thanks for sharing your experience. May I ask how you acquired the injury, and how long it took before you felt your forearm noticeably recovered? Thanks
    The only dips you need are weighted and hummus
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    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    Hit legs today. First attempt at 5x5 with my new 8 rep max. Turned out more like 4,3,4,2,3 lmao not really sure what happened today. RDLs were much more on point though, and can definitely confirm that grip strength on RDL and DL is no longer affected by the forearm problem.
    Felt a little more comfortable, though not by a huge amount, on the hammer curls. The loaded eccentric still burned pretty badly at a new heavier weight, but it soon went away. Definitely can feel it really slowly getting better.
    Also it looks like Ive adapted a little more to wrist curls and extensions since starting them 5 days ago. Wrist curls felt fine, unless I really try to hypersupinate the forearm (pinky literally vertical), then it does pinch the area above the ulna a little.
    Gonna do some pulling tmr, hopefully I could do horizontal pulls the way I did last week, and hope the vertical pulling wont induce pain the way it did last week either.
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    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    Pull day today.
    Was very glad that I could do vertical pulls, specifically lat pull downs, with much less pain! Hopefully this means that I'm one step closer to resuming pull-ups, which was the exercise that screwed me up in the first place. Horizontal pulling was still pretty good. Manage to up the weight a little on face pulls, almost at the weight before the injury.
    Noticed that bent over rows were still pretty uncomfortable with pronated grip (no changes there vs last week), and supinated grip is also uncomfortable only if the grip is too wide (probably because it requires more supination)

    Felt much stronger on both the hammer and slow eccentric - thanks @BenMcLeodNZ for this. Other than that, dips and lateral raises dont feel too different vs last week.

    Really starting to feel stronger since the injury, though it has been slow, and wont be surprise if this modified routine continues for 3-4 more weeks. I even man-up to do one rep on the pull up assist machine - lol it felt pathetic vs what I did only 3 weeks ago, but I'll take it for now.
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    Originally Posted by tsp7221 View Post
    Hey man thanks for sharing your experience. May I ask how you acquired the injury, and how long it took before you felt your forearm noticeably recovered? Thanks
    I can't say for sure. Could have been weight lifting for so many years, could have been hockey, could have been a combination, could have been on the brink of becoming a problem and sent over the edge by something else all together.

    It started badly enough that my 20+pullup sets would stop at 3 because I would lose ability to grip the bar. I'd change my routine and lighten up on bicep work and barbell rows, which were the worst for me. Maybe a year or so later I finally phased out of having pain anytime I did them. I just kept doing Pulldowns (could handle these but not fixed grip pullups) machine rows, and would do bicep work sporadically with pain.

    It's probably not the best idea to work around and through a problem until it's not a problem anymore, but it worked for me and helped get through my darkest lifting days and into some of my best. Every once in a while I'll feel a throb on the inside of my elbow, and I'll massage it to ease it up, but I rarely if EVER am impeded by it or bothered by pain when lifting. It doesn't compare to when it actually bothered me years ago.
    Lifting. Hockey. Headbanging.

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    I suffer the same issues

    I have been battling it for years, so it’s best to let it completely go away. Try taking Aleve for 4 or 5 days in a row, not more...stuff is hard on you. I have noticed that mine is from being a side sleeper, and my wrist roles over during the night, using a cheap carpal tunnel brace has helped.

    Mine still flares up from variable exercises and I try to work around them, a few weeks ago I broke my PR on the bench, and that day I couldn’t carry grocery sacks with my left arm...the strength robbing is so intense.

    Good Luck


    Originally Posted by StinnerOzz View Post
    I can't say for sure. Could have been weight lifting for so many years, could have been hockey, could have been a combination, could have been on the brink of becoming a problem and sent over the edge by something else all together.

    It started badly enough that my 20+pullup sets would stop at 3 because I would lose ability to grip the bar. I'd change my routine and lighten up on bicep work and barbell rows, which were the worst for me. Maybe a year or so later I finally phased out of having pain anytime I did them. I just kept doing Pulldowns (could handle these but not fixed grip pullups) machine rows, and would do bicep work sporadically with pain.

    It's probably not the best idea to work around and through a problem until it's not a problem anymore, but it worked for me and helped get through my darkest lifting days and into some of my best. Every once in a while I'll feel a throb on the inside of my elbow, and I'll massage it to ease it up, but I rarely if EVER am impeded by it or bothered by pain when lifting. It doesn't compare to when it actually bothered me years ago.
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    Registered User tsp7221's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by StinnerOzz View Post
    I can't say for sure. Could have been weight lifting for so many years, could have been hockey, could have been a combination, could have been on the brink of becoming a problem and sent over the edge by something else all together.

    It started badly enough that my 20+pullup sets would stop at 3 because I would lose ability to grip the bar. I'd change my routine and lighten up on bicep work and barbell rows, which were the worst for me. Maybe a year or so later I finally phased out of having pain anytime I did them. I just kept doing Pulldowns (could handle these but not fixed grip pullups) machine rows, and would do bicep work sporadically with pain.

    It's probably not the best idea to work around and through a problem until it's not a problem anymore, but it worked for me and helped get through my darkest lifting days and into some of my best. Every once in a while I'll feel a throb on the inside of my elbow, and I'll massage it to ease it up, but I rarely if EVER am impeded by it or bothered by pain when lifting. It doesn't compare to when it actually bothered me years ago.
    Yeah those pull ups were also hurting me. I was doing like 30 reps every day for a month while doing a very heavy 5 day PPL, and my forearm was eventually like "f#$k this s#!t" and snapped lol
    I really hope I could continue to train like you did until it heals completely.


    Originally Posted by Buickfan View Post
    I have been battling it for years, so it’s best to let it completely go away. Try taking Aleve for 4 or 5 days in a row, not more...stuff is hard on you. I have noticed that mine is from being a side sleeper, and my wrist roles over during the night, using a cheap carpal tunnel brace has helped.

    Mine still flares up from variable exercises and I try to work around them, a few weeks ago I broke my PR on the bench, and that day I couldn’t carry grocery sacks with my left arm...the strength robbing is so intense.

    Good Luck
    Every week I spend 4 days not doing any exercises that require that arm. I have been slowly making healing progress, so I guess that's good.
    I presume right before you hit your bench PR, you were more or less healed? Is the pain from that incident still there? Thanks for sharing, Im glad my wrist doesnt roll over when I sleep lol.
    The only dips you need are weighted and hummus
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