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  1. #1
    Registered User jademonkey's Avatar
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    Is forearm/wrist/elbow pain normal?

    I feel like the muscles can easily recover and handle more, but the soft tissue like tendons flare up, especially around inner elbow/forearm area. It's mainly my left arm.

    It tends to feel better after deload but gets progressively worse over a few weeks until it tells me I better deload again. It's how I know when to deload. Today doing assisted one arm pull ups it was bad so I just decided to start a deload right there.

    Is it normal for tendons and joints to feel worse and worse until deload, or is it more likely that there is too much of a problem for a week of deloading to fix? Like would a 2 week deload be better? A whole block of only isolations for chest and back? Maybe switch to only high reps for a couple months?
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  2. #2
    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    If it's general soreness, that could just be normal. If it's a specific pain you can identify, I'd look for a cause.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    If it's tendonitis it will need rest.
    Lay off anything that irritates it's.
    Im only speculating though as I'm not a doctor.
    The other thing to do is examine what your doing and how your doing it when you get irritated and it hurts.
    So for example your pull ups you might try a parallel grip instead of a straight bar or just turn your body side ways.
    It may not work on an assisted machine.
    Another thing is doing it one arm your taking all the stress/weight on one arm and that could be the issue.
    I personally would lay off the things that hurt it for at least a month or more.
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    Registered User tblodg15's Avatar
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    Not normal. Occasional flare ups yes but not something routine that requires frequent deloads.
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  5. #5
    Registered User jademonkey's Avatar
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    Ok sounds like I need to focus on this.

    I'll try high rep, slow eccentrics for a while, maybe switch one day of barbell bench for dumbbells also and stick to 2 arm pull ups slow eccentric for a while and see how it comes along. I've heard slow eccentrics help strengthen tendons but it's hard to sift through internet research.
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    Registered User tblodg15's Avatar
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    If this is pain on the inside of the elbow, as in golfers elbow then I would suggest using straps on most of your pulling exercises. I use Cobra grips on most pulling exercises purely as a precautionary measure because so many guys have these flare ups. I had one bout with tennis elbow after doing skull crushers with a straight barbell and after dropping that exercise forever it has never came back. And never had the golfers elbow *knocks on wood* but that’s why I am being proactive with the straps.

    Good luck!
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  7. #7
    Bored drudixon's Avatar
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    I let my tendinitis become tendonosis. Terrible mistake.

    First figure out which exercises trigger it. In my case low bar squats. I switched to high bar and that helped. More importantly, I found a good massage therapist who got rid of knots in my triceps and later did graston technique on my biceps. Hurt like hell and left bruising but it cured the problem over night.

    Since I'm low bar squatting again, the pain is back but very mild by comparison. On posterior day I do 2x 20 incline dumbell curls very slow with a wide finish. Then I do 2x20 across the chest curls very slow. I find this helps get blood into the otherwise starved joints. I really don't mind anymore.
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  8. #8
    Registered User Bassackwards's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by drudixon View Post
    I let my tendinitis become tendonosis. Terrible mistake.

    First figure out which exercises trigger it.
    i had this issue with my elbow/forearm from doing weighted pull ups. i figured i would just do regular pull ups instead and do light weight/high reps and i tried to work through the pain the first week. i ended up making it worse and had to lay off the gym for a month.

    best advice for OP is to take it easy and listen to your body. hopefully it'll heal on its own after a week of rest and ice.
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  9. #9
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    Check with doctor first. Preferably a doctor with background in treating athletes.

    If all is good, maybe do some prehabs.

    Reverse standing wrist curls with empty bar for high reps are a great way to strengthen this weak link.
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  10. #10
    Registered User jademonkey's Avatar
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    Not ready to resort to straps yet. I think it's mainly from bench press (though I don't know why), but does flare up with single arm pulling. Oddly, heavy deadlifts don't bother it at all. It's only when I bend and straighten my arm.

    I checked my log and realized I've neglected wrist curls for almost a month. I put them in initially several months ago when I first got forearm pain from benching. I'm adding them back in but I'm gonna do only the eccentric part.

    Yeah low bar squats do bother it a tiny bit, but I don't think they are a major cause and low bar feels so much better so I'll keep that for now.
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  11. #11
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    Either bad form or overtraining. Try to do less stuff that hits your forearms. I was doing 5x5 for awhile and then one day my arms hurt and i cut to 3x5 and it was fine for awhile and now i just switched to 2x3. Heavy weights can hurt you.
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    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    I feel like the muscles can easily recover and handle more, but the soft tissue like tendons flare up, especially around inner elbow/forearm area. It's mainly my left arm.

    It tends to feel better after deload but gets progressively worse over a few weeks until it tells me I better deload again. It's how I know when to deload. Today doing assisted one arm pull ups it was bad so I just decided to start a deload right there.

    Is it normal for tendons and joints to feel worse and worse until deload, or is it more likely that there is too much of a problem for a week of deloading to fix? Like would a 2 week deload be better? A whole block of only isolations for chest and back? Maybe switch to only high reps for a couple months?
    If you mean sort of like golfers elbow then yah I hear you... Try using straps, do before and after foam roller + on off days too. It was pretty bad at one point when I started to curl 50lb dumbbells so I had to dial down. I had biceps and triceps tendonitis... It wasn't bad form or overtraining.My tendons just couldn't handle the stress. I understood that I am not there and likely won't be. I talked to a number of sport doctors and physicians and basically I will never be able to curl 50s again and likely my tendons will never grow due to age and my own body natural composition.
    There are some stretch exercises that involve going from neck, back, shoulders all the way down to the wrist as it is all connected. You can't just massage the area as it is useless.

    Based on the research, you can try something like this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00067E4YU/

    Again, everyone is different. For some, it could be a small fix in their form or more rest or some stretching and they are good to go. For others it is not.
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  13. #13
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    I got wrist pain from curling my wrist to "cheat" reps as I got tired in a set - I had no idea I was doing it until I read someone else say they had this problem... watched myself really closely as I fatigued and there is was!

    I also find that when pulling such as pullups/rowing etc it helps to modify my grip - imagine you are really posh and about to have a cup of tea with the Queen. Stick your pinkies out so you are essentially gripping with the first 3 fingers and thumb only - it takes some strain off your forearm flexors and reduces aching. Jeff Cavalier showed this in a video - he wrapped a band on the bar to go under the pinky to elevate it. This actually worked well.

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  14. #14
    Registered User jademonkey's Avatar
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    Dammit. Thought it was going away after a couple weeks deload and switching my pushing to high rep slow eccentrics, but it came back pretty much as soon as I ramped up volume again. Cant tell if its the low bar squats, the one arm pull ups, or both causing it now. Coincidentally or not, these are the only 2 exercises I do thumbless.

    The one arm assisted pull ups I've definitely been letting form slip to try and get overall strength up (and to try and catch my left arm up with my right). Gave these one last shot today and the pain was pretty bad after only 2 sets, so I'll ditch them and do all my pulling with slow eccentrics until the end of the year. Not ready to add straps yet or ever probably, so I have to eventually get my tendons up to par.

    As for squats, it might be worth alternating low bar with high bar or front squats. I don't want to ditch low bar - they feel so much more comfortable and less awkward, plus my main goal is adding weight to the bar. My wrists look pretty straight from the side, but maybe the wide grip is causing them to bend inward a bit.

    Idk, grip looks OK to me

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    Registered User BromanianDL's Avatar
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    Here is a short article talking about elbow pain from lifting.

    https://www.aworkoutroutine.com/elbow-pain/

    Golfers elbow takes a LONG time to heal. I understand not wanting to use straps, but it may be a better option than giving up on pull ups--it's not like you are doing pull ups for grip training. The squat grip looks good to me.
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  16. #16
    Bored drudixon's Avatar
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    Read this article. Explains elbow problems from squats very well. Exactly my problem, poor thoracic extension.

    https://startingstrength.com/trainin...n-in-the-squat
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    Bored drudixon's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    Dammit. Thought it was going away after a couple weeks deload and switching my pushing to high rep slow eccentrics, but it came back pretty much as soon as I ramped up volume again. Cant tell if its the low bar squats, the one arm pull ups, or both causing it now. Coincidentally or not, these are the only 2 exercises I do thumbless.

    The one arm assisted pull ups I've definitely been letting form slip to try and get overall strength up (and to try and catch my left arm up with my right). Gave these one last shot today and the pain was pretty bad after only 2 sets, so I'll ditch them and do all my pulling with slow eccentrics until the end of the year. Not ready to add straps yet or ever probably, so I have to eventually get my tendons up to par.

    As for squats, it might be worth alternating low bar with high bar or front squats. I don't want to ditch low bar - they feel so much more comfortable and less awkward, plus my main goal is adding weight to the bar. My wrists look pretty straight from the side, but maybe the wide grip is causing them to bend inward a bit.

    Idk, grip looks OK to me

    You pushed into the bar on ascent. Watch elbows move independently from spine. You also collapse just a little bit. Your shirt is smooth throughout because scaps aren't packed hard enough. Check out link I posted and Google everything you can about thoracic extension and low bar squat.
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  18. #18
    Squats and Milk Bando's Avatar
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    I've struggled with elbow pain for years, just got over a bad bout that kept me out of the gym more than I cared for. Was recommended something called an "Arm Aid" but I couldn't stomach the $80+ price tag. Apparently the thing does wonders so I reviewed what it does and replicated it. I got a set of adjustable tension hand gripper things:



    I keep one in the car and do a couple dozen grips in different positions on my commute, yes it hurts. At home I do grips and while squeezed all the way rub a golf ball on the painful areas to break up the scar tissue, hurts worse. It's been working for me, doing pullups and wide grip lat pulls again with like a $7 investment.

    Originally Posted by jademonkey View Post
    I checked my log and realized I've neglected wrist curls for almost a month. I put them in initially several months ago when I first got forearm pain from benching. I'm adding them back in but I'm gonna do only the eccentric part.
    On the right track with these.
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