Bodybuilding to prevent tennis elbow?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by TMan, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. TMan

    TMan New User

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    First off, let me say that I so know that weightlifters get tennis elbow. Secondly, I do know that weightlifting is not a good idea for those with TE.

    So... I started upper bodybuilding while taking time off of the tennis court. I couldn't hit a serve nor a western forehand anyway. I did nothing in the weight room that hurt my arm. In other words, I worked around it. I returned to the court after about a month and I am serving at about 80 percent with not much difficulty.

    Has anyone else found that heavy work in the weight room has made TE a non-issue? I am starting to feel as if I could switch back to my Prestige if this is true. I am more interested in hearing about actual experiences than general thoughts. Thanks!

    TMan
    Age 34, USTA 4.5 player; asst. club pro
    Donnay Pro One Intl, Head RIP Control 17; 50lbs
     
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  2. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    Personally, I found that weight training using traditional bodybuilding exercises does very little to prevent tennis elbow. The muscles you need to build up to prevent TE are the muscles between the racquet and the elbow (wrist, hands, forearms). You do work them out a little by doing pulling motions like rows, pull downs, and deadlifts, but you also need to do hammer curls, reverse curls, tricep push downs with a rope and added wrist motion, and wrist curls in about 4 different directions, etc. Those exercises are often tough to fit into a bodybuilding split and most of them have minimal benefits for bodybuilding.

    One thing I found beneficial at home for TE is the Thera-Band Flexbar. I use the green one. It's something you can do at home while watching TV or sitting on the couch.
     
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  3. TMan

    TMan New User

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    Ramon - I just got the green one in the male. I haven't had a chance to use it yet. It felt a bit weak though, meaning I maybe should go heavier. Thoughts?
     
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  4. Ramon

    Ramon Hall of Fame

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    The green one is listed at 15 lbs of force to bend it into a U. The blue one is 25 lbs, so that should give you an idea of what to expect. I'm an average sized guy in reasonably good shape, and I lift weights regularly. Most people on this forum like the red one, but I got the green and it was about right for me. I can probably handle the blue, but the green gives me more options. When you have TE or GE (like I had), you can't put everything you have into the exercises. Also, doing more reps with stricter form when you have light resistance is a viable alternative, but if your resistance is too high in the first place you really don't have a good alternative. That being said, if you're a strong guy, maybe the blue one is best for you.
     
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  5. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    For most sports people will tell you that things like curls and triceps exercises are a waste of time and that you should exercise your core and large muscle groups. This is the case with tennis in general also.

    However, when it comes to tennis elbow, I think the opposite is true. If you work your wrist, forearm, biceps, and triceps individually, I think all can benefit in protecting the tendon.

    I think that a muscle imbalance between my triceps and biceps maybe be partly to blame for my TE..I do heavy dumbell curls but really only hit triceps while doing pushups. That's changing now as I've bought an easy bar and I have a weight bench so I'm going to ramp up my triceps work.

    So yes, I do think some exercises that are sometimes looked down on by athletes (ie the "curl jockey") are suited to protecting the arm. I'm sure most cross fit dudes would look at wrist curls as a waste of time also. For tennis they can be quite helpful.
     
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  6. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    What bugs my arm is heavy lifts like bench press. I eliminated that altogether and now do 9 sets of pushups every other day. I still feel little twinges in my elbow, but just after I workout and not during tennis.

    It seems that benchpress can be rough on the shoulder and elbow if you have lifted for a long time, so be careful there. Besides that I can do squats and deadlifts fine.
     
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  7. Devilito

    Devilito Hall of Fame

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    i have the same issue. Heavy weight can lead to bone spurs or tendon issues. Can't do triceps presses dips or anything anymore. Even pushups hurt. I might even have to get surgery because its affecting my tennis. I'd definitely hit the gym and work out and build strength and muscular endurance but not like a bodybuilder or power lifter.
     
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  8. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    You should research the healing time for tendon injuries. 1 month is not long enough. With tennis you are applying the same stress that caused the injury.

    Of course nobody really knows the injury that well or how long it takes to heal. For a new acute injury - the tendon was torn by a stressful event or two over a day or two - for myself I've decided that taking 3 months away from all stressful activity is probably a good idea. For on-going TE............??

    I tore my non-tennis rotator cuff at the gym without pain preceding the injury. Exercises because of the great leverage - muscles attach very close to the joint/pivot but the weight or resistance is handled far from the joint - it is difficult to know how stressful an exercise will be and what muscle-tendon will be loaded. For tennis elbow you would have to identify the injured muscle-tendon and determine what movements cause that to be stressed including isometric holds for support/stabilization. I recall and others have said how hard it sometimes is to hold a cup of coffee when you have TE. That pain results from the leverage.
     
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  9. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Military press is also tough on my shoulders.
     
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