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  • My elbows hurt

    I've been doing reverse pull-ups for a couple of months (start from up on the bar, and lower yourself down). Over the last couple of weeks I've noticed my elbows seeming a little sore. About a week ago it got to the point that I thought I shouldn't keep on with the reverse pull-ups.

    When I started feeling it, I thought perhaps I was jumping up too much for the starting position. But I've been trying to start from a really stable position and it doesn't seem to be helping.

    Anyone have some ideas? What else do I need to be thinking about? Thanks in advance.
    "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
    "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
    If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

    beachrat's new primal journal

  • #2
    Possible tennis/golfers elbow?

    Maybe try some eccentric arm exercises as opposed to concentric. Helps to strengthen the tendons.

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    • #3
      Thanks - any examples? I have some 5# dumbbells or can do some bodyweight stuff. Not sure what exercises would fit into which categories, so further specifics very welcome!
      "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
      "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
      If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

      beachrat's new primal journal

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      • #4
        Very slow reverse curls.

        Yoga helped me a lot.

        Basically anything that strengthens your elbow by extending as opposed to constricting the muscle.

        Also, Elbow Pain Rehab Video - Golfers Elbow - YouTube this video helped quite a bit. It shows a technique called "nerve gliding" that helped relieve the pain very well.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the video link - I never would have thought to go to YouTube, but there were several useful diagnostic clips there too. I don't think golfer's elbow is my diagnosis, based on any of those descriptions. Perhaps it's just overuse in general.

          The reverse biceps curls are a good idea anyway, and one of my friends is always telling me to try yoga. Appreciate the helpful thoughts!
          Last edited by beachrat; 08-29-2011, 02:12 AM.
          "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
          "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
          If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

          beachrat's new primal journal

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          • #6
            outside of elbow is tennis elbow, inside is golfers elbow.

            Too many dips gives me inflammation - golfers elbow. A topical anti inflammatory works wonders on it. - Voltaren Gel.
            Fear of the unknown...They are afraid of new ideas. they are loaded with prejudices, not based upon anything in reality, but based onÖ if something is new, I reject it immediately because itís frightening to me. What they do instead is just stay with the familiar.

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            • #7
              When you do get back into the pull-ups, make sure that you are not going straight down. That is a common mistake and it does put too much strain on your elbows, and eventually your shoulders. Keep you neck straight in line with your body (this is important) and lean back slightly. Your feet should be directly under the bar (not exact, but to give you a rough idea). Most people don't keep their neck straight which weakens the lift (any lift) and they don't have the small lean backwards.
              People too weak to follow their own dreams will always try to discourage others.

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              • #8
                Whoa, thanks Icarian. From that description, you're right: I've been doing it wrong. It's difficult because I'm not really strong enough to hang up there and correct my form very well, but I guess what this means is that I should do fewer the right way instead of trying to do more with consequently poor & damaging form.

                Thanks to everyone for all the advice on golf/tennis elbow. I have a little trouble believing that's my problem since the repetitive movement is not actually repeated that many times or that often. One game of tennis would probably equal a whole month of reverse pull-ups at the rate I do them! But I'll keep it in mind, work on correcting my form, and look into some other ways to build strength without stressing my apparently wussy joints.

                Are dips better to start? Some kind of modified baby dips. Or maybe just curls. I'm determined but alas, as the saying goes, the flesh is weak.
                "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
                "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
                If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

                beachrat's new primal journal

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                • #9
                  Icarian's comment is very good advice--a similar adjustment helped out my elbows tremendously when they were hurting a few months back.

                  Can you progress to regular pullups yet? Negatives are a good step but shouldn't be lingered on for too long, in my opinion. Bodybuilders often use negatives at the end of a workout to add more volume, continuing to work the muscle past the point it can successfully lift the weight. All this is to say, you can do more negative pullups than your body "wants" you to do. Does that make sense?

                  Finally, just know that tendons take longer than muscles to adjust. Slow and steady.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by IcarianVX View Post
                    When you do get back into the pull-ups, make sure that you are not going straight down. That is a common mistake and it does put too much strain on your elbows, and eventually your shoulders. Keep you neck straight in line with your body (this is important) and lean back slightly. Your feet should be directly under the bar (not exact, but to give you a rough idea). Most people don't keep their neck straight which weakens the lift (any lift) and they don't have the small lean backwards.
                    Originally posted by Will Turner View Post
                    Icarian's comment is very good advice--a similar adjustment helped out my elbows tremendously when they were hurting a few months back.

                    Can you progress to regular pullups yet? Negatives are a good step but shouldn't be lingered on for too long, in my opinion. Bodybuilders often use negatives at the end of a workout to add more volume, continuing to work the muscle past the point it can successfully lift the weight. All this is to say, you can do more negative pullups than your body "wants" you to do. Does that make sense?

                    Finally, just know that tendons take longer than muscles to adjust. Slow and steady.
                    +1

                    Are you doing any other exercises? I know some people on here hate any structure to their exercise, but one of the benefits to a good program is working all muscles correctly to avoid imbalances.
                    Lifting Journal

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                    • #11
                      A great alternative to pull ups are body rows, or Australian pull ups. Helpful esp. when you are working towards a pull up but are not fully there yet. I also would use a chair to support my feet while working on making it up to the full pull up (so you can do more than just negatives.)

                      It would be great to incorporate push ups and/or dips for the pushing/pressing motion to balance out the pulling of the pull ups (or rows or Austrailian pull ups).
                      My Before/After Pics
                      Are you new here? Be sure to check these links FIRST, before reading anything on the forum! Succeed & PB 101

                      "I am a work in progress." -Ani DiFranco

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                      • #12
                        Try putting one hand in chin-up position and the other in pull-up position, then switch for the next set. Worked wonders for me.

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                        • #13
                          Wow, thanks so much for all of the great ideas. I should have asked for advice weeks ago. Apex Predator, you are on the right track with your insight. A lot of stuff has been going on in my life, but suffice it to say here that I have been slack and completely unsystematic in my fitness approach. I'm glad and grateful that posting what I thought was a simple elbow-pain question is bringing so many other things to my attention. I used to be a jock in my youth and I thought dropping some weight would automatically motivate me again -- but so far it hasn't. So I recognize that I do need to put some thought into (at least semi-) structuring what I'm doing. (I was even a trainer for soccer, volleyball, and basketball in college, so I know much more than I practice!)

                          So far I can't progress to regular pull-ups, Will Turner, but I get what you're saying about overdoing the negatives. I appreciate the alternatives suggested by FairyRae and Otzi, too. I have a bar in a doorway where I can put a stool or chair to make sure I'm in the right position at a better angle, and for support with the variations. Also, it's the kind of bar that comes right down and I can do dips on the ground with it (that is, if I can do dips - remains to be seen).

                          Having just watched the linked videos (thanks FairyRae) I am contemplating what I can put together to improvise those variations. Offhand I don't have a table low enough to reach from the ground, I don't think, but I just got a BodyBar and if I can't improvise something with that inside I'm sure I can outdoor. I'm also reminded that Al Kavadlo has some great stuff on his site. Not that I need to spend all my time on the intarwebs! But I do appreciate the reminder to balance what I'm doing and all of the other pointers. (Honestly, instant access to videos of people demonstrating exercise -- what a wonderful world we live in.)

                          Seriously, this is such a great forum and many thanks to everyone who's taken a few minutes to give me some much-needed advice (and a gentle kick in the pants). I have a lot to go on for sure.
                          "If man made it, don't eat it." ..Jack LaLanne
                          "It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are.
                          If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong." ..Richard Feynman

                          beachrat's new primal journal

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by beachrat View Post
                            Offhand I don't have a table low enough to reach from the ground, I don't think, but I just got a BodyBar and if I can't improvise something with that inside I'm sure I can outdoor.
                            I've done Australian pull ups on my pull up bar in my doorway, putting a chair in front of me to support my feet (as if it were the ground, so I'm a bit higher up while still at a slant.) You can do this w/ body rows too--check this out. You can also do Australian pull ups and body rows using a towel over a pull up bar.

                            Glad you've got so many ideas and things you are looking forward to trying! I love how inspirational MDA is!!
                            My Before/After Pics
                            Are you new here? Be sure to check these links FIRST, before reading anything on the forum! Succeed & PB 101

                            "I am a work in progress." -Ani DiFranco

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                            • #15
                              You might also try doing them without wrapping your thumb around the bar. This has worked for me, and has helped with hand strength. Also just squeezing a tennis/raquetball while at work or just sitting around.
                              Free your mind, and your Grok will follow!

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