What You Did

Nothing in particular. One or both elbows just started hurting. You might feel a dull, aching pain at rest or sharp, acute pain when your elbow touches something. Pain may occur during pulling or pushing movements. Imbalance in the muscles that cross the elbow joint causing forces to be distributed unevenly.

The Treatment

  • Avoid anything that hurts. You may still be able to press and pull if you change from a straight bar to a Swiss bar (neutral grip) or EZ-curl bar. You can also change your hand position, such as doing pullups with wrists angled at 45 degrees.

  • Do rotational traction. Attach an exercise band to something sturdy at waist height. Loop the band over itself, creating a slip knot. Place your hand through the knot, cinch it up, and row your hand to your side, alternating palm up and palm down with each rep. Do 3–4 sets of 20 reps, resting 30 seconds.

  • Do rotational tension. Loop a rubber band around your pinkie. Twist it one way so you create another loop, and wrap that around your ring finger. Twist the opposite way and wrap your middle finger. Continue alternating until your thumb is wrapped. Now bend your elbow 90 degrees and splay your fingers against the resistance. Twist your wrist so your palm faces up and then twist so it faces down. Perform the same sets and reps as above.



Make sure all your exercises are done through a full range of motion to prevent muscle imbalances. To that end, balance the volume of pulling and pushing movements you do as well. Work to improve the strength of your upper back and rotator cuff, which affect the way muscles act on the elbow joints.