Elbows are very important joints and we tend to forget them until there is something wrong with them or we experience pain. Once we have that kind of pain, our day-to-day life activities get restricted and we cannot get back to it until this is fixed.

To strengthen an elbow that has pain, firstly rest is needed for its recovery. Then tricep exercises should be performed with progressive overload after doing proper warmup exercises.

Elbow Strengthening Exercises For Lifting Pain

Why do you get elbow pain?

Elbow pain can occur due to overuse of the joint while doing day-to-day work or when doing tricep workouts for a long time. This can also happen when lifting heavy weights for which the joint is not sufficiently strengthened or stretched.

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There are many reasons for elbow pain. However, there are mainly only a couple of reasons for which you may have to deal with painful elbows.

Elbow joint is more resilient than many other joints in your body. It can help you to pick up a tremendous load and still doesn’t complain.

However, when you subject them to heavy lifting without proper conditioning, they may start to develop pain, which may be hard to get rid of.

Muscles and bones related to the elbows

The structure of the elbow joint is more like a hinge joint and is made up of different bones and muscles.

Elbow joint bones and muscles

The main bones that are present in the elbow joint are the end of the humerus, ulna head, and radius head.

The humerus is the bone of the upper arm whereas the ulna and the radius are the bones of the forearm.

Their meeting point is the elbow joint which not only has the bones but also has a lot of important muscles that together function with the bones to give you an effortless movement.

These muscles are joined with the bones with the help of tendons.

The pain that you experience is mainly due to the inflammation of these tendons, especially in the triceps.

Tricep muscles

Triceps

There are three muscles that make up the triceps

  • Long head
  • Short head/lateral head
  • Medial head

All three muscles are attached to the elbow joint using tendons.

When you are folding or relaxing the elbow joint, the triceps are the main group of muscles that comes into play, especially the long head and the medial head.

Also, they work as a supporting group of muscles when you do any kind of chest exercise like a chest press.

When you excessively load these tendons without letting them recover, you will start experiencing elbow pain.

Precautions to take for elbow pain

No matter how careful you are elbow pains can happen. Maybe you picked up more load than you are supposed to, or you may have picked up the load in a haste or unmindfully.

However, no matter the reason, now you have elbow pain. First and foremost, before trying to strengthen your elbow, first, try to follow the below precautions:

1. Use Elbow Guard/Brace

Elbow guards are one of the safest ways to support your elbow when they are recovering. It will provide external pressure to support the joint and don’t let the elbow joint move too much.

This will aid you if you have to lift up things in case this is unavoidable.

2. Contraction relaxation exercises for triceps

This is one of the easiest exercises to do for the triceps that will also help in its healing. Also, it will strengthen your elbow joint by strengthening the triceps and the associated tendons.

Steps

  • Keep your elbow joint straight.
  • Hold the smiley ball in your palm.
  • Now squeeze the smiley ball.
  • Release the pressure squeezing pressure on the smiley ball.
  • Do this 2o rounds, 3 sets for each arm.

Doing this exercise will activate the tendons and the triceps.

3. Do any press-down movement with a nominal weight

If you are doing any press-down movements use a nominal weight. The weight should be such that you can do 30-40 reps of press down with that weight.

Other than using weight, you can also use thera band or resistance band. However, here also, the key is to use such a resistance that you can do 30-40 reps.

This is a kind of static warmup and will warm up the triceps properly. This will make also get the blood flowing into them properly and will aid in faster recovery.

Once you have warmed up your triceps sufficiently, you can increase the weight and do these pressing down movements and other elbow strengthening exercises.

However, there are certain exercises that you should avoid when doing tricep exercises when you have this kind of elbow pain.

Exercises to Avoid when having an elbow pain

When you have elbow pain, avoid the following exercises, until you have healed properly…

  • Skull crusher
  • Dumbbell lying extension
  • Single overhead extension

Once you have recovered from your elbow pain, you can resume doing these exercises.

However, if certain exercises may be detrimental to your already painful elbows, there are some exercises that you can still do…

We have segregated the list of exercises that you can do at the gym and at home. If you are a gym goer then you can use the machines that are at your disposal.

Tricep exercises for the gym

Rope Press-down

For this, you would need a cable machine. These are large machines that have a rope that you can pull down.

This rope is attached to the weight which sits at the bottom of the machine. You can increase or decrease the weight according to your strength level.

Steps

  • Hold the rope ends with both hands.
  • Keep your chest up, and neutral spine.
  • Stand a bit back from the rope.
  • Keep your shoulders and the rest of the upper body fixed.
  • Now using your triceps muscles start pulling the rope down until your elbows are straight.
  • Now slowly return the rope and your arms to the starting position.
  • Do this for 20 reps, 3 sets

Precaution: Don’t release the rope too quickly on your way back up. This can put unnecessary strain on your elbow joint.

Pulley Press down

For this, you will again use the cable machine as you have used in the exercise above. Steps
  • Hold the cable handles with both hands.
  • Push your hip backward while pulling the cable straight down.
  • Your elbows should remain close to your body.
  • When releasing, let the cable move starting up and you will be pushing the cable down back using your shoulder and your elbows.
  • Do this for 20 counts, 3 sets.

Other than doing these exercises, you can combine them with the below home workout routine for strengthening your triceps.

Home tricep and elbow strengthening routine

In this workout routine, we will focus on some basic movements that will help you to strengthen and develop your triceps without injuring them further.

Pushup

This is one of the most effective exercises to do at home while training your triceps.

Steps

  • Lie down on your abs with your legs stretched straight backward.
  • Place the palms of both of your hands beside your chest.
  • Tighten your core and engage your glutes.
  • Now come up as up exhale, until your elbows are slightly bent.
  • Inhale while going down.
  • Do this for 20 counts, 3 sets.

If you cannot do a full push-up, you can always do a half push-up or a more beginner version of the push-up.

Variation of full push-ups for absolute beginners

This is a version of the push-up for absolute beginners. Beginners don’t have the strength yet to do a full push-up (like me). Also, if you are like me, you may also find it challenging to do a half push-up as well.

So, what is the solution?

You can do a variation of push up, that is picking up the body from the ground step by step…

Steps

  • Lie down on your abs with legs stretched straight backward.
  • Place the palms of your hand on the side of your chest.
  • Exhale and lift the upper part of your body.
  • Then lift your hip.
  • Now straighten your knees by lifting them off the ground. Your toes remain on the ground.
  • Inhale and bend your knees until they touch the ground.
  • Now release your hip until it touches the ground.
  • Now release your upper body until it touches the ground.
  • Do this 20 times, 3 sets

This will reap similar benefits for your triceps as with the full push-up. Once you can do 40 rounds without stopping, move on to half push-ups and then to full push-ups.

Close Grip Push up

Steps

  • Now lie down on your abs.
  • Your palms will be next to your chest but as close as possible.
  • Your elbows should be tucked in and pressed to your body.
  • Now engage your core and glutes and with an exhale bring your body up.
  • Inhale and go down.
  • Do this for 20 counts, 3 sets.

This kind of push-up will be difficult for beginners. You can do the above step-by-step variation of push-ups with a close grip.

Back Push Up

In this push-up, your back will be facing the ground. You can do this in two ways. Firstly you can do it on the bench as a form of bench dips, or you can do this with your body in a tabletop position.

I’ll be providing you with the steps of back push-ups in the tabletop position.

Steps

  • Lie down on the ground on your back.
  • Fold your knees and keep the feet near your glutes.
  • Place your hands at the side of your ears.
  • Engage your core and glutes.
  • With the help of your triceps and glutes, bring your body up till your elbows are straight.
  • Exhale and relax your hip to the ground.
  • Do this for 20 counts, 3 sets.

Close Grip Wall Push up

This is another variation of push up that you can do on the wall. This is a beginner-friendly exercise and will help those who cannot do a close grip push-up on the floor.

Steps

  • Stand with your hand straight on the wall at chest level and close to your body.
  • Now keeping the elbows tucked in, bend your elbows and bring your body to the wall.
  • Straighten your elbows while simultaneously bringing your body up.
  • Inhale while going down and exhale while going up.
  • Do this for 20 counts, 3 sets.

Both Hand Overhead Extension With Loop Band (Resistance band)

This is a very targeted exercise for your triceps. However, it is not a compound movement like the pushups but is very effective. You can also progressively overload as you get comfortable with the resistance that you are using. Steps
  • Stand with one leg planted at the back.
  • Use that foot to hold the resistance band so that it doesn’t move.
  • Now hold the resistance band with both your hands and from behind your head.
  • Now straighten your elbows until they are straight while pulling the resistance band.
  • Now relax your elbows and go back to the starting position.
  • Do this for 20 counts, 3 sets.

Conclusion

Although there can be a lot of reasons for having elbow pain, however, mostly the cause is overloading or overuse.

If you get that kind of pain, it is better to take a break and give your elbows some rest. Once the pain subsides, work towards strengthening your elbow joint by focusing on strengthening your triceps.

If you don’t know which exercises to do or what routine to follow, use the routine that we have provided in the above sections.

Elbow Stretching And Strengthening For Elbow Pain
Madhusree Basu

Madhusree Basu

Author, Admin

Blogger and a fitness enthusiast. She loves running and Yoga and everything in between. She started running to manage her weight and to eat to her heart’s content. A true foodie at heart she shares whatever knowledge she has gained throughout the years about weight management and fitness.

Sourav Sarkar

Sourav Sarkar

Reviewer, Certified Fitness Instructor

Certified fitness trainer and an ex-professional bodybuilder, he has trained more than 500 fitness enthusiasts and has more than 15 years of on-the-job experience.