I have tennis elbow and find it difficult to perform certain exercises, particularly for chest and shoulder training. Usually it’s movements in which I’m pressing the bar, either above my head or off my chest.
Reminds me of the old Henny Youngman joke: The patient says, “Doctor, it hurts when I do this.” “Then don’t do that!” In other words, avoid pressing movements.
But seriously folks… tennis elbow, or any kind of joint problems, is no joke. I and most of my friends have suffered various joint problems over the years and so I can empathize with your particular situation.
While it’s true that you should avoid the exercises that aggravate your elbow, you may find that there are so many that do your upper body exercise choices are severely limited. In this case I have a few recommendations.
For one, get yourself a good therapeutic elbow wrap. Joint compression can help control movement and keep swelling down. In addition, make sure to warm up all of your joints thoroughly before putting any real stress on them. Likewise, you can reduce inflammation or swelling with an ice compress after exercise.
Finally, figure out which exercises you can perform with minimal discomfort and focus on those. I would also try to rotate exercises frequently – as in from workout to workout. Most joint pain is due to repetitive motion. By changing up your exercises you can help alleviate this problem and save your joints undue wear and tear.
By taking a sensible approach to training and keeping the need to protect yourself front and center in your mind you can go a long way toward reducing the impact your tennis elbow has on your level of physical activity.