How Do I Stop My Elbow Pain From Tricep Extensions?

August 22, 2022 0 Comments

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In this article I am going to be answering the question “how do I stop my elbow pain from tricep extensions?”. I have done a related article about elbow pain which you can view HERE.

In this article I am going to be specifically examining how to stop elbow pain from tricep extensions. Elbow pain can also be caused by various other movements, this article will deal with tricep extensions.

By the end, you will have all the information you need to reduce and stop your elbow pain from tricep extensions. 

How Do I Stop My Elbow Pain From Tricep Extensions?

There are various way that you can stop your elbow pain from tricep extensions. The most obvious one is to identify which tricep extension exercise is the biggest culprit of your elbow pain.

Stop the movement for a period of time and try other similar exercises which don’t cause you to suffer elbow pain. You could also alter the range of motion or tempo to lessen your elbow pain.

Warming up properly is also crucial, and when it comes to tricep extensions you need to ensure that your elbows are thoroughly warmed up – even to the point of pre exhaustion. 

Doing regular connective tissue work can help drastically to reduce your elbow pain and ensure that tricep extensions are not causing you to suffer too much. Finally, elbow sleeves are a fantastic way of providing extra support to your elbows and reducing elbow pain from this movement.

Vary Tricep Extension Movements

One very good way of preventing overuse injuries on extensions which can cause elbow pain is to rotate tricep extension movements regularly.

If for example, you are performing overhead tricep extensions every week for months, you are more likely to suffer overuse injuries. By having three or four different tricep extension exercises on rotation in your training you are less likely to suffer chronic elbow pain.

In my case, I like to rotate overhead tricep extensions, rolling dumbbell extensions and incline cable tricep extensions using the rope. This allows me to hit the triceps from all the angles and prevent overuse injuries. 

BarBend has a good article outlining many different tricep extension variations. You can view this article here

My favourite tricep extension is the seated rolling dumbbell extension. This is a great exercise for building strong and thick triceps. In addition, it isn’t too stressful on the elbows. A video of this exercise is shown below.

Elbow Sleeves

Elbow sleeves are a must if you are doing a lot of exercises that are stressful on the elbows. They help to keep your elbows warm and provide extra elbow support.

You will feel a lot more stable on your extensions and will experience far less elbow pain. Since I started wearing elbow sleeves I have never experienced any elbow pain. So there is definitely something to be said for investing in a solid pair of elbow sleeves.

I use the Rymora elbow sleeves shown below in every training session. I found them to be great for my needs and have completely eliminated my elbow pain.


Avoid Tricep Extensions That Are Too Stressful

This may seem like common sense, but I commonly see people doing tricep extensions that are causing them lots of elbow pain and they keep them in their program. 

Skullcrushers are one of the biggest culprits. Heavy EZ-bar skullcrushers can wreak havoc on the elbows for many people. So why continue doing them? 

Simply swap them out for an extension variation that is less stressful like rolling dumbbell extensions. Another fantastic exercise that allows you to get the benefits of the tricep extension, is the JM press using a smith machine.

This is an exercise that legendary bench presser Eric Spoto uses in his own training. It puts very little stress on the elbows but allows you to get all the benefits of the tricep extension – it is a hybrid of a tricep extension and bench press.

To see how to execute JM presses properly, read my article where I mention the JM press. 

Warm Up Thoroughly And Pre Exhaust

Warming up thoroughly is always important on every exercise. On the tricep extension it is particularly important to ensure that your elbows are warm. It will help to significantly reduce the chances of elbow pain.

Many people just do one or two warm up sets on their tricep extensions before jumping to their top sets. Ideally, what you should do is almost pre exhaust the muscles on this exercise before you get to your top set.

This will ensure that your elbows are very warm and you are less likely to suffer from elbow injuries. Remember that the aim of the tricep extension is not to do a one rep max. You should treat the exercise as an isolation movement for hypertrophy and working the muscle well. 

Do Connective Tissue Work 

The importance of regular connective tissue work for the elbow cannot be understated. It will help to stop your elbow pain and keep your elbows a lot healthier.

The best way is to do high rep, light weight pushdowns. You can do this with cables but you can also use resistance bands. On off days from the gym simply drape light bands over your door at home and pump out high rep sets of pushdowns 50-100 reps – the key is to perform them fast.

This will be great for the connective tissue and you will find that your elbows will become a lot more resilient in your training. You can also use bands to do high rep tricep extensions from home.

To see the bands that I use every week in my training GO HERE.

Modify Range Of Motion

On some tricep extension variations it can be helpful to modify the range of motion slightly to reduce stress on the elbow.

A good example of this is the overhead tricep extension. If you go too deep at the bottom of the reps it can stretch the triceps too much and cause extra stress on the elbow for some people.

You have to experiment with different ranges of motion for each tricep extension exercise and see what works best for you. See which range of motion puts the least stress on your elbows. 

Final Thoughts

To conclude, in this article I have answered the question “how do I stop my elbow pain from tricep extensions?”. 

There are many ways – the simplest way is to just eliminate extension variations that put too much stress on your elbows and cause you elbow pain. In many cases this will be the skullcrusher.

Secondly, warm up thoroughly on this exercise and almost pre exhaust the muscles first before you get to your top set. The goal is not to go super heavy on tricep extensions, but to work the muscle well and make your triceps grow.

Varying your tricep extension exercises regularly will help to avoid overuse injuries and reduce elbow pain. Wearing elbow sleeves can add extra support to your elbows and eliminate elbow pain for many people.

Finally, regular connective tissue work for the elbows cannot be understated. It is very therapeutic for your elbows and will improve your joint integrity. You will experience a lot less elbow pain from your pressing exercises and extensions in training.

If you have any questions about anything I have touched on, please leave a comment below.

As always, stay safe and enjoy your training. 

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