I developed inner elbow pain while doing pull-ups using a bar wedged in a door frame.
But HOW do pull-ups cause golfer’s elbow and what’s a simple fix?
The discomfort came on gradually over a period of weeks, as I did a pull-up routine once a week.
It stealthily got worse and worse over time, until one day I realized, “Hey, I think I have golfer’s elbow – tendonitis – and I better stop doing pull-ups and figure out how to cure this problem.”
Why would pull-ups cause golfer’s elbow?
“Pull-ups can lead to medial epicondylitis if you have incorrect form due to poor shoulder mobility,” says Dr. Logan Thomas, a physical therapist in Muncie, IN.
He continues, “If you don’t have the shoulder mobility required to perform the exercise, your body will still try and get it done by overstressing the elbow joint.
“You can identify poor shoulder mobility when doing overhanded pull-ups, because your elbows will come out in front of you, and your body will move back away from the bar.
“These are the people who can’t move straight up and down. They move in an arc.”
Two Exercises to Treat Your Golfer’s Elbow
First of all, you need to temporarily give up pull-ups and chin-ups. Stay away from this exercise at all costs.
Instead, work on getting the injured tendon in your elbow back in the game.
If pull-ups really aggravate your elbow to the point where you’ve stopped doing them, you will likely need to avoid pull-ups for a very long time.
Tendons take their sweet ‘ol time with getting better, unlike muscle strains that can be recovered in only days.
Do not take pain drugs! You need to know what activities and related tension bring on the pain so that you can make accommodations.
The two exercises that successfully treated my golfer’s elbow are the deadlift and the farmer’s walk. However, I performed these in a very specific, regimented way.
The detailed yet easy-to-understand guidelines on how I cured my golfer’s elbow with these two exercises.
Dr. Thomas is a physical therapist, and strength and conditioning coach who is passionate about patient education. He believes the most important and often overlooked step in the process to becoming pain-free is understanding the anatomy and biomechanics of your body.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.