Elbow Strengthening Exercises for Athletes: Tips and Techniques

Elbow Strengthening Exercises for Athletes: Tips and Techniques

You use your elbow far more than you realize. Every time you bend your arm, pick something up, lift an object, share a hug or even give a handshake, this critical joint goes to work. If it becomes injured, overused, or overextended, therefore, it can significantly inhibit your ability to engage in daily activities or athletic endeavors.

If you participate in sports such as tennis, weightlifting, or golf, you are at an elevated risk of elbow damage. Keeping your elbow strong, or healing it after injury or surgery, can be achieved with the help of certain exercises. Here is a look at some of the tips and techniques that effectively get your elbow ready for anything life throws at it.

Wrist Curls

Bodybuilder doing dumbbell row for back workout on a bench in the fitness gym

If you are experiencing elbow pain, particularly for conditions such as tennis elbow, you may find relief in wrist curls. This exercise targets the muscles and tendons around the elbow. As they get stronger through consistent repetition, these muscles and tendons provide the following benefits:

  • Elbow, wrist and forearm support
  • Alleviation of pain
  • Injury prevention
  • Strengthen grip
  • Improve endurance

How can you complete this exercise?

Wrist curls are typically completed in a seating position and only take a few minutes a day to deliver results. Here are the basic steps to the wrist curl.

  1. Sit on a chair or bench and keep your back straight.
  2. Place your feet flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart.
  3. Place your forearms on the arms of the chair.
  4. Let your wrists hang with palms facing up.
  5. Take a dumbbell of an appropriate weight in each hand.
  6. Gently lift the dumbbells up with your wrists.
  7. Slowly extend your wrists down as far as you comfortably can.
  8. Return to a neutral position.
  9. Repeat as many times as desired.

Get the best results from wrist curls with these tips:

  • Try different variations of this exercise, such as kneeling behind a bench or other flat surface.
  • Choose dumbbells appropriate for your experience level. Beginners may want to start with dumbbells between 3 and 5 pounds.
  • Keep your forearms still during this exercise.
  • Perform this exercise slowly to prevent injury.

Wrist Extensor Flex

Fit young teen girl doing dumbbell exercises sitting on fitness balls. Modern stylish gym in the background.

The wrist extensor flex is a simple exercise similar to wrist curls and intended to strengthen the muscles and tendons within the forearm. By strengthening these areas of the forearm, the wrist extensor flex can stabilize the elbow and provide the following benefits:

  • Improve blood flow to and from the elbow
  • Extend range of motion
  • Increase flexibility in the elbow
  • Alleviate muscle pain

How can you complete this exercise?

Like wrist curls, the wrist extensor flex is completed from a sitting or a kneeling position. They are easy to complete in a few minutes a day, and all they require is a small dumbbell. Here are the steps you can take to complete this exercise:

  • Grab an appropriately-sized dumbbell.
  • Hold it with an overhand grip.
  • Rest your forearm against your thigh, a bench, the arm of a chair or similar.
  • Lower your wrist down toward the ground.
  • Gently reverse the movement by curling your wrist up as far as it will go.
  • Repeat this exercise as many times as desired or instructed.

Get the best results from the wrist extensor flex with these tips:

  • Try different variations of this exercise, such as using a barbell or resting your hand against a bench.
  • Choose dumbbells appropriate for your experience level. Beginners may want to start with dumbbells between 8 and 9 pounds.
  • Keep your forearms still during this exercise.
  • Perform this exercise slowly to prevent injury.

Triceps Dips

man doing bench triceps dips during outdoor cross training workout. Fit fitness sport model training outside using street furniture at an urban park.

If you want to push your elbow muscles harder and achieve even greater strength, you could try triceps dips. These exercises work the triceps muscles in the back of your upper arm. These muscles are key to straightening the elbow and to completing pushing motions. Here are some of the major advantages to this exercise:

  • They balance out the effects of pulling exercises.
  • They strengthen your core as well as your arms and elbows.
  • They improve endurance and prevent injury.

How can you complete this exercise?

All you need for the triceps dip is a chair and a little bit of arm strength. Here is a look at the basic steps to completing this exercise:

  1. Sit on the edge of a chair or bench.
  2. Use your hands to hold the front edge of your seat.
  3. Place your feet on the ground, with your legs extended as much as possible.
  4. Slide your bottom off the edge of your seat while maintaining straight arms.
  5. Support yourself with your hands.
  6. Slowly bend your elbows until your arms are parallel to the ground.
  7. Push yourself back up to a sitting position.
  8. Repeat the desired or instructed number of times.

Get the best results from the triceps dips with these tips:

  • Consider using a variation of this exercise, such as doing the dip with bent knees.
  • Start with a limited range of motion and work up to full movement.
  • Avoid hunching your shoulders.
  • Do not dip to the point where you feel strain in your shoulders.
  • Do not lock your elbows.
  • Keep your back straight.
  • Avoid this exercise if you are experiencing pain in your shoulder or elbows.

Male athlete suffering from elbow pain during training outdoors

If you are ready to get better at your game, overcome an injury or recover from surgery, elbow strengthening exercises could be helpful. Just make sure to complete them under the care of a chiropractic professional like Dr. Roy Nissim. As experienced sports chiropractors, we can help you develop a treatment plan that addresses your needs and helps, not hurts, your athletic goals.

Smiling sports chiropractor, Dr. Roy Nissim, confidently crossing arms in a white polo shirt

Dr. Roy Nissim, DC, MS

Dr. Roy Nissim attended The University of Arizona, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in General Biology with minors in Chemistry and Athletic Coaching. His graduate work was completed at Cleveland Chiropractic College in Los Angeles, California, where he was actively involved in the Sports Council and graduated Cum Laude.

As a board certified chiropractor and certified practitioner in Active Release Techniques® (ART®), Dr. Roy Nissim is dedicated to helping individuals reach an optimum level of health and fitness through personalized treatment specifically tailored to one’s activity level and needs.

By employing ART® in conjunction with traditional chiropractic techniques and exercise rehabilitation, Dr. Roy has successfully treated acute and repetitive strain injuries in half the time of more traditional therapy methods. These results allow an individual to return to their normal activities after only several treatments.

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