By Jared Evans
This condition is also called lateral epicondylitis, which is a fancy way of saying that you have an angry, inflamed tendon. This onset of pain and aggravation can be influenced by technique, the weight of your racket, play style and intensity of your matches. But aside from that, it is from the muscles in the forearm, specifically those on the back side, having to put up with more stress than they can handle.
Preventing Tennis Elbow
So what can we do about it? Aside from working with one of our tennis coaches on your technique, you can work inside the gym to create a stronger more resilient forearm that can deal with the workload. Forearm extensors, those muscles on the back side of the arm are often neglected and underpowered.
Whether you have been a gym rat, a couch potato or just a tennis enthusiast, the amount of work done by your flexors (the palm side muscles of the forearm) far outweighs those on the back. This creates an imbalance that leads to stress and can eventually cause chronic problems such as tendonitis or tissue tears.
Building Your Forearm Strength
Reverse Wrist Curls– For this exercise use either a short bar or a dumbbell in each hand while sitting on a bench. Grab the bar or dumbbells so the palms face down towards the ground while the forearms are resting against the top of the thigh. Allow the wrists to bend, palms dropping towards the floor slowly, and then raise the back of the hands up as high as possible. When raising the back of the hands this is when you will feel the muscles contract.
Forearm Roller– For this exercise, you need a pipe or bar with a small cord or rope attached at one end, and a weight attached at the other. Hold the arms extended in front of the body and use the motion of your wrists to wrap the rope around the bar to lift the weight higher and higher. Once you reach the top, reverse the motion to lower the weight to the floor. Make sure the rope is wrapping around the side of the bar that is facing away from you, this way you will use the muscles on the back of the forearms to lift the weight.
Watch how you can do this in our gym with a long bar and the squat rack.
Strengthen Your Arms to Avoid Injury
Tennis elbow is an extremely common tennis injury that develops over time and ranges from slight pain while you play to an injury severe enough to keep you on the sidelines. Work with an instructor to modify your play style and examine your racquet, and use these exercises to strengthen your forearm and prevent further injury.
Contact Us to learn more about preventing tennis elbow or to get started with a personal fitness program.