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  • Writer's pictureNicholas Licameli

Elbow Pain? Try This Simple Pull Up Tweak

Two concepts that I’ve learned over the years are that pain is multifactorial and is rarely purely due to structural pathology AND proper form appears to be a spectrum rather than an exact target. If you have pain, exercise technique is one of many factors that can be modified to avoid the pain response while maintaining a training effect. We aren’t using exercise technique to improve safety or prevent injury, but rather we are using it to change the way the force is being distributed throughout our bodies. . . Today we’re talking about how to make a small change to exercise technique to reduce elbow pain during the pull-up. Keep in mind that just because I am suggesting a change in form doesn’t mean that it is bad. In fact, it’s not good OR bad, it’s just different and different is exactly what we want especially when dealing with overuse-type injuries. . Next time you perform a pull-up, take a look at the amount of bending (flexion) that occurs at the elbow vs the amount of movement at the shoulder as well as the position of your arms relative to your body. If you reach near full elbow flexion and notice that your arms are still in front of your body, chances are you are curling yourself up to the bar, rather than pulling yourself up with your lats. This puts majority of the responsibility on the small joints and soft tissues of the elbow rather than the larger and more powerful muscles of the shoulders and back. This isn’t necessarily bad, but if you are having elbow pain, changing it up can help. . . If you do have elbow pain, be sure to give this a shot! .

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