Pain in the inner elbow... suggestions for alternatives.

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Obsidian
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Pain in the inner elbow... suggestions for alternatives.

Post by Obsidian » Thu Jan 11, 2007 10:52 am

Hi guys, I have had a sore inner elbow for the last year and a half almost. It's definitely aggravated by doing curls, or pretty much anything to do with the biceps. I have been to the doctors, and an ultrasound came back negative. Yet the pain is enough to wake me at night. I suspect either tendonitis or the beginnings of osteoarthritis (I'm 35).

Either way, doing curls the other day, I could noticeably hear a grinding and popping from the other side of my elbow! Jeez. Now, there's no pain associated with this, so I'm not overly worried about it, but I DO want to change my routines in order to get back into shape. I definitely don't want to be in pain the rest of my life, so instead of working through the pain, I have decided to cool it, and take up to 6 months off if I need to.

Now, this is not something I relish doing. I have worked out hard for the last 2 years of my life, and before that just kept in shape for 4 years, using resistance training. I'm 230 pounds and have a body fat of something like 21%, and I would like to maintain this. But, I'm worried I won't be able to. I eat whatever I like, and drink alcohol like a fish, so I'm worried as well that my lifestyle over the next 6 months will catch up with me.

What can I do to alleviate the symptoms, yet still keep in top shape? While still making gains? I can work my legs no problems, but pretty much anything to do with upper-body "pulling" excercises, exacerbates the pain in the inner elbow. Rows, pulldowns, curls all result in inflammation... What I'm mainly worried about is symmetry. If I ignore those body parts, I'll look pretty funny, I suppose (basically I'll be neglecting the back, rear delts, and biceps).

So any suggestions on working these body parts while rehabilitating? The sports doctor I saw, told me to take 2 months off, which I didn't bother doing, and he never really gave a diagnosis either... Now I am doing so, before any damage is permanently done. So again, suggestions? Anyone else go through this and have a success story? Need some guidance and support! Heh. Thanks in advance, and let me know if you need further input, to help me out.

I just feel that working out half my body is a waste of time, and am not very motivated to do so...

Thanks.

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Post by Matt Z » Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:24 pm

Your right to take some time off, but by all means stay active durring your layoff. Continue training your legs and get plenty of cardio, whether it's running, hiking, bicycling, skiing or just cardio machines at the gym.

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Post by Matt Z » Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:31 pm

Also, when you do return to upper body traing, you may want to stay away from barbell curls, especially the straight-bar kind, since these can be a little rough on the wrists and forearms for some people.

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Post by Matt Z » Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:36 pm

PS.) Just out of curriosity, how often do you train back and biceps, and how many sets/reps do you perform per workout? I ask because often injurys like the one you're describing are related to overtraining.

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Post by Obsidian » Thu Jan 11, 2007 1:08 pm

Matt Z wrote:PS.) Just out of curriosity, how often do you train back and biceps, and how many sets/reps do you perform per workout? I ask because often injurys like the one you're describing are related to overtraining.
Well, I believe the initial injury was caused due to a repetitive strain from work. However, when the injury did first appear, I was training Bi's about 3 times a week. Preacher curls only. 3 sets of 12 reps.

Now, however, over the last year, I've ramped it up a bit. Back and biceps I train about twice a week. I use the abcXabc routine. Let's say A is back and chest, C is shoulders and arms. I start with a warm-up set at 50% of my set 2 weight. Set 1: I'm doing max weight till failure at around 12-15 reps, while the second set is set 1 weight +5 - 10%.

The above I was doing for a while, until the pain started getting acute. Now however, over the last little while, I have been doing 3 sets of curls with dumb bells, 15 pounds, till failure (around 45-50 reps). 1st set is a warm-up of 15 with a 10 lbs. of weight. This may be the problem creating the clicking and grinding, but it alleviates the pain in the inner elbow. Now though with the two problems, I don't have many options available to me, except to keep off the weights.

I plan on continuing using Cardio, especially Yourself! Fitness for core work, but I'm concerned now about losing mass. It's rather disconcerting. Seems like everytime I get really close to my goals, I hit a snag such as injury or somesuch. Damn.

As you can see, I don't think I have overtrained, especially, since I haven't targeted my Bi's with heavy weights for a while... Still... What do you think?

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Post by Matt Z » Thu Jan 11, 2007 1:45 pm

Hmmm ... Even though you bicep workouts are short, you may still be overtraining. This is because you training biceps twice a week directly, and twice more indirectly durring your back workout. Also, on you first workout of the week your training back just one day after training biceps (if I'm reading it correctly).

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Post by Matt Z » Thu Jan 11, 2007 2:07 pm

You may eventually want to try something like Push/Pull/Legs/Rest/Push/Pull/Legs. That way you'll still be training 6 days a week. However, you'll be training back and biceps together, so you'll have about twice as long to recover between workouts.

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Post by Matt Z » Thu Jan 11, 2007 2:08 pm

PS.) With this type of split I'd highly recomend doing deadlifts on your leg day, not your pull day, which is really an upper body pull day. Likewise your push day is all upper body.

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Post by Obsidian » Thu Jan 11, 2007 2:46 pm

Matt Z wrote:Hmmm ... Even though you bicep workouts are short, you may still be overtraining. This is because you training biceps twice a week directly, and twice more indirectly durring your back workout. Also, on you first workout of the week your training back just one day after training biceps (if I'm reading it correctly).
Well, the X represents a day off, so, there's at least a day off between the two- abcXabcXabcX etc. I agree that most of my pulls involve the bicep as a stabilizer or secondary group worked, and this is when my routine won't allow a proper time to recover.

ANY pulls I do, almost always directly or indirectly target the biceps. Thing is, how do you train biceps without pulling?

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Post by Ryan A » Thu Jan 11, 2007 3:14 pm

I would suggest cutting your volume in half. If that does not work, I suggest eliminating all your upper body work for a while and just focusing on legs. Thing is, squats and deadlifts still use the biceps and I think squats more than deadlifts can put a strain on your elbow. I would try squatting with a wider grip if this is the case. If that doesnt work, you may need to take time off from lifting and seriously consider some lifestyle changes to help stay in shape.

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Post by Obsidian » Thu Jan 11, 2007 5:22 pm

Ryan A wrote:I would suggest cutting your volume in half.
Volume as in total weight lifted in any exercise, cut in half? So if my Lat Pulldown is at 220, instead cut it back to 110? If this is the case, how many reps should I be aiming for? To failure, or just the usual 15 per set? Will I need a warm-up in these cases?

Legs, I can always work out on the Leg Press, so I can eliminate any arms from those exercises...

Thanks so far guys!

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Post by Ironman » Thu Jan 11, 2007 8:29 pm

No, same weight, but half as many sets.

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Post by Ryan A » Fri Jan 12, 2007 3:54 am

Yes half as many sets, maybe drop the intensity a little but can leave it where it is at for the most part. I was thinking along the lines of cutting the number of days you lift in half so you are only lifting 3 days per week and I would stop doing any exercise that causes immediate pain and take direct bicep work really light. Be careful of upper back exercises that strain it as well.

I would probably cut back to 3-4 days per week with all upper body stuff around 80% of whatever youve been doing as my first step with the exclusion of anything that hurts.

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Post by Matt Z » Fri Jan 12, 2007 10:24 am

I agree, training 3-4 days a week is plenty, and you can always do some form of cardio on your days off, whether it's in the gym or outdoors.

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Post by Matt Z » Fri Jan 12, 2007 10:28 am

If you decide to take some time off from upper-body training (probably a good idea), you can just train legs 2-3 days a week (different workouts). For example, you could do Squats and Deadlifts one day and Front Squats and SL Deadlifts on another. Or you could do one lower body push day (squats, leg presses, etc.) and one lower body pull day (deadlifts, leg curls).

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