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The push-up is considered to be the most efficient bodyweight movement that you can do.
It is a total body functional exercise and is great for increasing overall body strength.
Push-ups are said to be bare-bones muscle building exercise that is part of almost every major athlete or sportsperson’s training program.
Elbow pain doing push ups is one of the most frequently recorded side effects of this exercise. It usually the result of using poor form, improper hand/feet position and wrong shoulder alignment.
I have put together the ultimate list of 8 reasons why push-ups are causing you elbow discomfort and pain.
- 1. You have poor flexibility
- 2. Wrong form and technique
- 3. Overdoing it
- 4. Incorrect body alignment
- 5. Elbows flaring out to the side
- 6. Reaching with your chin
- 7. Wave push up
- 8. Stopping to early
Many people who perform this exercise regularly think they are 100 percent safe to do without any chance or risk of injury.
If also are experiencing elbow pain doing triceps, go there as well for some great nuggets of info and tips.
If you are not flexible enough, you are vulnerable to a list of injuries during workouts.
Warm up is necessary before hardcore workout; it helps in relaxing your muscles and making your body flexible.
Medial/Lateral epicondylitis and tricep tendonitis are a couple of injuries caused by our body’s inflexibility.
2) Wrong form or technique
Regardless of the exercise your are engaged in, you need to stick and adhere to struck form and technique if you want to get the full benefit.
Same is the case with push ups.
Your whole body is involved while doing this exercise and poor technique can certainly cause some severe injuries – especially at your elbow.
If possible, consult a personal fitness trainer, who will be there helping you with your posture and technique.
Here’s the thing…
The mistake that most of the exercisers make is that they put too much bodyweight on the thumb side of the palm rather than distributing in evenly across the palm which results in elbow pain.
Performing a push up correctly isn’t an easy task, so make sure to always apply proper technique.
You can get more info on this over at this post on breakingmuscle.com – some great little nuggets of information in there.
3) Overdoing It
It can said to be the most common cause for the emergence of elbow pain.
Performing too much without taking the required rest between sessions and doing it rather quickly, all these factors contribute in causing discomfort.
It is always advisable to start off at a slower level and gradually increase your speed and number of repetitions.
Make sure you have completely recovered from a previous elbow injury (if any) before starting this type of exercise.
Last but not least…
4) Incorrect Body alignment
Your posture should be perfect while performing push-ups.
This is also referred to as neutral spine position.
Incorrect body alignment leads to an increased risk of discomfort at your elbow.
This exercise requires your lower and upper body in a straight line.
5) Elbows are flaring out.
Your hands should be set just a little past shoulder width with your elbows tucked in by your side.
6) Reaching with your chin.
You should be looking a little ahead of you and not straight down or head completely up.
Many people like to dip their chin down when they reach the bottom position as it puts them closer to the floor.
This is not proper form or technique – simply cheating.
Besides doing this exercise, do you also experience pain in your elbow when working out at the gym or at home?
There are some unknown tricks on how to overcome this fast. Number 3 is actually shocking.
7) Wave push up
You compromise on form by pushing away with your elbows but your core is not engaged.
This results in your upper body moving upwards while your hips and legs remain in the same position.
Fully and completely push up fail – a no no!
8) You don’t go down far enough.
Make sure your chest touches the floor.
This is when you know you have performed the perfect push up which will not hurt your elbow.
Make your core muscle strong, it reduces the risk of injuries and enhances your workout routine.
The elbow is the joint in the middle portion of the arm where three long bones meet.
It is never a pleasant experience dealing with the any sort of pain and discomfort.
Doing push ups is a daunting task and when you incur pain during it, it gets even more difficult.
Sometimes the pain goes by its own, and sometimes it will a take rather longer time to heal.
By following the below-mentioned practices, recovering from your pain is easy:
If the pain is severe and it is not healing, you may need to wear a counterforce brace for about four to six weeks.
You should minimize all the physical activities especially those involving elbow.
Take proper rest till the time the pain has healed completely.
If the pain is acute, you should perform gentle stretch with your forearm. Perform these stretches in a pain-free manner.
Keep holding the stretch for about 10 seconds and do it 10 times a day.
Keep repeating this exercise twice or thrice a day to completely vanish the pain.
Go for massages to relax the muscles.
They help to release the tension in the muscle and provide the much-needed relaxation.
Apply heat therapy.
You can put a moist hot pack around your elbow.
It will help the healing process by increasing blood flow and bringing nutrients to the affected area.
Depending on the severity of pain, your doctor may advise you to do light exercises that will get the required flexibility in your muscles.
You can take anti-inflammatory medications only if prescribed by the doctor.
Wrist immobilization brace is also recommended if the pain is severe.
It will help your muscles to rest completely and will assist them to be in a good position to heal.
You can perform your routine activities even while wearing this wrist immobilization brace.
If the pain period has prolonged up to 4 to 6 weeks, your doctor may suggest you some steroid injections.
The pain can become worse after a few hours of taking the steroid injection, but recovery phase will start after that.
Some people need to take another injection after the first one to reduce the pain.
Although, they have some side effects but they are considered to be an effective way to the elimination of elbow pain.
They also speed up the recovery period.
Platelet-rich plasma injection is a new technique that has become a quite popular treatment to heal the elbow pain.
A blood sample is taken from the patient’s body; it is treated to increase the number of platelets and reinjected in the affected part to speed up the healing process.
These injections are known to work better than the steroid injections.
If all the above-mentioned techniques have failed to recover your elbow pain, surgery is the last option left.
In the cases of tennis elbow (an injury often resulting from push-ups), there is a very rare chance that you will have to opt for surgery.
But don’t be afraid since it is the normal day-case process and you will be discharged from the hospital the same day.
The follow-up process after surgery is also not a tough one. Doctor will prescribe you a regular stretching program and you may have to undergo physiotherapy.
These stretches will be useful in the speedy recovery process.
Exercise is an important way to keep yourself fit and healthy.
But there are certain things that need to be followed to avoid causing injuries and pains.
Never over-do it and taking proper balanced diet along with it so that your body can be ready for the workout process.
Do not ignore any pain or injury that is resulted from the workout.
These injuries or pain may seem small at first, but can be a cause of great worry for you in the longer run.
But here is what you MUST understand…
If the pain in your elbow, is primarily on the outer part of your elbow and …
It gets way worse when you grip down tightly on a weight bar or even perhaps just turning a door knob …
Then I am afraid I have some bad news for you.
There is a 90% chance that you have the most “popular” elbow injury/condition.
It is called tennis elbow.
And no you don’t have to play tennis to get it.
It can affect anyone – from weight lifters, plumbers, postal workers, hairdressers, construction workers and …
Pretty much anyone who works with their hands on a daily basis where you perform repetitive types of movements and actions.
So the million dollar question is …
How do you get over it quickly and cheaply?
You don’t need to waste your hard earned cash going back and forth to Doctors, Physio, elbow braces/straps, pain medication when …
There are 5 simple steps you can do right now – at home – in the comfort of the chair/sofa you are reading this post from.
Go over here to see the video of how easy these steps are to do at home!
is the author of Tennis Elbow Secrets Revealed which has been teaching individuals how to overcome their tennis elbow injury at home since 2005 with over 1,767,986 copies sold.
He is a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and Exercise Rehab Specialist based in Vancouver, BC, Canada