Exercises for preventing tennis elbow

Lateral epicondylitis, more commonly known as tennis elbow, is the weakening of tendons in your forearm that results in pain around your elbow joint. The tendons that connect your forearm muscles to your elbow joint gradually weaken as a result of repeating a certain action too many times.

As the name suggests tennis elbow is a common injury among tennis players due to the repetition involved when perfecting shots. We have previously covered everything you need to know about tennis elbow and various was to prevent the condition on the Tennisletics blog. Following on from that below are a few of the best exercises to help ease and prevent tennis elbow pain, the majority of which can be done with very little equipment.

1. Finger stretch

  • Simply touch your fingers and thumb together, slowly open them as far as you can, repeat
  • This exercise can be made more difficult by putting rubber bands of increasing elasticity around your
  • fingers and thumb to increase the tension when opening
  • Repeat the action 25 times up to three times a day.

2. Wrist twists

  • Bend your elbow to 90 degrees and extend your hand out with the palm facing up
  • Twist your wrist until your palm is facing down, hold for a few seconds, and return to the starting position
  • When this begins to feel easy hold a weight in your hand. A light dumbbell or a tin is a good place to start
  • Repeat this action for three sends of 10 reps.

3. Wrist flexor stretch

  • Hold your arm out straight in front of your, not bending the elbow, with your palms facing up
  • Using your other hand, hold the fingers of your outstretched hand and bend it back towards your body in a downwards until you can feel the stretch in your forearm
  • Hold in this position for 10-15 seconds and repeat three to five times.

4. Wrist flexor strengthening

  • In a seated position hold a small weight in your hand and rest your forearm on your leg or a table so that your wrist overhangs the edge
  • Holding the weight with your palm facing upwards slowly raise the weight up and then lower, ensuring to only bend at the wrist
  • Repeat this action for 10 reps.

5. Wrist extensor stretch

  • This exercise is very similar to the above but works different muscles in your forearm
  • Hold your arm out straight in front of you but this time with your palm facing down
  • Again using your other arm hold onto your outstretched fingers and pull them back towards your body in an upward motion
  • When you can feel the stretch in your forearm hold it here for 10-15 seconds and repeat the exercise three to five times.

6. Fist squeeze

  • This is an extremely simple yet effective exercise for working your forearm muscles.
  • Hold something soft in your hand such as a sock, towel, tennis ball and clench your hand to form a fist.
  • Hold your fist tightly in this position for 10 seconds and repeat for 10 reps.

7. Elbow bend

  • Standing up straight lower your arm down to one side
  • Bend your arm slowed upwards, with the palm facing up until your hand is touching your shoulder
  • Hold in this position for 10-15 seconds and repeat 10 times on each arm.

8. Towel twisting

  • Hold a loosely rolled-up towel lengthways with one hand at either end
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and twist the towel by moving your hands in either end, in a similar motion to wringing out water
  • Repeat this 10 times moving your hands in one direction and then reverse the direction.
While it’s common for people to focus these exercises on the arm that is causing them pain, it’s important to carry out all stretches and exercises on both arms. The idea behind these exercises is mainly prevention as opposed to treatment. If you do suffer from tennis elbow it’s important to consult an expert first as soon as possible.

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