View Full Version : Elbow Pain and Chins
10-22-2003, 08:07 AM
I'm new to the crossfit site, but I have been training for years. I was a wrestler in high school and I have trained ever since.
As a wrestler, I've always loved chins. The last 2 months, my elbows have been killing me. The pain is located in the 'points' of my elbows. ( inside of elbows that curve our from the humerous. )
I get pain from chins, and almost any type of pull up movement. It even hurts when I wash my hair in the shower. :-(
I've tried resting for a week to give it a chance to get better with no luck.
As far as how I injured the elbows, I think that it may have had something to do with with Thruster variation I was doing a few months ago.
I was alternating pushpresses with press behind the necks and squats.
It's agravating to me that now I can barely do sets of 10 chins. I used to be able to up to 26 chins in a set.
I haven't been to the doctor, but I'm guessing it would just be diagnosed at tendonitis.
10-22-2003, 08:49 AM
Get several styrafoam cups, fill them 3/4 full of water and freeze them. peel the styrafoam down such that an inch of ice is exposed. Ice the affected areas to numbness (3-5min) 4-6 times per day. It will hurt like hell but it may break the inflamation. Once you get going again in say 10 days try a wide variety of chin grips to shift load and tension on the elbows.
10-22-2003, 11:40 AM
I have had a similar elbow problem and also guess it is some form of tendentious. I feel more pain when my palms face me. I have managed to overcome the problem but it took a while. My hypothesis is that, depending on the grip, either the bottom or the top of the pull up can stress the tendons of the elbow joint. The solution is proper form.
Try the following. Raise your hands above your head, palms facing away as if you were holding a bar; your hands are probably comfortable in this position and your elbow joint and its supporting muscles feel relaxed. Now, keeping your hands and grip relaxed, bring your arms downward like you were doing a pull up; if relaxed you will notice that your hands have a tendency to rotate a few degrees toward a neutral position (palm facing palm). The conclusion is that with a straight bar at the top of a palms facing away pull up the rotational forces placed on the elbow stress the tendons. The opposite is true with the palm facing in grip—comfortable/relaxed at the top of the pull up and more stressed at bottom—try it.
This type of elbow pain is, from what I understand, not uncommon with rock climbers. As a result Metolius (a rock climbing company) developed “Rock Rings”—basically a free floating finger board to develop hand and finder strength—“Two independent units each with flexible, single point suspension; allows rotation of joints for injury prevention.”
Here is the interesting part of the story. I had been trying to develop more pull up power before I discovered CrossFit. As a result I develop elbow pain. My search for what was wrong led me to purchase some swing set gymnastic rings at a local Loews hardware store to allow some rotation while I did pull ups. The rings help my elbow and I did not have to rotate much to relieve the stress. Not satisfied with the rings, I eventually found the Power Rings, and ordered some. In searching for the rings I also found CrossFit—been devoted ever since and have not missed a WOD in three months.
That’s not the end of the story. To make a long story longer, by slowly ordering all the back issues of the CrossFit Journal I discovered the article on proper pull up form. The key for me—which solved my elbow problems on a straight bar—was to follow the form described in the article; basically to pull down with the elbows, proper back arch and focus, etc. If you have the proper form, and do the same experiment described above you may be able to see/feel how proper forms stabilizes the movement and does not create the same hand rotation and elbow stress.
10-22-2003, 04:55 PM
Robert-Welcome and thank you!
10-23-2003, 10:05 AM
Thanks for all the responses.
Excellent insight about the tension differences between chins and pullups.
I have been focusing on chins. I've got a monster 3 inch bar in my loft to chin from.
As a test, I rigged up a strap to allow rotation of my elbows. After thowing that over the chin bar. I did 10 chins with very little pain.
10-23-2003, 11:18 AM
I HAVE BEEN HITTING THE WOD'S FOR ABOUT 4 MONTHS NOW. I TOO HAVE HAD ELBOW PROBLEMS WHICH HAVE REQUIRED ME TO LAY OFF THE WOD'S FOR UP TO A WEEK AT A TIME.
I RECENTLY WENT FROM THE 3 DAYS ON/1 DAY OFF CYCLE TO 6 DAYS ON/1 DAY OFF IN AN ATTEMPT TO MAXIMIZE MY IMPROVEMENTS. I FOUND THAT THIS WAS ACTUALLY TEARING MY BODY DOWN AND REINJURING MY ELBOWS.
I DEFINITELY AGREE THAT FORM IS BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT IN ANY OF THE MOVEMENTS WITH THE WOD'S. HOWEVER, I HAVE RECENTLY FOUND IN MY OWN EXPERIENCE THAT IN ADDITION TO FORM, REST IS EQUALLY IMPORTANT.
I'M TRYING TO GET RID OF THE "MORE IS BETTER" PHILOSOPHY, AND AM LEARNING HOW TO TRAIN AND IMPROVE WITHOUT TRYING TO BECOME AN OLYMPIC ATHLETE IN A MONTH.
MY PULLUPS AND ROPE WORK ARE TWO OF MY WEAKEST AREAS. I HAVE BEEN SUPPLEMENTING MY WOD'S WITH ADDED PULLUPS IN ORDER TO INCREASE MY MAX #'S. THIS, HOWEVER, IS WHAT WAS HURTING MY ELBOWS.
I RECENTLY HAD TO LAY OFF FOR 4 DAYS BECAUSE OF MY ELBOWS, AND WHEN I CAME BACK THIS WEEK, I BROKE MY MILE TIME AND PUSHUP MAX #'S, WHICH GOES AGAINST THE WAY I'M USED TO LOOKING AT TRAINING (THE MORE YOU TRAIN, THE BETTER YOU GET).
I GUESS THE KEY IS FINDING THE HAPPY MEDIUM WHERE GRADUAL CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT BALANCES OUT INJURY PREVENTION.
HOPE THIS HELPS...
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