3 Mobility Moves for Healthy Elbows

Elbow PainElbow pain and “tendonitis” can quickly derail your plans for having a strong and healthy body.

Many people are quick to diagnose any elbow problem as tendonitis and give the simple advice of REST. This is not bad advice, per se–because you should definitely not aggravate an inflamed elbow. If you continue to push through elbow pain, it will eventually grow to the point where you won’t be able to lift a glass of water. Don’t push through the pain.

However, resting is not a complete plan to actually start making forward progress, and prevent a recurring problem.

As we know, pain is simply an action signal telling you to do something different. Yet your body doesn’t tell you where the actual problem is, it just tells you what area you are damaging with your dysfunction.

For example, your elbow pain could be caused by your stiff neck, but we’ll come back to that in a second. Just understand for now that elbow pain might have nothing to do with your elbow.

First, let’s just make sure your elbow can move like an elbow.

1. Elbow Circle
Grab your tricep so your upper arm doesn’t move too much and make a circle with your elbow as in the video below. Make sure you fully extend it (straight) and fully flex it (bent) on each repetition. Go both directions. You’ll notice in the video that I am making a clear distinction between pronation and supination, and rotation of the upper arm. This is important for elbow function, and upper arm movement is a common compensation for a lack of pronation/supination of the lower arm.

2. Pronation/Supination
Next we are going to isolate pronation and supination movements using a theraband wrapped around the hands. When you perform this exercise keep the elbows tight to your body and spread the hands and fingers as wide as possible. Repeat the movement with arms straight, try not to borrow extra movement from the shoulder joint.

3. Loaded Elbow Circle
Finally we are going to integrate these all together into a loaded elbow circle with a band. This is a great drill for conditioning the elbows under load, and preparing them for more strenuous activity.

Isolate. Activate. Integrate. (A 5 Minute Flow-ism)

The ability to move the wrist, elbow, and shoulder independently is very important. This Segmental Disassociation is critical for optimal health of each joint. The last thing you want is to have your elbow trying to be a shoulder or a wrist…seriously guys, just be yourselves.

I’m going to delve deeper into the specific elbow ailments and exercises in a part 2 to this article coming soon. Sign up for my newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out.

Better every day,

Did these exercises help? Still have more questions? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to address them!

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6 thoughts on “3 Mobility Moves for Healthy Elbows

  • Adrien

    Love this! So many tennis players out here! So true elbow, or frankly any injury, is caused by some other asymmetry or poor movement pattern.

    Can’t wait for Part 2.

    You are the Be(a)st, Max!


  • joy

    Can’t wait to hear part 2. I have had medial and lateral epicondylitis in both arms but am currently being treated for left medial. (I’ve had an autologous injection). I know it’s tendinosus but I have been suspecting my neck as the route cause as I’ve had a stiff neck for 20 years! (Old and damaged but it was fun getting that way!)
    At the moment it is VERY sore. Not doing any upper body work in gym.

  • John omeara

    Max, I bought ur snook ultimate athleticism. For some reason I cannot access it anymore off my phone. Just completely lost it. I love ur stuff and a big fan. What can I do?

  • Blair Peterson

    Great article, didn’t realize i had wrist issues until i tried doing the hand stands,mind you i got a left shoulder issue as well so wouldn’t be able to do a handstand anyway, at least not yet, again great article and will incorporate the movements into my routine, thank max have a great day