Injuries to the muscles and tendons of the extremities are not only painful but inconvenient. Even the slightest movement of the injured area can send a wave of pain up or down the arm and leg. Tennis elbow is one of the more common injuries that cause problems for many active men and women, causing many to seek ways to manage their pain, improve their condition, or just learn more. Although tendon injuries may send many to seek drastic solutions to resolve their pain, tennis elbow exercises can offer significant improvement, especially for those seeking to avoid invasive treatments.

One of the reasons that injuries like tennis elbow are so problematic is that they can be debilitating, but physical therapists have found a solution in the form of tennis elbow exercises. What is important to know about these exercises is that they cannot only help with an elbow joint that has become swollen due to an extensor tendon injury but they can also be used to strengthen the elbow joint and actually prevent an injury in the first place. So those of you that make active use of your arms and forearms and want to avoid an injury can also derive some benefit from these tennis elbow exercises below.

TENNIS ELBOW FAQ

The following is a list of some common questions about tennis elbow.

1. WHAT IS TENNIS ELBOW?

2. HOW DOES TENNIS ELBOW HAPPEN?

3. CAN TENNIS ELBOW BE PREVENTED?

4. WHAT CAN BE DONE TO HELP WITH TENNIS ELBOW?

5. WHAT ARE THE BEST TENNIS ELBOW EXERCISES

HOW WE REVIEWED

We reviewed the lists of tennis elbow exercises compiled by physical therapists to choose those exercises that were the most frequently recommended. Once we created our own list, we compared the exercises in terms of various factors like how easy they were to perform, how effective they were, and how well they prevented tennis elbow, among other factors. Using these factors, we established pros and cons for each of the tennis elbow exercises and then finally reached a verdict as to which was best.

tennis elbow

image source: tennisfitness.com

WHAT WE REVIEWED

  • Finger stretch
  • Ball Squeeze
  • Wrist Curls
  • Wrist Turn
  • Wrist Flex
  • Forearm Extensor Stretch
  • Bicep Curls
  • Elbow Bend
  • Partner Tennis Elbow Stretch
  • Drawing The Sword

FINGER STRETCH

finger stretch

FEATURES

This straightforward exercise involves individually stretching each finger of the affected side. If you are trying to strengthen your tendons to prevent the development of tennis elbow, you can perform finger stretches on both hands. Place your finger against a flat surface like a table or a wall and apply pressure to stretch the finger back toward the hand.

PROS

  • Simple, easy
  • Anyone can do it
  • Maybe less pain triggering than other exercises

CONS

  • Though effective, this exercise may be less effective than others
  • May be time-consuming, considering that we have 10 fingers

BALL SQUEEZE

BALL SQUEEZE

FEATURES

This exercise involves being in a seated position and gripping a ball in the palm of your hands. The ball is squeezed while the hand kept in a squeezed position for several seconds. This exercise should be repeated in the affected hand ten times, gradually working your way up to squeezing for longer periods of time.

PROS

  • This exercise is easy and effective
  • You can work your way up with this exercise, so it is particularly good for prevention
  • This exercise may have a calming effect

CONS

  • This exercise requires a ball
  • May trigger pain in some people
  • Some people can overdo it with this exercise

WRIST CURLS

WRIST CURLS

FEATURES

Wrist curls are a very popular item for resolving tennis elbow problems, and they often find themselves at the top of lists of tennis elbow exercises. This exercise involves placing your forearm on a table with your hand resting over the edge. With a weight in your hand, usually one pound, you curl the weight up towards yourself. This exercise is effective of strengthening the muscles of the forearm and wrist as well as resolving any complaints of the elbow like tennis elbow.

PROS

  • A popular and effective exercise for tennis elbow
  • Can strengthen the forearm and wrist as well

CONS

  • Can be painful for some
  • Requires a small weight to curl

WRIST TURN

WRIST TURN

image source: health.com

FEATURES

The wrist turn exercise for tennis elbow is a very simple exercise that is designed to relieve the tension in the elbow, doing a very effective job at targeting this joint. The forearm is held at a 90-degree angle with the palm facing up, and then the hand is slowly turned until the arm is facing down. This is repeated 10 times, slowly easing the tension away.

PROS

  • Simple and effective
  • Does not require any special equipment like weight, tables, or walls!

CONS

  • Can be painful
  • This exercise should not be repeated too much; ten times is more than enough

WRIST FLEX

wrist flex

FEATURES

The wrist flex is another one of the biggie tennis elbow exercises. Similar to the finger extension, this exercise involves using one hand to bend the fingers of the other hand back toward the elbow, essentially causing an extension of the soft tissue structures of the wrist and elbow. This movement has been shown to be very effective at targeting the wrist, forearm, and elbow structures.

PROS

  • Simple and effective
  • Does not require special equipment (just another hand)
  • Helps with elbow, wrist, and forearm

CONS

  • Can cause pain, especially for people with wrist problems
  • Does not isolate the elbow like other tennis elbow exercises

FOREARM EXTENSOR FLEX

FOREARM EXTENSOR FLEX

FEATURES

This movement is another one of the popular tennis elbow exercises as it is easy to do. It is similar to the wrist flex, except that it involves bending the hand the other way, down toward the underside of the forearm. This stretch should not be done quickly, but you should use the fingers of your one hand to hold the fingers of the other hand down for 30 seconds.

PROS

  • Easy to do
  • Can be increased in difficulty if desired
  • Does not require special equipment

CONS

  • Can be painful, especially for people with wrist injuries
  • May want to work your way up to it

BICEP CURLS

BICEP CURLS

FEATURES

Bicep curls are a great exercise in general, not just as one of the tennis elbow exercises. This movement involves using a weight and curling the weight up toward the body, working the biceps and forearm muscles, as well as the associated soft tissue structures of the wrist and elbow.

PROS

  • Can strengthen the muscles as well as the tendons
  • Can be increased in difficult

CONS

  • People with severe tennis elbow may have to work up to this
  • equires  a weight


ELBOW BEND

FEATURES

The elbow bend is one of the easier items on the list of tennis elbow exercises, which is a good thing as it means that anyone should be able to do this. Standing up straight, bend your forearm up towards your body until you are able to touch your hand to your shoulder. Hold this posture for about ten seconds, and then lower your forearm. Like some other exercises on the list, this should be repeated 10 times.

PROS

  • Easy to do
  • Requires no special weights or balls
  • A beginner should be able to do this

CONS

  • May get boring after a while
  • For severe tennis elbow, a full flex of the elbow may actually be difficult

PARTNER TENNIS ELBOW STRETCH

partner tennis elbow stretch


image source: medicalnewstoday.com

FEATURES

The partner tennis elbow stretch is a favorite of many people with tennis elbow because you can do this one with a partner. We all know that it can become tedious doing exercises like this by yourself. This exercise involves a somewhat aggressive stretch of your wrist downward. This should be accomplished by first lying down. A partner grips your fingers and hand and flexes your wrist down and back. They should hold this flexed position for 10 seconds, and this movement should be repeated 10 times. This is an effective workout for wrist, forearm, and elbow, and muscle and tendons both.

PROS

  • Effective for several joints of the upper extremity
  • Good for strengthening muscles as well as tendons

CONS

  • Can be painful
  • Requires a partner
  • Make sure your partner does not overdo it

DRAWING THE SWORD

drawing the sword


FEATURES

This is considered by some to be the best of the tennis elbow exercises for treatment and prevention as it strengthens the area, relaxes it, and can be effective in various other ways. This movement requires a resistance band. You step on one end of the resistance band with your foot and hold the other end with your hand. Pull the end with your hand up and outwards, like you are drawing a sword. This movement, like that of several of the other exercises, should be repeated ten times. This exercise works forearm muscles, triceps, wrist muscles, and the shoulders.

PROS

  • Very effective for strengthening the elbow
  • Works other major muscle groups
  • Good at increasing strength overall

CONS

  • Requires a resistance band
  • Does focus some of the emphasis away from the elbow

THE VERDICT

It should not be surprising that tennis elbow exercises are an area of interest for many people as it is very common for men and women to develop problems with the elbow due to various movements encountered in exercise or at work. What’s great about these exercises is that they not only can relax and relieve the tension of tennis elbow, but they can also be used to prevent tennis elbow for those that have not developed it but are worried about it.

Although the choosing one out of the several great selections in the tennis elbow exercises list was difficult, we managed to narrow it down to two choices: drawing the sword and ball squeeze. Although drawing the sword is popular as a strengthening exercise, it also requires a resistance band and does not place emphasis solely on the elbow. Ball squeeze is a great all-around exercise because it only requires a ball, it can easily be incorporated into the normal activities of the day, and it is an effective way to strengthen the elbow.

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