It only bloomin’ works

I’ve suffered from Golfer’s Elbow for about 2 years. Despite being a good boy and doing my exercises I have never shook it. I even rested for 4 months this summer and it came back as soon as I started at TCA. However this post (click here) from Tom Randall looked interesting so I tried it. My elbow has not resolved completely but after 3 days (6 sessions) it is almost there and I am cranking pain free for the first time. Spread the love

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Paul says:

    I would be very interested on your thoughts as to why this works. What muscles does it stretch? When i do this I feel a stretch in my bicep as well as my forearm.

    Also I found the exert below while searching for the magic cure – could I ask your thoughts in this as well. Sorry it’s a long read.

    ….I just wanted to add something. I had tendonitis off-and-on for about two years in the early 90’s. I had been climbing/training with Francois Legrand, Yuji Hirayama, my twin brother, etc. quite hard during this entire time and I tried many forms of elbow rehab. NOTHING worked. Finally, at Francois’ wedding I was talking with Laurent Jacob and, after basically calling me an idiot (politely, but still..), he said that I should have asked him how to fix the problem sooner. He had been a top-level climber for 25+ years AND a physician for 22+ years at that point. The fix was simple he said.

    As climbers we use our biceps WAAAAAY too much and we do not use our triceps in any sort of balanced manner (this was before bouldering top-outs and cross-training that includes push-ups, dips, etc., which seem to help balance things out for some people). Laurent’s suggestion was to pinch a (relatively) heavy book, like a dictionary, and to do triceps extensions while making sure to roll your palm to face the ceiling/sky when you reach maximum extension. 3 sets of 10-15, 3 times a day for around a week should completely resolve the problem (if there is no structural damage that is). Then you just do 3 sets once or twice a week to maintain balance.

    The trick here is to make sure that you are stretching the brachioradialis while doing these exercises AND to use a book that is heavy enough to pump you out a bit, but not so heavy as to make you strain to complete the exercise. This exercise works the muscles in a slightly different way than straight push-ups or dips and is necessary once you have begun to have balance problems and your elbows have begun to hurt. (There may be some connection with the fact that when you tense your triceps at maximum extension you are engaging the anconeus, which is otherwise not doing much in most humans. This might help stabilize the elbow and stop it from over-pronating/pinching the ulnar nerve)

    I know that this seems too good to be true, but I used these exercises for 3 DAYS and my two years of elbow problems went away. By the 7th day I was climbing at my maximum level again and I have not had a relapse in almost 20 years. I still climb quite hard (13a on-sight) and I pull more weight than ever before (being naturally heavier/fatter :). All without a single problem, as long as I stick to balancing my elbows out (I slack-off sometimes for a month or two and everything is fine, but then I remember the pain I used to go through and I get back to doing the exercises once a week).

    I have mentioned these exercises to all of my friends that have had elbow issues and almost all of them have had good results, UNLESS they had structural damage.

    Will Gadd and I have talked about this issue. He seems to have structural problems, after all of his years of severe strain, which prevent these exercises from completely solving his elbow problems. That said, I think that many people, particularly younger climbers, will benefit greatly from this advice and I felt compelled to make this long post. As a matter of fact, I have found that finding balancing exercises for any NON-TRAUMA injury is an effective method of healing/prevention. Shoulders and, particularly, fingers react well if you can find the proper balancing exercise (fingers are the most difficult and require balancing exercises that generally focus on the back of the hand (i.e. opening hands in sand) or the fine muscles in the palm of the hand)…..

    Thanks for your thoughts on this. I’m really keen to try and understand the structures and what’s going wrong. I’m convinced my elbow pain is a mechanic misalignment and given the right formula should resolve… Hopefully!

    Thanks again Paul

    1. Hi Paul – thanks for your input and comprehensive info. I will check this exercise out and get back to you.
      Regards the technique as posted by Tom Randall I believe it is to do with the use of accessory movements – a common physiotherapy treatment. Movement dysfunction through the physiological plane can be affected by moving the joint through the other planes of movement i.e. side to side or up and down as opposed to flex & extend. This treatment is difficult to do on some joints due to the amount of force required and therapists sometimes have to use a large webbing strap wrapped around them to be able to apply enough force. The technique of lying on your own arms requires a concentric muscular contraction and then a body weight force is applied to the ulna and in particualr (I reckon) the radial head.and this ‘re-sets’ the biomechanical process and normal (pain free) service is resumed.
      I will look into the triceps exercise further but it makes sense to augment any climbing training with triceps dips but I would argue that big biceps are wot make a climber (Mina Leslie-Wujastik for example) and an over developed bicep will lead to elbow pain but not necessarily better climbing.
      Well, I’ll look into it.

      1. I just re-read what you wrote and need to pick up on the rebalancing thing. There is no evidence to suggest that rebalancing your hand (wrist & fingers) muscles is necessary as you suggest. I have looked into it more than most and can see that your extensors develop in tandem with your flexors – they have to. And the fine muscles in your hand are responsible for intricate work and contribute between 10-40% of relative strength depending on the activity to hand (as it were). I believe these sorts of ‘balancing’ exercises to be unhelpful in improving strength although, as you say very valid after trauma.

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