The Most Common Gym Injury (FIXED | PREVENTED!)


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. Today I’m going to help a lot of people
because a lot of people are getting elbow pain when they lift. Now, if you have elbow pain you know it. You go out there and keep banging away at
it. Whether you’re doing chin-ups, doing weighted
chin-ups – which is even worse – or you’re doing underhanded rows; any pulling movement
that you’re getting that pain right on that inside of the elbow. You know it. It feels like a knife. Here’s what is causing it. I’m going to help you figure that out and
I’m going to tell you some things that you can do to try and get rid of it now. More importantly, prevent it from ever coming
back. Of course, we do that – Jesse, come on in
with the muscle marker. With the muscle marker, we’re picking on
one muscle here. There are a lot of muscles in the forearm. But this one muscle in particular is where
I think everything arises. I’m going to show you how you can test yours
to see if that’s what’s causing your pain, too. So, if we look at this – I’m going to
give you a fancy word, you ready? The flexor digitorum superficialis. So, the FDS. What it means is that one of the flexors that
goes to the digits in our fingers that is more superficial than some of the other, deeper
muscles in our forearm. But what it does is, it actually looks like
that. It attaches right here. It all comes down into this bundle here and
attaches around that medial elbow where we start to feel all that pain. Amongst a whole bunch of other muscles that
also come in here that sometimes get confused as the source of the pain. I’m saying it’s not. I’m saying this is the problem right here. What this muscle’s function does is, it
comes in here and splits into four different tendons. They pass through the carpal tunnel and head
off toward the pinky, the ring finger, the middle finger, and the pointer finger. But the attachment means everything. They crossover to the second joint. So not all the way to the end. Not to this little joint in the end. They have no control over that. Only the phalanges out here in the middle. So that means they can do this to the finger. And they can do that to the finger. And they can do that. But they can’t flex that last, little phalange. So, what we want to do is understand what’s
causing the problems. Well, it’s not just all of these. It’s one in particular. This one, right here. You would think it would be this one because
of the way it feels when you have this pain. But it’s actually this one right here. Your ring finger. When you move them, you can see what happens. So, if I were to go here and move the pinky
you could see I get some action through this muscle belly, but not so much. When I move the middle finger, I get some
action, but not that much. I go through the pointer finger, I get even
less action. More up here than I do down here. Then when I move that ring finger, look at
all the motion going on in here. Definitely the most influential of the four
on what’s happening through this muscle, ultimately on that point of attachment on
your elbow. Which is going to really cause a problem when
it’s sore. So, what happens is, we’re getting an overload
on this joint in this motion here through some sort of a heavy weight being attached
to our hands down below in a pull – like a row, or on a cable pulldown, or a low row,
or even up here on a chin. When I’m here I have my whole bodyweight
being resisted here by the strength of my finger flexors to be able to hold onto that
bar. So, if you have problems here, people will
call it a long-term breakdown. They say it’s more of a chronic breakdown,
overuse injury. It’s not an overuse injury, guys. It’s an overload injury. It’s an overload injury that can happen
on one, single rep by causing some microtears down here because the strength in these fingers
is not high enough to withstand those loads. So, what you have to start looking at is:
where are you placing the pullup bar, the bar itself, or the cables in whatever exercise
you’re doing? If you start to let them ride high into your
fingers like that then all these muscles – the muscles here that are coming into these tendons
– are trying to resist that bar from falling out of your hands, or you from slipping off
the pullup bar. That’s what you’re working on. You’re using this muscle in particular because
of where you’re holding it. You’re not holding it in just these last,
couple of joints here. We can’t hold anything with just that joint
there. We’re holding it here. So, we’re really picking directly on this
muscle here. The FDS. Completely. And it’s not meant to hold all those loads. What you need to do is get that bar here,
or the pullup bar, or the row down here, more in your hands with more of a wrap around here. You’re getting a lot more strength of those
intrinsic hand muscles with support from the FDS, not the main load being on the FDS. So where do you see that? If I were to get up on this bar here – here’s
that direct cause – if I were to get up here and try to hold onto the bar, a lot of
us like to use this false grip. I like to use a false grip. But using the false grip right here, there’s
all that overload on that muscle because of the anatomy I just showed you. So, as I start to get tired, even more so,
I want to slip. But they’re holding as hard as they can. It places a tremendous amount of stress right
here on the medial elbow. That can cause that pain instantly and get
worse, and worse over time from workout, to workout. So, you want to get up and over the bar, and
be on top of it. You want to see all your fingers. I see people do these all the time. What I see is the top of your fingers. If you can only see the top of your fingers
there, especially this little finger and it’s falling off the bar, back that way behind
you; you’ve got a problem. You need to be able to see all your fingernails
and all your fingers if it’s going to be the proper positioning which will help you
avoid that. Again, that fourth finger is going to take
on all the load. Why is that? Go ahead and make a fist. If I make a fist as hard as I can, which fingers
have the strongest ability to hold right here? The fourth and fifth. You can feel it. You can feel that you’re pushing most of
your pressure right here in this portion of your palm because the fourth and fifth dig
in with a lot more force than we do with these other three. So, you realize how dependent your fingers
are on this fourth and fifth finger. Again, putting that bar too high is going
to cause that. I do the same thing here with a row. If I come up underneath with an underhand
row and I’m here, and the bar – just because I start to fatigue – starts to slip a little
bit, we’re doing that same thing. All of that force is there. So, let’s say you already have the pain
and you’re not sure whether this is the problem or not. Just do this. Take your finger and first, use the other
fingers. Resist through that joint. So, bend it and try to push it back and don’t
let it happen. Don’t let it go back. No pain. No pain there. Should be not pain there. Not distal. Not this last joint because that’s a different
muscle. The flexor digitorum profundus. The deeper version. That takes care of that. Not this muscle. You shouldn’t feel anything there. Same thing here. Now go to the proximal joint. Resist that motion. No problem. No problem. No problem. Oh, that’s a problem right there. If you have a pain in that elbow resisting
at that level of the joint, it’s going to cause a lot of pain. You’ll know instantly that this is what
you’re dealing with. So, what do we do to fix it? What we do to fix it is – it’s always
one of those instances where the prevention is the cure. So first of all, if you’re already having
problems here you really need to avoid bar placements in your distal fingers. Definitely. You’ve got to make sure you stop doing that. That’s a long-term cure, too. But right away you need to do that. Most of all, we usually have to start avoiding
any of the movements that are causing discomfort at this point. You give yourself six to eight weeks for it
to get better by avoiding those movements. That sucks, and nobody wants to do it, but
it’s the truth. It’s what you need to do. But once you do that, you want to start easing
yourself back into those movements. Not with a heavy weight because the heavier
the weight the more likely it’s going to start to pull down. With a little bit of a lighter weight to ensure
that you have the ability to grip and hold on in that position. It’s something you’re going to have to
get used to. But lastly what you want to do is – at least
right now – try to stretch it out a little bit. And here’s where people screw up. They do this. I know it’s a forearm muscle. It hurts here so they told me to stretch it. So, I do that. What’s the problem, if you look at my hand? If I’m doing this, I feel a stretch on my
forearm, but am I really getting this muscle? No. In order to get that muscle, I can’t ignore
what’s happening here and just bend my wrist back. I have to get these bent all the way back,
and straight. See? I’m keeping that nice, and long. Now when I have them bent back and then the
wrist is bent back, and now it’s down straight, elbow extension here; now I really feel that
stretch. So, if you’re going to stretch it out you’ve
got to make sure – especially on that fourth finger – that you are straightening it out
and getting it back. At the same time, you want to keep those other
fingers straight. So, you stretch it out, you ice it if you
have to, sometimes anti-inflammatories if it’s really that bad, avoiding the things
that are really causing the problem in the first place, but easing yourself back in. Learning how to grip that bar properly and
now understanding, finally, what the hell is causing this pain over here, because it
usually comes, and people have no idea what caused it. This is what it is, guys. I promise you, if you start following what
I show you here it’s going to get better. So, I hope you’ve found this video helpful. Again, anatomy, the muscle markers, everything
matters. Every muscle. This is the first time I’ve ever drawn on
my forearm, but it doesn’t make it any less valuable, as you see, because when there’s
forearm pain it screws up your entire workout. All these muscles matter. We make sure all of it is covered and put
into all of our programs because we do like to put the science back in strength to build
your entire body from head to toe – and fingertip – to keep you training and looking
like an athlete. It’s all over there step by step. In the meantime, if you’ve found this video
helpful leave your comments and thumbs up below. Let me know what else you want me to cover
and I’ll do my best to do that for you in the days and weeks ahead. All right, see you soon.

100 Comments

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  2. Just got elbow pain from high volume of pulls ups. It’s gonna suck cutting down on the frequency (every other day) for a while.

    Nevertheless, thank you.

  3. Alot of the time when I lift heavy the bar slips to the top of my hands. towards the fingers, I had no idea that could cause my elbow pain. it makes sense

  4. Is this the same as ulnar nerve entrapment? Feel tingling sensation in my ring and pinky finger and trying to figure out how to fix it

  5. Thank you Jeff. I was Really
    really scared with this. 2 weeks and the pain is still there even without Back and biceps training but you said 6/8 weeks off so I Will train hard legs and shoulders that time..you are great

  6. You was bang on about this one I’m trying to hold the bar in the way that you’re saying I still have a little pain but I’m trying to work with it And it’s working out 10 times better

  7. My tendonitis is coming from my thumbs. I have to find THAT video! I would pay $100 for a DVD that puts all these videos together to show me how to exercise properly and prevent injury.

  8. I have developed a similar issue but that test didn't cause any pain to me either. What could be the reason be for my condition? I started feeling it the first time after I started incorporating forearm workouts in my routine but I feel like it's only bcoz of going heavy on the benches. It's in my right elbow but also a trigger point like stiffness at the back of my right shoulder and traps and scapular region. The pain in the elbow is also on both above and below the joint not just above

  9. Wow. I think Jeff just saved my farmer carries, and pullups and curls and who knows what other exercises. Thanks Jeff; you do GOOD.

  10. I was doing inclined bench leg raise and after completing the set My right index finger started to tingle and it felt numb. I have no clue what to do. It happened today

  11. I was having that pain right there where you said, before I went o vacation. Now I should be abe to correct. Thanks a lot for the info.

  12. Been dealing with that for years thinking it was a symptom of carpal tunnel, I may have been causing the inflammation with incorrect finger positioning. I could feel the discomfort specifically when stressing the 4th finger, and could feel it stretching. Thanks!

  13. Do you have anything for the lateral side of the elbow? I noticed it doing reverse curls one day and it has killed me ever since, weeks and weeks.

  14. Can this pain show up in the bicep. I am a former college golfer, who plays a lot, and after pulling days, with curls, gets very sore distal bicep tendonitis. Is this normal from weak forearms? I feel it in the bicep.

  15. I injured this muscle while also doing 100+ pushups a day. I thought it was related to those pushups somehow. Thanks for the clarity and for the rehab tips. Always spot on as usual.

  16. What if the pain is on the opposite side of the elbow and with the middle finger causing tightness and pain in the outer forearm to the elbow?

  17. You are a legend was just about to head to the gym and cause myself more pain in the elbow. Thank you for your awsome content. Now I can work on getting it better rather than f#cki%g it more.👍👍

  18. This happens to me when I do squats. I realize I'm holding the bar with this part of my fingers. How else do you hold the bar when you squat???

  19. I’m 42 and I thought this pain was over use of weight training and age, this video literary is the best revelation in training I have ever watched!! Thankyou so much!!

  20. Amazing Jeff! I had been struggling with this injury for months. Finally I know and on my way to recovery. Loved the specific stretch, it felt a relief right away

  21. Hi Jeff, I did a surgery on my ulnar nerve, more specifically an ulnar decompression. I know a lot of people struggle with this issue, and whilst this video showed a lot on how to deal with the issue with back exercises, could you also elaborate more on training around it, for instance how to reduce muscle waste or even regaining your finger muscles? Also some info on how to train triceps and shoulders with this issue 🙂 Great channel!

  22. I've been a subscriber to this channel for a number of years. I've had golfers elbow since at least, july/August, all these other doctors/trainers etc videos on here, know mostly, at best, what's going on. Jeff hit my particular problem, on the head
    . Thank you Jeff

  23. Darn dude, you are soooooooo informative….. bless you Jeff, it’s exactly my elbow issue….. and thanks for the tips..

  24. Now you got me confused. In this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kTNk3qEuLM) you give a somewhat different reason and a completely different cure to elbow pain. I don't have the pain when doing the ring-finger-pull, but I feel it when cutting bread, for instance. And of course when doing pulling exercises.

  25. Thank you soo much bro, I'm bodybuilding and you are my teacher. I appreciate your dedication to making these videos for us. I cant believe you have haters, I'll never understand why. Your info and how you explain it is legendary. God bless you

  26. Holy shit Jeff you're a life saver! I've been getting this elbow pain for about a week now and this has been very helpful!

  27. In another video that I remember, Jeff, you cited too much flexion of the wrist as causing medial elbow pain. Maybe you should do a single video combining both of theses pieces of advice: 1) Don't cheat the final few inches of any pull by flexing your elbow, and 2) Don't hold any bar, including a dumbbell, too far away from the palm and too far toward the fingers.

  28. Fascinating and really useful video thankyou. Could you do a similar video for pain affecting the outside of the elbow. I've had reduced strength due to pain on the outside (radial?) Of my elbow. (Shovelling 20T of stone in a day so lots of dynamic movement and repetition). With palms up, the elbow pain was accompanied with muscular stiffness leading from my elbow up the same side of my arm to just below my thumb. I think this is less about finger joints than it is about wrist movement.

    So far I've managed to make the wrist pain disappear by playing more guitar and continuing to exercise the wrist. But the elbow pain is proving harder to get rid of.

    Hope you can help! Keep up the great content.

  29. Thank you, Jeff!! I’ve been living with this pain for months, and I was too stubborn to get it checked out. This is exactly what’s going on with my elbow. Thank you!!

  30. Jeff cavaliere sir!!!
    Hats off to you.
    I m from India
    Big fan of yours

    The way you explain the minute details is amazing.

    I was having this problem and i asked the gym instructor about it and he had no idea, he just said that "this is just because you are lifting heavy for the first time and it's totally normal.
    Everyone faces this issue, you can ignore it!!"

  31. Amazing mine of information, thank you! I have this on the lateral side after restarting lifting in my fifties, would love to see the same info for tennis elbow. Nobody else seems to describe it so concisely and clearly.

  32. Wow. I knew my pain was coming from my wrist and hand. I suffer from carpal tunnel. But it stays at bay with a brace at night. But this pain in the elbow is excruciating! Thanks Jeff!! You are a great help. I will be on the recovery road now..

  33. This injury hit me hard a few years ago. I couldn’t get over the pain it was so intense. Went to joint and pain specialists, spent over $1000 on PRP and cortisone injections, voodoo ultrasound therapy, etc with no resolve. Finally eased up on the weight and found an amazing massage therapist. Still get the pain frequently, but only very mild and manageable with massage and rest. I’ll be focusing on my grip and that stretch from now on!
    New subscriber Jeff, I’m really enjoy learning from your content. Thank you!

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