Calisthenics, elbow pain, questions

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John Kowalski

Level 2 Valued Member
I’ve been dealing with some elbows pain for some time now, I think it could be a golfer’s elbow, and I’m trying to figure out what could have gone wrong, so here are a few questions for you:

1. Is it ok for the wrists to flex at the top of the chin up (supinated grip)? I never paid much attention to this detail, but the last time I did them, I noticed that when I pull my chin over the bar my wrists slightly curl to increase the range of motion, it looks like this:

2. Could it be caused by doing pull ups and rows (both pronated) with the grip too narrow (about shoulder width, instead of slightly wider)? I read somewhere that going too narrow with pronated grip could cause something like elbow hyperflexion.

3. Should the wrists stay neutral at all times during the pulling exercises or is it ok for them to flex ( chin ups) or slightly extend (rows)?

4. Could it be caused by doing push ups with a narrow grip (more like diamonds instead of shoulder width)?

All answers and suggestions will be highly appreciated.


Level 8 Valued Member
Try doing neutral grip pull ups with your palms face and ditch the close grip push ups in the diamond position. Try keeping your hands just below your arm pit with them angled out. This works well if you grab a barbell and have your feet elevated. This worked great for me as an assistance move for the bench when I competed in powerlifting.


Level 9 Valued Member
Do wrist pronators
Use bands on your fingers to work the extensors.
Do pull-ups on rings and/or neutral grip
You may also want to avoid pull-ups for some time to give the elbow a rest.
Ditch the diamond push-ups

Steve W.

Level 7 Valued Member
@John Kowalski
Try this:

Get a lacrosse ball.

Stand facing a wall at a corner or doorway such that you can pin the lacrosse ball between your pec and the wall and raise you arm in front of you (like at the top of a swing). In case it isn't clear, you need a corner or doorway because a solid wall wouldn't allow you to raise your arm in front of you.

Pin the ball between your pec and the wall and move it around to find spots that feel tender. When you find a tender spot, keep the ball pinned there and raise and lower your arm ten or more times with the ball pinned in place. Move the ball around to find another tender spot and repeat for as many tender spots as you can find.

Repeat on the other side.

This may or may not work, depending on the cause of the problem. But if it does, you will feel an improvement immediately.
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