Is the increase in pull up volume causing my wrist and forearm pain?

tsp7221

Level 1 Valued Member
I used to do 10 sets of pull ups a week in the 6-8 reps range over two sessions. I've been doing this for four months up until December 2018, and never had any lingering forearm pain.

In the past 5 weeks, I've found myself with more time, and have decided to do 5-7 sets of pull ups everyday (at the same rep range). Initially, I became more proficient at them. However, in the last 3-5 days I've been experiencing continuous forearm and wrist pain (mostly the former), especially after each pull up session. The pain is only in my left forearm and wrist, which are weaker than my right. I have no pain around the elbow area though.

I've also put on 3kg/6.5 lbs bodyweight during this period. Everything else about my training has remained unchanged.

Is this increase in volume a possible explanation for my forearm and wrist pain? Could this be a sign of overuse? TIA
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@tsp7221, welcome to the StrongFirst forum.

Is this increase in volume a possible explanation for my forearm and wrist pain? Could this be a sign of overuse?
Yes and yes.

Take a bit of time off, ease back in so long as the pain doesn't return. If at all in doubt as to whether you might have done something that requires medical attention, get yourself to the doctor before resuming.

-S-
 

tsp7221

Level 1 Valued Member
@tsp7221, welcome to the StrongFirst forum.


Yes and yes.

Take a bit of time off, ease back in so long as the pain doesn't return. If at all in doubt as to whether you might have done something that requires medical attention, get yourself to the doctor before resuming.

-S-
Thanks for the reply. I'm glad to hear that this is only an overuse injury. Do you have any experiences with injuries from this kind of increase in volume that could help you estimate how long before I could resume doing pull ups?

As an update, my wrist pain has mostly subsided (yay). Now most of the discomfort is in my brachioradialis, and it hurts when I either supinate my wrist, or when I flex my elbow with a neutral or pronated wrist. Does this help the diagnosis in any way?
 

tsp7221

Level 1 Valued Member
You'd really wanna ask a phys. Therapist. Maybe try some light bands in the meantime and get some volume on that. I would rest the chins / pull ups / rows :)

Dont let it get you discouraged man!
Thanks for the encouragement. I really hope this injury is minor, and that I'll be able to resume pull ups soon. Higher volume pull ups have really blown up my lats and traps, but next time round I'll be more careful with the frequency progression
 

pet'

Level 8 Valued Member
Hello,

@tsp7221
Yes it can be a sign of overuse. Take it easy. I do not think the increase in weight is a factor because it remains quite progressive.

The best option here is to have a break. Afterwards, did you consider varying the grip (pull up, chin up, using a towel, etc...). You can also work on rings. That way, your joints naturally find their most comfortable angle. As an example, I felt exactly the same when I was training the front lever on a daily basis (like you, only a few sets). I felt a pain in the wrists. Then, I used rings and the pain disapeared, even if I used the same training volume.

Kind regards,

Pet'
 

tsp7221

Level 1 Valued Member
Hello,

@tsp7221
Yes it can be a sign of overuse. Take it easy. I do not think the increase in weight is a factor because it remains quite progressive.

The best option here is to have a break. Afterwards, did you consider varying the grip (pull up, chin up, using a towel, etc...). You can also work on rings. That way, your joints naturally find their most comfortable angle. As an example, I felt exactly the same when I was training the front lever on a daily basis (like you, only a few sets). I felt a pain in the wrists. Then, I used rings and the pain disapeared, even if I used the same training volume.

Kind regards,

Pet'
Thanks Pet' for your response. When the pain first arose, I switched to the chin ups for about two days, and the pain continued to worsen (that was right before I started this thread).

I have never tried any pull ups or chin ups with rings, and have considered buying a pair in light of my injury
 
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Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I'm glad to hear that this is only an overuse injury. Do you have any experiences with injuries from this kind of increase in volume that could help you estimate how long before I could resume doing pull ups?
I wouldn't be saying "only" - I had shoulder overuse injuries that took over a year to return to normal.

Visiting a medical professional, especially one experienced with athletes, is a good idea.

-S-
 

tsp7221

Level 1 Valued Member
I wouldn't be saying "only" - I had shoulder overuse injuries that took over a year to return to normal.

Visiting a medical professional, especially one experienced with athletes, is a good idea.

-S-
Thanks S, I'll see how things turn out over the next couple of weeks. If I don't see any recovery progress, I'll definitely seek professional medical help
 

Troglodyte

Level 6 Valued Member
I upped my volume of pull ups back in August. I went from the 3RM FPP three times a week to doing a set number of pull ups EMOM for ten minutes three times one week, then two times the next, and AB split. My left elbow still hurts if I move it just so. I will see a physical therapist when I re-deploy back to the US, but the thing that has helped it the most has been to lay of pull ups as in don't do any. I can still do 2H swings, snatches and deadlifts, so I've got that going for me.

Like others have said, you might want to go see a physical therapist and stop doing pull ups right now. Like Steve said, you don't want this turning into a year long saga of trying to get better.

Paul
 
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Kyle Kowalczuk

Level 4 Valued Member
Is you pulling and pressing ratios out if wack? Usually a 2:3 ratio with more pulling than pressing. However if you e only been pulling you may have developed some antagonist muscle inhibition in your pressing muscles
 

TOGGS

Level 5 Valued Member
I would also suggest doing some wrist/hand extensor work if you aren't already.

Hand strength imbalances create discomfort in various areas of the lower arm. After years of backing off and building back up, only to have elbow and wrist problems come up again, I finish all workouts with some form of hand or wrist extension work, and haven't had a problem in years.
 
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