Kettlebell Tendonitis in right arm (probably golfer's elbow) from kettlebells swings. Forced to back off to heal. Can anybody suggest any alternatives?


First Post
Hi Everyone. Like I said in the title, I think that I've given myself some tendonitis in my right elbow/forearm from doing one-handed kettlebell swings as in "Simple and Sinister". It looks like I'm going to have to back off the swings at least with my right arm in order to heal.

I'd rather not give up swings all together, but I'm also concerned that if I do only swings with my left hand, that I will develop an imbalance on the left side of my body. I'm also concerned that two-handed swings would slow down the recovery of my right arm.

So, I still plan on doing Turkish get-ups because I don't think it will aggravate my arm.

But I was hoping someone could offer some direction on how I might be able to "continue" swings or something approximating them while I let my right arm heal so I don't have to stop entirely.

Could it be a good idea to substitute presses for the swings for the time being? or should I just keep working the left arm until my right is healed?

Thank you in advance for your advice.


First Post
I haven't tested whether the two arm swings would actually aggravate it, I'm just making an inference based on the fact that it is involved at all. Also, I have a suspicion that the two arm swings would not be a great solution as my 50lb kettlebell is already light for a single-arm swing and offers almost no resistance with two arms. Because of the quarantine, I'm limited to the 50 pounder for now.

Thanks for the tip on the BPC-157. I'll definitely look into it.

Papa Georgio

Level 6 Valued Member
I certainly believe you're having issues with your elbow, I'm just not sure how properly executed swings can cause it. I'm far from being an expert, but I've had both golfer's & tennis elbow at separate times from barbell/dumbbell training. Swings never bothered mine, in fact kettlebell swings are what kept my training going during those flare ups.

Are you keeping your wrists and elbows straight during the exercise? Especially on the bottom, trying to resist the drop on the downswing?


Level 5 Valued Member
When I was experiencing a bout of tennis elbow I switched to two handed swings for quite awhile. When I worked one arm swings back in I made sure to use excellent technique and most importantly for me, not grip the bell too hard. I am now back to swinging (one armed) with the 28 and 32 without issue.

Kenny Croxdale

Level 6 Valued Member
I've given myself some tendonitis in my right elbow/forearm

"Graston Technique"

I had Golfer's elbow, years ago.

I was helping at a Powerlifting Meet. A fellow Powerifter was a Chiropractor (Dr David Foster), was helping as well.

He preformed the Graston Technique on my arm. It was painful but felt better afterward.

He showed my wife how to do it. She performed that Graston Technique on me daily for a month, prior to my workouts. So, I didn't have to stop training.

In a month the Golfer's Elbow was gone. I have never had any more problems with it.

I'm also concerned that if I do only swings with my left hand, that I will develop an imbalance on the left side of my body.

Neural Crossover Strength Training ("Crossover Education")

Research has demonstrated that continuing to train your left limb enable you to maintain more strength and size in your injured right limb.

Crossover Strength Training/Crossover Education: "It refers to the mechanism by which strength training of one limb automatically results in increase in strength of the same muscle in the opposite limb which was not exercised. Studies have shown that such strength gain can be close to 20%. The higher intensity strength training used, the greater than effort typically is."

"Studies have also shown that immobilization due to injury or surgery causes rather rapid loss of strength and muscle thickness (around 20% after only three weeks). Using crossover training during such immobilization, recent research have shown that we can essentially maintain normal muscle strength and thickness in the immobilized muscles..."


First Post
I've had a couple biceps tweaks with 1 arm swings in the past as well. I like the work of Keith Barr (UC Davis) for rehabbing minor connective tissue issues (up to grade 2 tears, not for joint issues or full tendon ruptures, etc.). The TLDR is 1) taking a little bit of vitamin C (if you have been eating food with vitamin C earlier in the day, that's plenty), 2) some gelatin 15-30 minutes before training, the easiest source probably being collagen protein supplements: you need 20 grams, and 3) doing daily isometric exercise for 6 minutes or less, 2-3 times per day.

In the case of tennis elbow, isometric curls, would be a good choice. I have done them in 3 positions, near the beginning, middle, and end of the ROM for 20 seconds each position for 2 sets (use a strong towel, rope, door frame, or whatever, be creative). It is imperative that you do not perform exercise for other body parts during these mini-workout sessions. The blood flow into the worked area has been shown to preferentially shuttle the collagen to that area. Any other training would be best done 6 hours apart from these workouts. I would continue these sessions for 1-3 months.

For 2-4 weeks, I would not do any swings. I would do 1 arm, 1 leg stiff leg deadlifts (I know Mike Boyle has some videos on the internet) to maintain some posterior chain strength and nervous system stimulation. Once you subjectively decide your tennis elbow is improving (better ROM, more confidence and strength in the isometric curls), I would do 4 weeks of 2 arm swings. The final step would be replacing a couple of sets every week or 2 with 1 arm swing sets until you're back up to 10 swings (ie 2 sets of 1 arm swings, 8 sets of 2 arm swings for 1-2 weeks, then 4 sets of 1 arm swings and 6 sets of 2 arm swings for a week or 2, and keep progressing).

Disclosure: I'm not a doctor or licensed physcial therapist, I don't play one on the internet or soap operas, etc.

I hope that helps. Good luck.


Level 6 Valued Member
I've deal with elbow pain off and on in my right elbow (which only just remember I fractured in a bike race 20 years ago. I've also been armbarred a lot. It's a few degrees from locking out, while my other elbow will lock out easily. I don't know if that's relevant.) I actually dealing with it right now.

In my experience, it's one of those things that will differ from person to person and eventually you find the 'fix' that works for you.

For me, what works is rest (obviously), manual release (massaging the crap out of it), the theraband "Tyler Twist" exercise (lots of info on Youtube) and lots of hammer curls (broscience cure to elbow pain.) I don't claim this will work with anyone else. That's sort of my point.

Just as importantly, you also need to figure out what caused it and avoid that. That may seem obvious but it isn't always so. I've thought "Well, fixed that. It's over. Now back at it." Only to have it reoccur.

What triggers it for me is straight bar pullups (neutral grip is okay) and letting the wrist bend back on kettlebell presses (and getting a good clean is the key to keeping that wrist straight.) I did a sets of dips with the wrist bent back and triggered it that way.

Good luck.
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