Cure Tennis Elbow From Lifting Weights (Outer Elbow Pain When Lifting)

This article covers frequently asked questions about tennis elbow from lifting weights, and how to fix tennis elbow (outside elbow pain) in 5 minutes or less.

For a video-based guide to cure elbow pain fast, consider the TitaniumPhysique program. A solution created for athletes, by athletes. Take the elbow pain quiz to start now.

illustration of tennis elbow pain and forearm extensor muscles

If you experience tennis elbow lifting weights (or outer elbow pain after lifting), you've come to the right place.

For years I struggled with tennis elbow pain during: bench press, push-ups, pull-ups, triceps extension, and bar dips - among other exercises. I fixed my tennis elbow pain, and I will show you how to do the same.

This article covers frequently asked questions about tennis elbow from lifting weights, and how to fix it in 5 minutes.

For a detailed article on the root causes of elbow pain from lifting weights, the types of elbow tendonitis, chronic vs. acute elbow pain, and the fastest way to permanently cure elbow pain, check out this article: elbow pain lifting weights

Nurudeen Tijani Posing Physique Abs and Chest
Written by: Nurudeen Tijani
Member of American Chronic Pain Association, Personal Trainer, Bodybuilder, Physique Athlete, Yoga Instructor, Wellness Coach

Tennis Elbow From Lifting Weights (Frequently Asked Questions)


What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow (also known as outside elbow pain or lateral epicondylitis) is a type of elbow tendonitis where pain occurs on the outside part of the elbow joint. It may develop over time (chronic), or occur suddenly from overloading the extensor elbow tendon (acute). In the case of lifting weights, overloading the elbow includes:

  • Lifting a weight too heavy
  • An increase in training volume (e.g. performing excessively more sets during a workout)
  • Using bad weightlifting form during exercise (e.g. bench press)

Can you get tennis elbow from lifting weights?

Yes, you can get tennis elbow from lifting weights. However, it's important to note that lifting weight is not the root cause of tennis elbow. Lifting weights simply triggers (acute) tennis elbow or aggravate (chronic) tennis elbow. To learn more about the root causes of elbow pain when lifting weights, check out this article.

What causes tennis elbow when lifting weights? Why does it happen?

What causes tennis elbow when lifting?  - The tendon on the outside part of the elbow (extensor tendon) can become overstressed and inflamed from weight lifting. The inflamed tendon causes inflammatory pain on the outer part of the elbow (tennis elbow) during weight lifting.

Why does tennis elbow happen? - The forearm muscles contract when you do exercises involving the arm. Over time as you continue to lift, the forearm muscles (Extensor Carpi and Radialis Brevis "ECRB") become tighter and shorter. Shortened forearm muscles pull and put tension on the extensor tendon, decreasing the elasticity of the tendon.

A combination of shortened forearm extensor muscles and an inelastic extensor tendon, overloads the elbow joint and causes outer elbow pain during weight lifting.

Illustration of tennis elbow lateral epicondylitis extensor tendons and extensor carpi radialis
Nurudeen performing wide grip pull-ups in gym (2022)

Nurudeen performing wide-grip pull-ups during back workout at gym (2022). Wide-grip pull-ups is a variation of the pull-ups exercise. Wide-grip pull-ups primarily target the upper lats muscle and secondarily the deltoids, biceps and triceps. Wide grip pull-ups can trigger or aggravate tennis elbow (pain on the outside part of the elbow) and triceps tendonitis (pain at the back of elbow).

The Complete Elbow Pain Solution For Athletes

For a video-based guide to cure elbow pain fast, consider the TitaniumPhysique program. A solution created for athletes, by athletes. Take the quiz to start now.

What are symptoms of tennis elbow from lifting weights?

Symptoms of tennis elbow from lifting include the following:

  1. A burning feeling of pain at the outer part of the elbow after lifting (e.g. pull-ups, push ups, bench press)
  2. Tenderness, swelling, and soreness in the elbow after lifting
  3. Dull pain and ache in elbow when lifting weights
  4. Sharp, sudden and severe pain at the outside part of the elbow while lifting
  5. Pain and difficulty bending and straightening arm after working out
  6. Weak grip strength when lifting dumbbells or barbells

How does tennis elbow affect weight training?

Athletes and weightlifters with tennis elbow experience elbow pain during exercises that stress the extensor tendon and ECRB muscles. Common exercises include:

  • Barbell Bench Press (flat, incline, decline)
  • Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Barbell Close-Grip Bench Press
  • Shoulder Presses (dumbbell or barbell)
  • Push Press, Military Press
  • Push-Ups and Pull-Ups
  • Triceps Pushdowns, Triceps Extensions, Bar Dips
  • Machine Chest Press
  • Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
  • Barbell Upright Row

Can bench press cause tennis elbow?

When performed properly with good technique, bench press does not cause tennis elbow. However, bench press can trigger or aggravate tennis elbow and elbow pain.

"Push" exercises such as bench press involve the forearm muscles, triceps muscle, elbow tendons, and elbow joint. During bench press the forearm muscles can get overloaded. When the forearm muscles become overloaded, it can overstretch and inflame the elbow tendons and cause acute elbow pain (sharp pain) or aggravate chronic elbow pain (dull pain).

nurudeen performing flat barbell bench press and incline barbell bench press

Nurudeen performing barbell bench press during a chest workout at gym (2020). The bench press is a highly effective exercise to build upper body strength and the chest. The bench press primarily targets the pectoral, shoulder, and triceps muscles. "Push" exercises such as bench press can trigger or aggravate tennis elbow (outer elbow pain), golfer's elbow (inner elbow pain) and triceps tendonitis (posterior elbow pain).

The Complete Elbow Pain Solution For Athletes

For a video-based guide to cure elbow pain fast, consider the TitaniumPhysique program. A solution created for athletes, by athletes. Take the quiz to start now.

Is it OK to lift weights with tennis elbow?

It depends on the severity of the tennis elbow. If the tennis elbow causes "low to mild" pain, most people can use elbow sleeves, elbow brace, elbow wraps, elbow straps, or other short-term pain relief remedies to reduce tennis elbow pain when lifting.

If the tennis elbow is chronic and severe, or causes sharp pain in the elbow during when lifting weights, it's best to treat the root cause of the pain before resuming exercising.

For more information on elbow pain post-workout treatment, short term remedies, as well as the fastest way to cure the root cause of tennis elbow lifting weights, check out this article.

Does tennis elbow go away?

Yes, tennis elbow can go away if treated early, and if the ROOT causes of the tendonitis are treated. Short-term remedies can help if the tennis elbow is acute (condition is less than three months old). If the tennis elbow is chronic (condition is more than three months old), it usually requires fixing the root cause of the elbow tendonitis to get rid of the pain.

    How long does it take to get rid of tennis elbow?

    Short-term pain relief remedies like elbow sleeves, elbow brace, elbow wraps and elbow straps can provide temporary but instant relief for tennis elbow pain. 

    Elbow sleeves compress the elbow joint to promote increased blood flow to the elbow, while also keeping the elbow joint and elbow tendon warm. This temporarily reduces tennis elbow pain when lifting weights. Unfortunately, the pain usually return and often gets worse when you resume lifting without elbow sleeves.

    Alternative solutions, like the TitaniumPhysique program can help you permanently cure tennis elbow (in 30 days or less), as well as prevent tennis elbow from coming back.

    nurudeen performing seated shoulder press with barbell at gym 2019

    Nurudeen performing seated barbell shoulder press during a shoulder workout at gym (2019). The seated shoulder press is a variation of the shoulder press exercise. The shoulder press is an effective exercise to build upper body and shoulder strength. This exercise primarily targets the deltoids, upper pectoral, and triceps. "Push" exercises such as seated shoulder press can trigger or aggravate tennis elbow, golfer's elbow (pain on the inside part of the elbow), and triceps tendonitis (pain at the back of the elbow).

    The Complete Elbow Pain Solution For Athletes

    For a video-based guide to cure elbow pain fast, consider the TitaniumPhysique program. A solution created for athletes, by athletes. Take the quiz to start now.

    What happens if tennis elbow goes untreated?

    Tennis elbow left untreated become degenerative and can lead to irreversible deterioration of the elbow tendon and elbow joint. When left untreated, the forearm muscles become restricted and inelastic, leading to forearm muscle pain and wrist pain. The extensor elbow tendon lose strength and deteriorate, which often lead to tendon tear or rupture - known as elbow tendinosis.

    Can tennis elbow cause permanent elbow pain?

    Yes, it possible for tennis elbow to cause permanent elbow pain - known as elbow tendinosis. Tendinosis is the deterioration of tendon collagen due to chronic repetitive stress injury - often a result of lifting weights. Tendinosis results in the loss of strength in the tendon and often lead to tendon tear or rupture. It's necessary to treat the root cause of the pain to prevent permanent elbow pain.

    Do elbow sleeves help with tennis elbow pain when lifting?

    Elbow sleeves (including elbow straps, elbow braces, elbow wraps) are a popular option to manage elbow pain (including tennis elbow) during weight lifting. Elbow sleeves compress the elbow tendon and elbow joint. As a result, it temporarily reduces elbow discomfort when lifting, e.g. during bench press.

    Unfortunately, elbow sleeves do not cure the root cause of elbow tendonitis pain. When left untreated, elbow tendonitis can lead to elbow tendinosis and cause irreversible elbow tendon degeneration.

    Nurudeen performing skull crushers aka lying triceps extension

    Nurudeen performing skull crushers during a shoulder and arms workout at gym (2021). Skull crushers is a variation of the Overhead Triceps Extension. Skull crushers is an effective exercise to build upper body and arm strength. This exercise primarily targets the triceps muscle. "Pull" exercises such as skull crushers can trigger or aggravate golfer's elbow (inner elbow pain), tennis elbow (outer elbow pain), and triceps tendonitis (posterior elbow pain).

    The Complete Elbow Pain Solution For Athletes

    For a video-based guide to cure elbow pain fast, consider the TitaniumPhysique program. A solution created for athletes, by athletes. Take the quiz to start now.

    How do I stop tennis elbow pain when lifting weights?

    To stop tennis elbow pain when lifting weights, do this:

    1. Use short-term pain remedies that provide temporary relief to elbow pain - or - 
    2. Fix the root cause of elbow pain to cure and prevent it from coming back.

    Short-term pain relief remedies for tennis elbow from lifting include: joint supplements and vitamins, anti-inflammatory painkillers (NSAIDs), physical therapy, stretching, "Ice and Rest therapy", elbow braces, elbow straps, elbow sleeves, kinesiology tape, and topical anti-inflammatory solutions (oils and creams).

    For a detailed explainer on conventional remedies to stop elbow pain, check out this article.

    To cure elbow pain and prevent it from interfering with your workouts, you can fix the root cause of elbow pain. The ROOT causes of elbow pain when lifting weights are (1) chronic inflammation, (2) magnesium deficiency, (3) muscle restriction.

    For a detailed article (and explainer video) on the root causes of elbow pain and how to cure it, check out this article.

    How can I get rid of tennis elbow fast? (Fix Elbow Pain In 5 Minutes or Less)

    To get rid of tennis elbow fast (in 5 minutes of less) follow these steps:

    1. Use a peanut ball to massage the forearm extensor muscles, forearm flexor muscles, and triceps brachii muscle and tendon.
    2. Roll out (massage) the muscles with the peanut ball for 3-5 minutes. Stretch the forearm muscles and triceps muscles after the massage. 
    3. Perform the massage ball routine once a day. Rest the muscles the following day. Then repeat the routine again.

    On day when you're not using the massage ball, you can apply an ice pack to the elbow (if you continue to experience burning pain). For faster results, perform the massage ball exercise 2x a day. Once in the morning and once at night.

    For a detailed article (and explainer video) on how to get rid of chronic elbow paincheck out this article.

    For an easy-to-follow video-based guide to permanently cure elbow tendonitis (including tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, triceps tendonitis), consider the new TitaniumPhysique program.

    How do you prevent tennis elbow when lifting weights?

    To prevent and counteract tennis elbow from lifting weights, follow these steps:

    1. Stretch the triceps muscle and forearm muscle before lifting (for example, forearm extensor stretch).
    2. Start your workout by warm-up the elbow tendon and triceps tendon (e.g. resistance band pull-aparts exercise).
    3. When lifting, incrementally add weights to avoid sudden overload of the triceps tendon and elbow tendons.
    4. Learn and always good weight lifting technique. To learn proper lifting technique, check out the Exercise Database & Library (by the American Council on Exercise).
    5. Incrementally increase training volume (i.e. be mindful about doing an excessive amount sets per workout).
    6. Supplement with magnesium to heal and decalcify the elbow tendons. Magnesium also relax muscles to reduce pain.
    7. Use a peanut ball to massage the forearm extensor muscles, forearm flexor muscles, and triceps brachii muscle and tendon. Roll out (massage) the muscles with the peanut ball for 3-5 minutes. Stretch the forearm muscles and triceps muscles after the massage. Perform the massage ball routine once a day. Rest the muscles the following day. Then repeat the routine again.

              For a detailed article (and explainer video) on how to prevent and counteract elbow pain, check out this article.

              For an easy-to-follow video-based guide to permanently cure elbow tendonitis (including tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, triceps tendonitis), consider the new TitaniumPhysique program.

              How to treat chronic elbow tendonitis pain

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              Fix push ups elbow pain 
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              Cure golfer's elbow (pain inside elbow)
              Cure tennis elbow (pain outside elbow)
              Cure triceps tendonitis (back of elbow)
              Nurudeen Tijani, Author & Founder at TitaniumPhysique
              Written by: Nurudeen Tijani

              Nurudeen (aka T.J) has a passion for helping people build the body they desire through weight training. He is a physique and fitness trainer, nutritionist, yoga instructor, vegan natural bodybuilder, National Physique Committee (NPC) competitor, and founder at TitaniumPhysique. Nurudeen is a member of the International Association Study of Pain (IASP) and the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA).

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