How To Cure Triceps Tendonitis (Lifters Elbow Pain) In Only 30 Days

This article covers frequently asked questions about triceps tendonitis from lifting weights (aka posterior elbow pain or lifters elbow), and how to permanently cure it in only 30 days.

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 triceps tendonitis, lifters elbow, triceps brachii muscle and tendon

If you experience triceps tendonitis (pain at the back of the elbow when lifting weights), you've come to the right place. For years I struggled with triceps tendonitis during bench press, shoulder press, push-ups, skull crushers, dips, and triceps extension. I fixed my triceps tendonitis. I will show you how to do the same.

This article covers frequently asked questions about triceps tendonitis. For a detailed article on the root causes of elbow pain from lifting weights, types of elbow tendonitis (tennis elbow, golfers elbow), chronic vs. acute elbow pain, and the fastest way to permanently cure elbow pain, check out this complete guide: elbow pain from lifting weights

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

Triceps Tendonitis: Weight Lifter's Elbow (Frequently Asked Questions)


1. Why does my tricep tendon hurt when lifting weights?

Triceps tendon pain when lifting weights can occur for several reasons, including: restricted triceps muscles, inadequate warm-up of the triceps muscles and triceps tendon before exercising, lifting a weight too heavy (e.g. bench press), bad weightlifting form or technique, sudden increase in training volume (i.e. performing an excessive amount of bench press sets). Any or a combinations of these factors can cause your triceps tendon and elbow to hurt when lifting weights.

2. What is tricep tendonitis (aka lifter's elbow, posterior elbow pain, bodybuilder elbow)?

Triceps tendonitis (aka posterior elbow pain, weightlifters elbow, bodybuilder elbow) is a type of tendonitis where pain occurs at the back of the elbow due to irritation or inflammation of the triceps tendon. It may develop over time (chronic), or occur suddenly from overloading the triceps tendon (acute). In this case, overloading the triceps tendon 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 a triceps-involved exercise (e.g. bench press)

Triceps tendonitis (i.e. lifters elbow, bodybuilder elbow) is common in weight lifting athletes due to the repeated use of the triceps muscles and triceps tendon during weight training exercises: 

  • Bench Press
  • Shoulder Press
  • Push-ups and Pull-ups
  • Clean and Press
  • Triceps Pushdowns, Triceps Pulldowns
  • Overhead Triceps Extensions, Skull Crushers
  • Dumbbell Kickbacks
  • Bar Dips, Chair Dips
Illustration of triceps brachii muscle and triceps tendon highlighting triceps tendonitis pain near triceps tendon

Illustration of the right shoulder joint (scapula, AC joint) and triceps brachii muscles and tendon. Irritation of the triceps tendon due to weight training causes inflammation and pain at the back of the elbow - known as triceps tendonitis or lifters elbow.

3. Can you get tricep tendonitis from lifting weights?

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

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/pectorals. The bench press primarily targets the pectoral, deltoids, and triceps muscles. "Push" exercises such as bench press can trigger or aggravate triceps tendonitis (lifter's 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.

4. What are symptoms of tricep tendonitis from lifting weights?

Symptoms of triceps tendonitis from lifting include the following:

  1. A burning feeling of pain at the back of the elbow after lifting (e.g. bench press, push-ups, dips, skull crushers)
  2. Tenderness, swelling, and soreness at the back of the elbow after lifting
  3. Dull pain and ache at the back of the elbow when lifting weights
  4. Sharp, sudden and severe pain at the back 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

5. Can bench press cause tricep tendonitis (posterior elbow pain)?

When performed properly with good technique, bench press does not cause triceps tendonitis (posterior elbow pain). However, bench press can trigger or aggravate triceps tendonitis and elbow pain.

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

6. What weight lifting exercise should I avoid with tricep tendonitis?

Avoid "push" exercises. "Push" exercises can overload the triceps muscles, inflame the triceps tendon (located at the back of the elbow), and aggravate triceps tendonitis (posterior elbow pain). Common "push" exercises when lifting weights include the following:

  • Bench Press
  • Barbell Close-Grip Bench Press
  • Shoulder Press
  • Push-ups and Pull-ups
  • Clean and Press
  • Triceps Pushdowns
  • Triceps Pulldowns
  • Overhead Triceps Extensions
  • Skull Crushers
  • Dumbbell Kickbacks
  • Bar Dips/Chair Dips
  • Push Press, Military Press
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 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.

7. Can I lift with tricep tendonitis (lifter's elbow)?

It depends on the severity of the triceps tendonitis. If the tendonitis 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 posterior elbow pain when lifting. If the triceps tendonitis is chronic and severe, or causes sharp pain in the elbow when lifting, it's best to treat the root cause of the pain before resuming exercising.

Check out this article for more information about post-workout elbow pain treatment, short term remedies, as well as the fastest way to cure the root cause of lifter's elbow.

8. Does tricep tendonitis go away?

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

    9. How long does it take to get rid of tricep tendonitis?

    Short-term pain relief remedies (e.g. elbow sleeves, elbow brace, elbow wraps, elbow straps) can provide temporary but instant relief for triceps tendonitis.

    Elbow sleeves compress the elbow joint to promote increased blood flow to the elbow, while also keeping the elbow joint and tendons warm. As a result, using elbow sleeps temporarily reduces elbow pain. Unfortunately, the pain returns (and often gets worse) when a person resume lifting without elbow sleeves.

    Alternative solutions, like the TitaniumPhysique program can help you permanently cure triceps tendonitis (in only 30 days), as well as prevent it from coming back.

    Nurudeen performing close grip chin-ups in gym (2022)

    Nurudeen performing close grip chin-ups during back workout at gym (2022). Close grip chin-ups is a variation of the chin-up exercise. Close grip chin-ups primarily target the lower lats muscle and secondarily the deltoids and biceps. Chin-ups can trigger or aggravate elbow pain (both inside and at 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.

    10. What happens if tricep tendonitis goes untreated?

    Triceps tendonitis left untreated become degenerative and can lead to irreversible deterioration of the triceps tendon. Second, the triceps muscle become more chronically restricted, leading to chronic elbow pain. Third, the restricted triceps muscle can cause shoulder pain. Finally, the triceps tendon begin to lose strength and deteriorate, which often lead to tendon tear or rupture - known as elbow tendinosis.

    11. Can lifter's elbow cause permanent elbow pain?

    Yes, it possible for lifter's 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.

    12. Do elbow sleeves help with tricep tendon pain?

    Yes, elbow sleeves can help with triceps tendon pain. Elbow sleeves (including elbow straps, elbow braces, elbow wraps) are a popular option to manage lifter's elbow (pain at back of the elbow) during physical training. 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 lifter's elbow. The relief is temporary, and the elbow tendon pain comes back (and worsens) when a person resumes training without the sleeves.

    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 arm strength. This exercise primarily targets the triceps muscle. "Pull" exercises such as skull crushers can trigger or aggravate 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.

    collage of nurudeen at gym, myofascial massage balls, illustration of right shoulder with elbow pain

    13. What is the best way to heal and cure tricep tendonitis (lifters elbow)?

    To heal triceps tendonitis (posterior elbow pain):

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

    Short-term remedies for triceps tendonitis 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, visit this article to learn more about conventional remedies for elbow pain.

    To cure triceps tendonitis and prevent it from coming back, you can fix the root cause of pain with the techniques explained in the TitaniumPhysique pain-management program

    The ROOT causes of elbow pain when lifting weights are (1) chronic inflammation, (2) magnesium deficiency, (3) muscle restriction. For a detailed blog post (and explainer video), visit this article to learn the root causes of elbow pain and the fastest way to permanently cure it.

    14. How can I get rid of tricep tendonitis fast? (5-Minute Fix)

    To get rid of triceps tendonitis (in only 5 minutes) follow these steps:

    1. Use a peanut ball to massage the triceps brachii muscle and tendon.
    2. Roll out (massage) the muscles with the peanut ball for 3-5 minutes. Stretch the 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 on the back of the elbow (if you experience a sensation of burning pain). For faster results, perform the massage ball exercise 2x a day. Once in the morning and once at night. For a detailed blog post (and explainer video), visit this article to learn how to quickly fix chronic elbow pain.

    15. How do you prevent tricep tendonitis when lifting weights?

    To counteract and prevent triceps tendonitis, follow these steps:

    1. Stretch the triceps muscle (e.g. overhead triceps stretch) before physical training.
    2. Start your workout by warming up the elbow tendon and triceps tendon (e.g. resistance band face-pull 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 blog post (and explainer video), visit this article to learn how to prevent and counteract elbow pain.

              For an easy-to follow video-based guide to cure, counteract, and prevent elbow tendonitis (golfer's elbow, tennis elbow, and triceps tendonitis), consider the new TitaniumPhysique pain relief for athletes program.

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              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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