The Truth About Tennis Elbow (WHAT REALLY CAUSES IT!)

The Truth About Tennis Elbow (WHAT REALLY CAUSES IT!)

What’s up guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.COM. Today we’re going to talk all about Tennis
Elbow, and really, what the hell’s causing it in the first place because a lot of you
out there who deal with this common, very common orthopedic issue, aren’t playing
any tennis at all, but you’ve been really having a hard time getting rid of it. Well we have to, as we always say here, start
looking somewhere other than where it hurts. If you really want to get to the root cause
of what’s going on with whatever orthopedic issue you’re dealing with, whatever issue is preventing you from getting
your best workouts in, or competing, you have to start looking at the place that’s not hurting. At least start looking above and below where
it’s hurting. So let me explain a little bit. When we’re talking about Tennis Elbow, we
know that it’s this spot right here on the outside of the forearm that’s killing us. But, does it mean that that’s the cause? No,
we know, already we know that 99 percent of the time, when something’s hurting, it’s a breakdown of one of the supporting
areas or joints that’s causing this one to start bearing all the brunt . And especially when the joint in question
here is one of those more stable and immobile joints, and that’s exactly what you’re dealing
with here in the elbow. All it likes to do here is hinge up and down.
That should remind you of something else. The knee. The knee, we’ve talked about before in other
videos, how the knee deals with all of the inabilities of the hip and the ankle to do
their own job. When the ankle breaks down, or the mobility
of the ankle is either too much or too little, it sends stress up through the knee. When the hip is either too tight or too weak,
it sends stress down towards the knee. The same thing happens here in the elbow. So before you start thinking, ‘Oh I’ve got
to sit here and rub the outside of my elbow because my therapist told me to do that,’
or ‘I’ve got to really strengthen the outside
of my forearms by doing a lot of wrist extensions, right, you know, wrist extensions with dumbbells,
because I have weak forearm extensors.’ That’s probably going to cause you to have
even more pain. And I can tell you this, it’s not going to fix your problem. So, we’ve got to start thinking a little bit
differently. If you look at your forearm, a lot of times guys the weakness is not on
this side of the forearm that everyone tells you it is. It’s actually a weakness on this side of the
forearm, completely counter to what you’ve been told. So, here’s how that all that out. If your
forearm flexors are weak, and let’s go back to tennis because it’s going to be an easy
way for us to describe its function, if you’re playing tennis and you have to serve,
right, you know that a lot of wrist flexion, powerful wrist flexion will come in as the
racket comes down to execute that serve. Guess what happens if you don’t have enough
power to execute that flexion? You have to, you have to create it. And you create that by preloading the wrist
flexors, by putting them on stretch very much the same way that if we want to jump high,
we don’t start from here. We have to preload the quads and glutes by
leaning, you know, by squatting down to jump. Well, the same thing will happen here, but every single time you have to execute that
powerful wrist flexion, you’re going to have to preload back here and you get an overuse
of that muscle. It’s not that it’s weak. It’s being
asked to do a job that it wasn’t meant to do. And that’s to pick up the slack for the
muscles on the other side. So, the first thing you’re going to want to
do is start evaluating. Where are you getting the pain? What is the activity that’s causing
it? And maybe see if it could be something related
to your forearm. See, in this video there’s no one fix. And anybody that tells you that
there’s one fix is not telling you the truth. There’s no one fix, but I got to at least
get your mind thinking where it might be. And certainly get it off of the area that
everyone else is telling you that it’s on. Because, I know long term you’re going to
have a much better shot at fixing this. That said, the next place you’re going to
want to look, up here in the shoulder. When we look at the shoulder here, how could
the shoulder have anything at all to do with what’s going on here at the elbow? A lot, because they’re attached. We all know
guys, this is one bone that comes down and feeds into the elbow. So whatever’s mechanically happening up here,
just like whatever’s happening at the hip, is going to have a carry-over effect into
what the joint does below that. So, guys with bad posture, we all know, there’s
a whole bunch of them running around the gyms all the time. The internal shoulder rotation here. The rounded
shoulder posture. What does that do? It creates an internal rotation of the arm. The internal rotation of the arm creates a
pronation here of our forearm. Right, it all kind of comes together. That’s sort of this
posture here. If you have this prolonged internal rotation,
flexor pronator tightness, you’re going to get a prolonged stretch on the outside of
the extensors on the opposite side. Remember what happens when we have prolonged
stretch? We get weakness. So, we could have weakness, see. It’s not always at black
or white. We could have weakness. But guess what? It’s wasn’t that we just
didn’t do enough of the wrist extensor dumbbell exercises. Because you could do all these
that you want. If you don’t fix this posture, it’s never
going to really help to counteract what’s going on at this forearm. And that’s, I think,
the issue here. You’re told to do one thing. That’s only part
of the problem. And again, it’s not really that. If you could reposition this shoulder
in the right place, maybe you’ll still have the adequate strength
in that forearm to not have caused that in the first place because once you restore the
normal length-tension in there, you’ll be alright. So, lastly, athletes, throwing athletes, again
the tennis server, the football player, the baseball player, anybody that has to throw
or you know, try to decelerate, if you don’t have the proper strength and
mechanics here back through your shoulder blade and scapula to eccentrically decelerate
your arm, guess what’s going to try to kick in and do
the job that that’s not doing? Once again, you’re right. It’s the outside of your forearm because
you can see that if my muscles are supposed to be decelerating my arm here so that it
doesn’t fly off of my body into the camera right at you, if it’s not doing it, it’s going to try
its damnedest every single step of the way, all the way through this kinetic chain until
the very last chance I have, which is right through my hand as I let go
of the ball, if I don’t have it there, I’m going to try my hardest right down through
the forearm, and we’re going to get a really overactive
use here, eccentrically of our forearm extensors to try to accomplish that. So, here I’m not getting help, I’m not
getting help, my arm is coming in too quickly. I really have to hold up on my wrist here
in this extended position. I put a lot of stress up on this bundle up
here. And again, yeah I’m trying to do my damndest as a wrist extensor to help, but it’s not doing me any good in the long
term because all it’s doing is giving me a hell of a lot of pain. So, I hope guys that you can see that to fix
this problem, to fix one of the most common orthopedic problems around, it doesn’t matter
what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter how you got it. You have
to start looking at least below down in your wrist into your forearm, or up onto your shoulder.
And most of all and stop doing this. Stop wearing your braces that you put over
here that you buy at Walgreens. And stop thinking that just doing these exercises is going to
fix your problem. You’ve got to make sure that you’re doing
the right things to attack this problem long term. Alright guys, if you like these kind of videos,
remember we break out Raymond every now and then so we can do some more of the PT’esk
videos. But, I want to know about it. Let me know.
Leave your comments below. What are the issues that you’re dealing with,
and I’ll make sure I cover them in the video. But at the end of the day, it’s all about
keeping you in the gym and functioning as best that you possibly can. And when I write my programs as a Physical
Therapist, I do exactly that. It’s about getting bigger, yes esthetically.
It’s about getting stronger, yes. We want you to perform better. But if you can’t stay healthy, then it’s not
going to mean a damn at all. So I’ve got to make sure that when we write
our programs, we’re writing them using science and putting it back in strength. And that’s what we do. If you haven’t already
guys, head to ATHLEANX.COM right now. Get our 90 Day Training Program and see what
it’s like to train like an athlete, to stay healthy and perform at your best. Because a lot of times we never, ever get
a chance to experience that. We’re always banged up. Alright guys. We’ll be back here again in
just a couple days. Let me know if this one helped you out.



  • yaris

    ok… i have this kind of pain for a week now… sad, idont wanna stop exercising 😭😢

  • Micah Edwards

    I got tennis elbow from laying block. Not sure how I avoid aggravating it.

  • Woo Hoo

    I don't like this guys attitude

  • Woo Hoo

    So bad posture is causing tennis elbow…? U didn't Say shit about how to fix

  • Nasty forYou

    I think this guy is getting a boner manipulating the skeleton 😂

  • Ricksterific

    He says look somewhere else. Says nothing about what to do about it.

  • thatsmydawg

    I went to a physical therapist and she did dry needling. She poked me in the peck, tricep in a couple spots and my elbow. First appointment went well i didn’t have pain for 4-5 days and i went back 3-4 more times and ive had constant pain since then. To this day it still hurts

  • Shalona_Sweden

    I've done nothing more than scrolling my YouTube lists, woke up with a pain from hell! Hope this'll help 🙏

  • Petar Dambovaliev

    he says what not to do but he didn't say what to do.
    it's not very helpful.

  • 95TurboSol

    Good information but not helpful at all.

  • Nadir Shabbir

    Thank You, Its really very useful information. 🙂

  • Carlos Barragan

    thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • pupnirn

    Well done….no one fix!


    How would you correct lateral epicondylitis and do you prevent it? I lift, I don’t play tennis or anything like that that you are reviewing in this video. By the way, I completely enjoy watching your videos.

  • Becker Huidrom

    Tell us what are we going to do to get better?

  • Michele Kurlan

    Thankyou Jeff.You have something for everything here and i have thee worst tennis elbow that i noticed fom the start felt like it began in my hand..either there ot shoulder. Gonna run this vid across sports med doc this week. Bet he alreadh follows your stuff! this is just what i needed to view in advance of this upcoming appointment.

  • Angel Garza

    Ive had elbow pain for about 2 weeks now after an arm wresting match, it hasn't gone away and Im scared it might be something worse than Tennis elbow or tendonitis, its only mild pain during certain movements but its preventing me from lifting weights, especially bench pressing.

  • Timothy Haskell

    I got it from riding a mountain bike. Wasn't keeping my writs straight. I was preloading the top of my forearm. I bought top quality handlebar grips and learned how to massage the affected areas and now it's OK

  • BDO NandigramII

    How can i fix this problem ?

  • Johny40Se7en

    Thanks to you, over a short time I've learnt from you that the Human Body's like the eco systems of the Planet, they're all connected.

  • Robrony Hoodlum

    My problem is, it hurts when i grip something. Or squeeze a stress ball. And the pain is on top of arm above the elbow. What is the cause and the cure?

  • F A

    Thank you for the insight of arm movement and what to work on to avoid my son arm getting hurt🙏

  • J Lay

    jeff, do you have references for this info so i can put into my assignment please?

  • sony x5

    Hi Jeff.. So which exercises do you recommend… You mentioned what we shouldn't rely on.. So what do you suggest? Or recommend

  • Nunya .Bidness

    Damn, get to the point already! Too much talking!

  • semgil1

    Were did you get all that wisdom?

  • Massimo Defilippo

    Carpal tunnel syndrome pleasr

  • Robert Epling

    Wish u would talk about cure.. like.. 2 exercises that will help??? Skip all the stuff up to that point

  • James Wamsley

    You rock!

  • jachl 2012

    Very interesting. Can you provide the specific shoulder, back, etc exercises to do to heal elbow pain. Thanks for all you do !!

  • Maria Brean

    Hi, can you please make similar video on Bicep Femoris injury. I hurt back of my knee while squating withe heavy weight. I am not able to recover for more than a month.

  • Jan Saßmannshausen

    thanks from Germany, you really help me out.

  • Dan M

    Feel like you didn't say anything at all tbh…

    For those wondering how to help. It heal:

    Mark Rippetoe swears by high volume chin ups.

    A lot of people have success with a Flexbar and doing "Tyler twist"

  • Carl H

    I'm struggling with tennis elbow which flares up when I apply grip pressure in any way.
    Anyone had this problem and fixed it?
    Its ruining my workouts and combat training too

  • Caroline

    My "tennis elbow" is caused from constant typing. I do data entry for almost 10 hours per day. Is there anything else I can do to help relieve this pain. It's like a cramping feeling in my elbow and ache in my shoulder. Thanks for your help.

  • Prime2.0

    League of legends

  • Brett

    What if both inside and outside are sore?

  • Lauren Lipuma

    can you show us exercises to prevent/fix tennis elbow?

  • Ef Ts

    stupidity. nothing new. Downvote everybody

  • Renae W

    Suggestions on where to started if there's issues with both shoulder and wrist? I sprained my shoulder playing fast-pitch JV ladies softball, practiced pitching near everyday. My wrist I obtained with my second child, he was a challenging babe, and HEAVY, he had colic so we held him a lot to jounce and move him to ease his colic. I was a vet tech 9 years, now I am a residential painter's apprentice. It's affecting my job, and I want to be the best I can be. I'm almost 45 any suggestions?

  • Syed Zameer Ali

    Days are turning into years but your body is same as 2014#jeff

  • Carlos Banda

    I was doing reverse Curls and felt a hot sting in the area he is talking about… What can i do to fix that problem Tennis elbow? No!… I have Gym Elbow…

  • Steve Gordonson

    As someon who has had tennis elbow this is the first really good explanation of what is going on and where to look . Thanks Jeff. I now have another different elbow issue but its an irritation of the nerve in the back of the elbow any insights for that ?

  • MannyXsicko 818

    Does this hurt by doing push-ups or chin ups ? Mine does ? I mean I’m not sure if I have this tho. I was using my bike and it started hurting as well but the most pain comes from doing some weights . But most pain came from my left elbow which is weaker cause I’m a righty . Lol

  • V 17

    I'm suffering because of tennis elbow

  • Molana Rumi

    Save 8 minutes and go on to next video. This info totally useless.

  • Totok Shiatsu

    Terapi sendi sembuh dengan minum oli sendi dan. Terapi relaksasi ligamen Insyaallah sembuh ditempat. Kontak Terapis Sport massage Agus Parjito.wa. 087836 280086.

  • Laramie Grinde

    I'm having this issue but I'm a rock climber. I started pushing grade and within three weeks my elbows started hurting.

  • Kaleidoscope

    Brilliant video. Thanks Jeff!

  • do br

    Anyone with tennis or golfer's elbow should try CBD. In fact anyone who lifts weights should. The DOMS I get has decreased significantly, the soreness that used to last 4 days now lasts 2 days. Soreness has also dramatically reduced in terms of severity, I actually miss not feeling as sore.

  • Diamondgirl08

    EXCELLENT 👍! Thank You ❤️😊.

  • Richy Kid

    Right elbow has so much pain I can’t do bicep curls atm.
    Even grabbing a bottle a water hurts

    Love to be able to get rid of the pain

  • Michael V

    Good info. Poor audio though.

  • Donald Trump

    I have chronic tennis elbow, and couldn't heal it on my own so I sought professional help through physical therapy. I've seen 3 doctors, and finally making progress. The longer you have it, the harder it is to heal. Learned some great things and SLOWLY making progress.

    Few tips, buy a brace that immobilizes your elbow while you sleep, so you can't keep with the elbow bent in the fetal position at night. Elbow needs to be straight. Second get a theraband flexbar, depending on your injury start light to medium resistance. Perform an eccentric motion on the elbow, with a slow release. Theraband resistence bands also help. Lastly, don't over work your arm. You can't plow your way through this injury. 2 sets of 10 morning and night is plenty.

    More aggressive approach is blood flow treatment, and dry needling. A few visits to a physical therapist who specializes in sports may help.

  • Emaad Awazem

    Mine cracks

  • Single Dad Life

    You’re full of shit dude…

  • Brandon Hill

    What about tennis elbow pain from push excersises like bench press?

  • Trevor Neil

    the title says what it is, nice to hear someone who knows what they are talking about!

  • A Van Called Rupert

    I've had to stop bicep curls and lateral raises because they gave me this .

    I'm going to ditch all isolation movements . I never used to do them I'd just do power and Olympic pluss pull ups . Never had an injury in 20 years working out that way .

  • Mac Curtis

    Sounds like improper body mechanics while playing any sport or activity? Tennis, baseball (pitching), basketball, golf, etc, etc.

  • Nick M

    So basically it could be caused by your shoulder, forearm or bicep? Wtf

  • Totok Shiatsu

    Bengkel atlit specialis Hamstring. Enkle, Lutut cidera, kram perut sembuh ditempat dan recovery atlit. Sport massage Agus Parjito. Wa.087836280086. Karanganyar, Solo. JATENG.

  • Abe Kebe

    4:14 😂😂😂

  • trisha Kay

    Hi there. Thank you for the videos! I just came across them. I have been having wrist, nerve (carpel tunnel is the closet thing I can seem to think it would be) and wavering numbness in my left leg below knee. I broke elbow a couple of months ago and I am a writer. I have spent the last week reading the entire internet basically freaking myself out haha. Curious if you had a video about any of this? The nerve pain has been less since I have been aware of moving more and doing stretches and massaging out arms, legs, back and neck…as much as I can do alone. If you had a video, that would be great. I appreciate any feed back you can give me. If not, ill assume WEBMD is right and im filled with all cancer, pregnant with somebody else baby, and am in the transition of becoming a fascist.

  • Game One

    I have tennis elbow but how do I fix it I had this Since August 1

  • gina blenis

    I mess up my elbow extenders from over used when I pull out and scrap off soooo many weeds in my yard… so how can I fix this please. Every time I pull the weeds I mess up my arm for weeks.

  • Sean Comp

    There is no muscle on the extensor tendon that has any role in pronation/supination. So how can you tell me that rounded shoulders leading to pronation of forearm causes pain in extensor tendon

  • vicusa1


  • mastalee

    I play racquetball so…

  • Jay Vee

    3:05 how Jeff?? Lmao jk man you are the best in the business stay on it my man!

  • Harvie Childers

    How do you correct the rounded posture?

  • George GR

    4 months now I have this pain ,ipaid €200 for MRI scan and didn't show no inflammation, no epicondylitis, no tentons rupture ,no arthritis nothing but still in pain , orthopedic surgeons told me will take long time to recover and to wear a tentonitis brace

  • Danny Boyo

    What really causes it?…..
    The baby jesus.

  • Tristan Petricca

    "Do the right things to prevent this problem." – I'm sorry, did I miss the part where he says how to treat these problems?

  • A Rocha

    I am experiencing this now. And i don't even lift..just exercising very low impact as im still doing p.t. for my back. Before even seeing this video i just knew had to be because my shoulder. My right shoulder is feel like it need to be adjusted and is really tight. Does not have same range if motion as my left..just doing my lil hand weight hurts. I have stopped using them for now. I have 3-10 pd hand weights but can't even use right now. I had feeling was from my shoulder and now after seeing this i definitely feel that's the root cause. But how to fix i dunno. Hopefully chiro or pt can help.

  • Vince Zetti

    rub the muscle firmly. it does wonders.

  • robert bishop

    Good points on this, I’m getting the start of frozen shoulder on the same side as the tennis elbow/ forearm pain. It figures….I’ll treat the frozen shoulder and hopefully it will sort the tennis elbow. In my case, I’m a photographer and I think many hours with a heavy camera has done the damage. Thanks for the cause video.

  • dynasty4851

    I believe you. I've recorded my dips and my pasture is bad!

  • Michelle Acree

    I do like the content but feel that this is not likely where my problem lies.
    Ive been focusing 3-5x weekly on suitcase carries and externally rotating my hands with no upright rows to protect the RC joint. Adding in daily, many of your shoulder mobility and face-pulls movements. But have now caused this tennis elbow pain which is completely new to me. Any suggestions

  • Norse Raven

    I am specifically watching this video for my son who is a pitcher. He’s very muscular, he is round shouldered a bit. He’s been getting elbow pain, pretty much where you are describing. It’s on the outside, right between to two bony areas of the elbow on the soft tissue. I understand keep the forearms strong. But what specific exercises for the shoulders to help ? Pull aparts , Rhomboid exercises ?

  • Jeans Roses

    thank you; that was helpful, to point out that there may be a problem with your shoulder. I have pain in the inner elbow, not the outer tendon, and it's been going on for a few years. But I also have daily tension/pain in the shoulder of that same arm; now I'm wondering if whatever is going on with my shoulder is perpetuating the elbow problem.

  • D G

    Bottom line train your shoulders better don't use weights you can't control on the negative reps. Nice and slow down explode up and squeeze for a moment then continue. Do high reps 10-15. Also bent over dumb bell raises with light weight you can control. Same concept. Good luck I know this pain too. Also stretch the hand by the fingers often.

  • intcomaz

    Hey Jeff, can you do a video about how to train for veritical jumping? Thanks!

  • Red Falcon

    Well, Most of my outer elbow pain occurs when doing chin-ups. But, inner elbow pain when doing pull-ups. I also have pain later after doing bench presses or curls. But, I think some of it is due to my left hand being partially paralyzed and my right hand gets over used. Also, wrestling with kids that have temper tantrums and want to squirm and twist, and resist when you are trying to pick them up or move them seems to put extra stress on the elbows and wrist because they will twist your wrists and elbows in unexpected directions while you are trying to keep from dropping them or letting go of them. Then again, I injured the "water sack" in that elbow years ago too.

  • ShuRiK3Nz YT

    I have that, but on the other side of the elbow…

  • Yonahdieeowjwj M

    I find that i REALLY feel the tennis elbow pain whenever (and mostly only) I do tricep pushdowns, I was thinking it's probably my shoulders/posture, but then why do I only experience the pain on my left forearm/elbow junction and not the right side?

  • ayokay123

    I think Jeff's got a fan…

  • Ostie Guy

    A C9 is heavy. thanks for the tip Jeff u saved my elbows.

  • blacksb1000

    ATHLEAN-X, do you know how to get rid of tennis elbow?

  • M M

    My left shoulder-blade is hurt, and I can feel the pains= shooting all the way down to my elbow; can you plz make a video about shoulderblade injuries, which is very common too; Thanks.

  • Marianne Hislop

    I am trying to solve wrist, forearm, elbow and shoulder pain from playing piano. Initially as a result from an overstitching injury of the thumb about a year ago, now continued pain in these areas. MRI, ultrasound, physiotherapy and a visit to a hand specialist has turned nothing up other than what the specialist deemed to be normal wear and tear. Something is causing it. I am a 46 year old beginner pianist, so not like I'm playing any really hard demanding pieces.

  • Gustas Šadbaras

    Hello, I'm not sure what's the problem with my arms is , but I get anconeus tightness and pain from doing tricep exercises… Any help?

  • Spiritual Jones

    This guy really knows what he’s speaking about I fixed like 3 issues so far thank u sir

  • Spiritual Jones

    When u body build u seriousLy have to work weak points in order to survive

  • Alma Morin

    Wow.. this makes so much more sense!!! Thank you!!

  • Kensky Schulz

    for that purpose only 3 mins video should serve the purpose..

  • Mike Seale

    Doing reverse biceps curls with a rope like an ignorant gymbro is what gave me tennis elblow. Took forever to get rid of it. Still comes back once in a while if i am not careful.

  • Crashimir Qualigen

    Very clever! Thank you

  • joshua DSOUZA

    Shit dude im sorry when are you starting dialysis?

  • Zeekly614 M

    i swear I got mine after I got my blood drawn!

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