We can manipulate how we hold different pieces of equipment (dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, cable machine attachments) to target different muscle groups. For example; when completing a barbell bench press, if we use a narrower grip (our hands closer together on the bar) we will target our triceps more than our chest, but if we hold the bar with a wider grip we will target our chest more than our triceps.
However, it is also in our best interest to be mindful of the way in which we position our wrists whilst we lift our weights, as this can lead to overuse injuries!
To help visualize this: our wrists extend and flex – with extension being like we are revving up a motorbike, and flexion being the opposite.
Take the dumbbell bicep curl. If we perform this exercise with our wrists in a flexed position throughout, we take tension away from our biceps and onto our wrist flexor muscles (which we can see if we look at our forearm with our palm facing up to the sky). Doing this will not only limit our bicep gains but also stress our wrist flexor muscles with a load that they likely cannot handle.
Our wrist flexor muscles all attach to a bony segment of the inside of our elbow called the medial epicondyle. Sticking to the bicep curl example, if we repetitively stress the muscles that flex our wrists with a weight they cannot tolerate, it is possible to develop golfer’s elbow – just from trying to train your arms!
To get your elbow pain (golfer’s or otherwise) under control, check in with one of our expert Physiotherapists here.
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