n Elbow Exercises - AOA Orthopedic Specialists

The elbow is a complex joint that is located in the middle of your arm, and it connects the humerus (the long bone in the upper arm) and the ulna (the thinner and longer of the two bones in the human forearm, on the side opposite to the thumb).

Your elbow is important because it allows you to move your hand into almost any position so that you can perform various activities throughout the day. When your forearm moves toward your body by bending at your elbow, it is referred to as elbow flexion. The opposite movement is called elbow extension.

Muscles of the Elbow

The bicep and tricep muscles are the large muscle groups that allow the elbow to bend and straighten. Your biceps are located on the front of the upper arm, and your triceps are located on the back. The bicep is also responsible for turning your forearm over, so your palm is ​facing up.

Exercising these muscle groups not only increases arm strength but also helps people (especially older adults) perform everyday tasks and activities. Strong elbows and arms help lift you out of a chair and provide you the means to dress yourself, place objects onto a counter, and open and shut doors, cabinets, and drawers.

Exercising the Elbow for Strength

There are many excellent exercises you can undertake to help strength, health, and mobility of the elbow and the muscles surrounding it. 

Let’s focus on three that are suitable to building strength and flexibility no matter what age you are. These exercises can be done at home several times each week to improve muscular function around your elbows.

Isometric Elbow Flexion

Isometric exercises are when you contract muscles around the joint without making any movement. 

Elbow flexion occurs when your forearm moves toward your body after bending the elbow. It is a motion meant to lift objects and involves muscles of the upper arm, including the biceps. To do the isometric elbow flexion exercise you will need to use a table and chair.

To do this exercise correctly:

  • Sit up straight with your hands under the table with them palm-side up.
  • Lift your hands straight upward as if you are trying to lift the table.
  • Hold the position for six seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise 10 times.

Apply as much pressure as you can while doing the exercise without causing any pain. This exercise will strengthen the biceps as well as strengthening the muscles around the radius and ulna bones of your forearm.

Triceps Strengthening

The purpose of this exercise is to use your body weight to employ pressure on the triceps muscles. You will need a chair with armrests able to bear your weight without being in an uncomfortable position.

To do this exercise correctly:

  • Sit in a straight-backed chair with armrests.
  • Put your feet flat on the floor.
  • Place your hands on the armrests and push up with your arms while lifting your derriere slightly off the chair.
  • Hold the position for a count of six.
  • Lower yourself slowly back onto the chair and relax.
  • Repeat this strengthening exercise 10 times.

This exercise works the triceps muscles located on the back of your upper arm. These muscles extend your arms and help you push items away. They are also important muscles for pushing yourself up from a chair with your arms.

Supination and Pronation

These exercises are the action of turning your hand over to have your palm up or down. This exercise increases and strengthens the rotation of your elbow and forearm. For this exercise, you will need a washcloth or sturdy piece of material.

To do this exercise correctly:

  • Stand up straight while holding a washcloth.
  • Wring the cloth dry for six seconds.
  • Pause and repeat this motion 10 times.
  • Switch the direction in which your hands are wringing the cloth.
  • Repeat this strengthening exercise 10 times.

You can also use a resistance band to take these exercises up a notch and your progress through your routines.

How Can You Prevent Elbow Damage?

The elbow is highly susceptible to sprains and strains especially when undue force takes place from falls or other stresses. These can include quick pulls or impacts to the forearm that puts weight on the elbow joint. Sports injuries are the most common form of elbow pain. Other elbow injuries include tennis elbow, arthritis, carpal tunnel, bursitis, and others. 

AOA Orthopedic Specialists has a complete team of physicians available to help treat your elbow issues, as well as a comprehensive list of procedures we can employ to get you back to a more comfortable and stable version of yourself.

Here are a few things you can do to prevent elbow injuries:

  • Protect your joints during activity.
  • Maintain good posture.
  • Seek early physical therapy if you have an injury.
  • Take regular breaks from activities to prevent elbow injuries.
  • Use your non-dominant hand.
  • Rest and relax.

We Are Here to Help

If the exercises you do cause some any discomfort consult AOA Orthopedic Specialists about taking prescribed medication to help keep you exercising. Or, if you have suffered an injury and require physical therapy or surgery to help you return to your previous level of function consult AOA Orthopedic Specialists for advice on strengthening exercises to help you regain normal wrist and arm function.


Q: How can I increase muscle and tendon strength?
A: If you have reached your optimum capacity in light exercise you can try incorporating resistance training into your routine. Resistance training includes using resistance bands, dumbbells, barbells or body weight exercises.

Q: How can help elbow pain at home?
A: Get rest and avoid activities that aggravate your elbow pain. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen. And you can apply ice or a cold pack for 15 minutes for up to three to four times a day.

Q: What is the most common type of elbow pain?
A: Most often elbow pain is caused by overuse. Sports, jobs, and recreational pursuits sometimes require repetitive hand, wrist or arm movements. Make sure to rest and not overuse any joints. 

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