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Video Highlights

-- Light strengthening exercise
-- Working on contralateral side
-- Brain-based training tweaks to improve your results

“Hi, I’m Dr. Eric Cobb with Z-Health Performance. Today, we are wrapping up our short series on working with tennis elbow issues. If you are new to Z-Health, we are a brain-based education company. We focus on working with doctors, therapists, and movement coaches from all over the world. So, if you find this information interesting, make sure to check out all of our free resources online and subscribe. And now, let’s dive into a Simple Strength Exercise.

Alright, so we’ve done three videos so far looking at different approaches that incorporate a brain-based perspective on dealing with tennis elbow.  Much of what we’ve already discussed in terms of utilizing a metronome, etc.  The concept from tendon neuroplastic training can be applied anywhere in the body but we’ve been specifically looking at the elbow.  So, in our first video we talked about TNT, we did some band exercises in our second video, we did some skin mobilization, some joint mobilization stuff that you can do at home and then in our third video we started working on some very simple easy neuro mechanic drills.  So we’re gliding nerves and moving them through tissue and in each one of those we hope that you’re again building your own menu because one of the things that we continually find in brain-based approach approaches is that we have to personalize very carefully to create benefit.  So hopefully by now your pain, if you’ve been having any, is really greatly diminished once your pain begins to improve. 

The next thing that we have to start to focus on is strengthening and I’m not going to waste your time by repeating what’s on about a thousand other YouTube videos.  Most of us can figure out that you know I can grab dumbbells and do wrist extensions and reflections and ulnar and radial deviations and rotations. Those are all pretty straightforward.  

So what I want to show you is kind of one of my go-to exercises for working on the musculature involved in tennis elbow and it’s very simple.  What you need, as always, is you’re going to need your metronome and you’re going to need a towel.  A small towel that you can roll up.  So I just have a rolled up towel and you can see right now, I have not done this, I haven’t turned it into a very tight cylinder yet.  I’m starting off with it fairly loose and I’m doing this on purpose because if you are still healing as we begin doing a little bit of strengthening work I want you to go very carefully.

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Here’s the basic setup; I’m going to hold the towel kind of at a comfortable level but what I want to do is have it close to my body, my problematic side. So we’re going to say my left arm will be in wrist extension and my other hand is going to come up. And you can see that my thumb is down. Now, from here what I’m going to do is, I’m going to begin rotating out until my elbows are straight and you can see as I do that I’m going into wrist flexion more over here and more wrist extension. This is a very, very light strengthening exercise which kind of correlates with what we often see when people are doing retraining. They’ll use one, two, three pound dumbbells in the beginning. If I don’t feel any resistance, I can just add another roll to the towel. So again I’m beginning the extension here and as I push out I am increasing the amount of extension on my problematic side and flexion on the opposite side, trying to get to a full elbow lock. Alright, so from here again I’m extended and I rotate out and this palm is going down. This palm is going up all right so more extension on the problematic side more flexion over here. The key to this is not just the Simple Strength Exercise itself though. It’s using the metronome, alright, because I would want to be doing again if it was a three second window which is what I normally recommend I would be doing, 1001, 1002, 1003, 1001, 1002, 1003, and I just keep going back and forth with a towel. Again, remember we also said it’s vital to potentially work on the contralateral side so then I would need to switch this. Ao now my right hand would be an extension my left hand would be here and then as I’m going out again I’m going into more extension. But, if I do that, I’m going to have to rotate the towel. I’ll just have to roll the towel the opposite direction. They make some bars specifically for this particular Simple Strength Exercise but if you don’t want to spend the money, a towel will work just as well.

So we’re going to be working on those extensor muscles, working on the contralateral flexors.  All of that should be done utilizing the metronome because that’s what’s shown the greatest benefit.  

As I said, everything out there on YouTube there’s a lot of great exercises.  The most important takeaway from all of this is; make sure that you’re working on the brain side, number one!  You need to be utilizing the metronome or some type of other stimulus to help your brain re-coordinate its control of the muscles around your elbow.  

The second thing is that you have to personalize!  Don’t watch a video that has 15 different best exercises for tennis elbow and do them all,l assuming that they’re all going to work for you.  Every time you have to assess your own response and then monitor.  Right?  You have to regress it or get rid of it completely and continue to find the things that work for you.  We always teach that the brain is most likely to create pain when it’s under threat.  So give yourself permission to ease into everything that you’re doing and ease into all these different approaches. 

Alright, we hope you found this little series useful.  If you’ve had elbow pain, let us know your results.  We’ll look forward to seeing you again soon!

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