Take the ache out of weight lifting

Weight training and joint pain

I’ve been doing biceps curls with a 3-pound dumbbell, and now my right elbow is hurting. What should I do?

It is great to hear that you’re training with weights. Unfortunately, some moves may stress joints more in certain people. For example, I get pain in my elbow joint if I do biceps curls using a preacher bench that keeps my arm more stationary.

The good news: Using free weights such as dumbbells allows you to make tiny adjustments so exercises are comfortable. I do my biceps curls sitting on a regular bench or chair, and I twist my arms during the move. This may help you too, because it takes some pressure off of the elbow joint. Here’s how to put a new twist on biceps curls:

Start by holding dumbbells, arms extended at your sides with your palms facing toward your body. As you lift the dumbbell, turn your arm so that your palm is facing the ceiling. As you lower the weight, turn your arm again so that you end with your palm facing your body. Remember: Don’t move your upper arm and elbow.

Strengthening your forearm muscles may also help. To do that, rest your forearms, palms down, across a bench or narrow table. Let your wrists bend so your hands are pointing toward the floor. Now, lift your hands until they are even with your arms, and then lower. Do 12 to 15 repetitions. Then turn your arms so that your palms are facing the ceiling and repeat. When you are comfortable doing the exercise, you can try it with very light weights.

If pain continues or becomes worse, stop doing the exercises and see your doctor.

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