Elbow recovery exercises
Spring has sprung so today Margot McKinnon, founder of Body Harmonics Pilates & Movement, has a series of exercises to help you prevent and recover from over-use injuries such as Tennis or Golfer's Elbow (also known as Lateral Epicondylitis).
Try this series of rotational strengthening and stretching exercises to help you get back in the game. If any of these movements hurt, take a break, shake it off and try again.
Step 1: Start kneeling with your arms up at a 90 degree angle and cup your hands like you're holding an egg in each. Start to turn your hand over and up. Repeat the turning over and up with your wrists and take a look at your elbows to see how the turning process happens across your whole forearm not just the wrists.
Step 2: Move your arms down to the sides and imagine yourself like the conductor of an orchestra. Cross your arms back and forth moving like a conductor. The motion should come from your shoulders so the whole arm is not involved. If you feel any strain in your neck try lowering your arms and make the same motion leaving your neck free.
Step 3: Bring your arms up to 90 degrees at the elbow and imagine your elbows are heavy. Press your shoulders very gently back (do not over-do this step). Cross your arms and open. Repeat a few times. You should feel a turning motion at the shoulders—turning inward and coming back. You should not feel anything in your elbows.
Step 4: Bring your shoulders back a little bit and lift them upward. Don't be surprised if you feel tightening in the back of your neck muscles (that's the point of this exercise). Raise your shoulders up and down with your arms down to relax a few times.
Step 5: Bend your elbows, bringing the palms of your hands up so your arms are bent at a 90 degree angle. Working from your shoulders, move your forearms out to the sides of the room and back. Repeat a few times.
Step 6: Take your arms down to your sides, hands flexed to face the floor. Lift your arms up and out to your side using your shoulder muscles. Lower your arms back down with control using your upper back muscles. Repeat a few times.
Step 7: Let the arms down and circle the hands around your wrists a few times to finish.
Take good care, don't overdo and try every other day or every three days. If you feel that anything exacerbates the pain, just stick to the hand exercises for a while.