New to Gym, stats suck! I have tennis elbow too, need advice

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August 22, 2018

I just started 3 weeks ago, first time in a gym in 10 years. I work behind a desk for day job.

150 BP, 80 SQ, 75 OHP, 90 ROW, 150 DL

Week 1 had my legs completely dead but not making some progress. One issue i have is I have tennis elbow. Should I be doing additional exercises to strengthen that or trying to rest it. I've had it for about 6 weeks and it's the same as when the injury first occurred.

Using StrongLifts 5x5 App Free Version

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Title New to Gym, stats suck! I have tennis elbow too, need advice
Author helaughsinhidden
Upvotes 7
Comments 33
Date 22 August 2018 08:53 PM UTC (2 years ago)
Subreddit askMRP
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[–]CaptJohnLukeDiscard14 points15 points  (2 children) | Copy

Here are some general thoughts in no particular order that I would tell me if I were starting again in the gym. I'll address you specifically at the end re tennis elbow, etc.


It's a marathon, not a sprint. You want to be the guy who is still lifting in 15 years, not the guy who was the strongest for a couple and then busted his knee / back / neck / shoulder. Take it slow, focus on perfect form every rep of every set of every day, and don't worry too much about 'progress.' It will come.


Intensity is key. I know this sounds like a contradiction to the first point and it is, slightly. You need to be intense about this. Stay present in each lift. Stay present and intense about your form. And, within reason, push yourself pretty hard. Keep your breaks short enough that your heart rate stays above 100 or so. Longer breaks in between compound lifts, shorter breaks between isolation / smaller movements.


Get a program, follow the program. The only thing worse than an asshole who doesn't bother to follow a program is the guy who tries a new program every week. Find something standard, stick to it for 12-16 weeks, and then reevaluate. SL 5x5 is good, nSuns, 5/3/1, RP, GOMAD, GVT, etc. are all decent programs. Find a goal, find a plan that matches the goal, and stick to it. Don't deviate from it and make up your own shit because you think you know better than the plan and all the guys who vouch for it. You don't.

Regardless, stick with beginner programs (5x5, etc.) for at least the first 9-12 months for the most gains.

Set and Follow Long Term Goals

For the first several months, you can lose fat and add muscle at the same time. After that, you'll tend to need to focus on bulking or cutting. You will need to decide which you are doing, for how long, and what the goals are. Just like a program, try to set goals and then actually go meet them. Switching goals every week (strength vs size vs endurance vs aesthetics) is a great way to sabotage yourself.


Aside from consistency in the gym, nutrition is king. You have to eat enough to add muscle but don't eat shit. Don't follow fad diets. Of all the nutrition advice, I personally think hitting your protein goals is the most important. A super quick guide on protein is to intake your bodyweight in freedom units x1.0 to 1.4 in grams per day. For example, if you weigh 200lb, you want to get between 200 to 280g of protein a day. If you don't track anything else, track that. For most people, eating that much protein is hard and will automatically make you full enough that you don't want to eat a bunch of shit.


Don't be that asshole that destroys your body by constantly getting 5-6 hours of sleep every night. Train with a plan, eat with a plan, and recover with a plan. Recovery means consistent, scheduled sleep every night (aim for 8 hours), getting GOOD supplements, and incorporating stuff like stretching, foam rolling, soaks in the sauna / hot tub, etc. You don't regret it.


I don't mean roids. I mean stuff like a weightlifting belt, wrist wraps, elbow sleeves, knee sleeves, etc. Plenty of guys will give you shit for it. Fuck 'em. If the gear helps even slightly to prevent injury, wear it and ignore the dudes who mouth off. Remember the marathon comment? Good. Your PRs will never go anywhere if you have a significant injury every year.


If you can, get a training partner that is actually committed. That provides good accountability, help with seeing form errors, spotting you while you lift, etc.

Specific to Mr. Tennis Elbow

First, how did you get the injury? What does your doc say? Have you been to a PT? I would take their input much more than a bunch of assholes on a sexual strategy forum. That being said, since you asked... rest the injury and focus heavily on legs, back, etc. for now. Squat, lunge, good mornings, etc. Rinse and repeat. Probably should refrain from jerking off for a while too.

Second, your squat number is atrocious. I assume it's so low because you are actually squatting to proper depth (femurs well below parallel). If you aren't squatting that low, then start now. It's actually easier on your knee from a shear force perspective than stopping at parallel. Check out EliteFTS's "So You Think You Can Squat" and other videos for form tips.

Good job getting back in the gym. Keep going 4-5 times per week every week for 12 months and you won't recognize yourself.

[–]helaughsinhidden[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

Squats. I started at 120lb and bring it all the way down and back up. Could barely walk for 4 days so I cut it down to 75 and working it back up. All my numbers are atrocious to be honest.

Tennis elbow is a bit of a mystery. Swam for couple hours, played bball, woke up with the pain. Reaggrivated it several times since.

I'm doing the SL 5x5, 30 minute treadmill, and a 12 minute abs program 3-4 times a week.

No PMO for me. Not sure if that a joke about the elbow or about my testosterone levels. LOL.

[–][deleted] 4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy

Leg soreness is the most brutal but once you do legs about 3 to 4 weeks in a row, the soreness level reduces drastically until the next time you skip leg day and it resets.

If you could do 120 for reps without issue stay there man, deal with the soreness.

[–]JustOneMoreAcct7 points8 points  (4 children) | Copy

The best thing for tennis\golf elbow is a theraband flex bar. Worked better then anything else for me.

[–]BobbyPeruRed Beret1 point2 points  (2 children) | Copy


I’ll second this. I used it several times a day for a couple weeks while continuing to work-out, and it knocked my tennis elbow out of the park

[–]Luy220 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

What exercises?

[–]BobbyPeruRed Beret0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Just YouTube it. It should come up at the top

[–]FixYourselfFirst0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Agreed. The Flexbar fixes Tennis Elbow.

[–]wildnight98MRP APPROVED3 points4 points  (0 children) | Copy

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, this is my experience only, I am not recommending you do what I say, you should get a professional opinion, etc.

Tennis elbow aka tendonitis is, as named, inflammation of a tendon. An inflamed and thus too-tight tendon pulls across the bone under load causing pain. The good news is this is distinct from an injury, although tendonitis often affects people for long periods of time.

I found an followed helpful advice as follows: (1) don't rest. Tendons are strengthened by exercise. Keep exercising with the most load and most range of motion that you can without pain. (2) Often tendonitis is caused by too tight connector muscles and limited range of motion. Find and do mobility exercises and stretches for elbow tendonitis (see youtube etc.). You will be stretching everything from pectoralis to forearm. This worked to clear mine up after a couple weeks, even after a couple months of no change or improvement (before I found the protocol).

[–]witness-the-beauty1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

I had tennis elbow bad and searched it out. It's all in your forearms, at was for me. When the muscles in your forearms grow sometimes they scar across your arm instead of lengthwise and so the result is that the tendon in your elbows gets snapped like a belt instead of stretching like they're supposed to this creates inflammation on your elbow. there are several massaging techniques for the muscles in your forearm to break up the scar tissue that go across your arm. That worked for me but it took about a month of massaging those four arms several times a day. Basically I would have somebody grip my forearm with both their hands around the arm as hard as they could and flex my wrist up and down and side to side to get the muscles moving through their hands and that took care of it and it has not been back since. If my description is confusing just search the YouTube for it.

[–]ParaXilo1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

An option would be to rest it and ice it for a week then see how you feel.

Like any injury your best bet is to rest it. Doesn't mean don't workout just avoid some exercises.

[–]JudgeDoom691 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

[–]gettingmymojobackRed Beret1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

What worked for my Golfers Elbow (inside of elbow rather than outside) was to just stick to upper body compound lifts (BP, OHP, Rows, Chins, PullUps/PullDowns) and remove bicep/tricep isolation work completely until the pain subsided.

Took about 6 months total of no isolation work until it went away completely. My theory is it took that long for the tendon strength to catch up to my increased lifts and that the extra volume from isolation work was just too much to recover from until my fitness level caught up.

No issues with it since and I can run 531 BBB with full accessory lifts with no pain now.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

I was in the same shape as you. I forked over the dough for a good, serious trainer to help me build up my core and teach me proper exercises. My mistake has always been reading shit off the iternet and implementing it crookedly at the gym. You have to build the foundation first before you can start building the house.

[–]WesternhagenWinner1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

Very possible that elbow tendonitis is the product of poor form at bench press. Don't know if you are working with a trainer but if not, it is worth the money to get your form right (not just with bench but the other lifts too). Are you lowering it too fast and flaring your elbows, for example? Here's a good video.

[–]helaughsinhidden[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Good advice brother. I got it prior to joining gym, and yeah I am going to a "lifting class" before work where we talk form, programs, etc.

[–]RedPill-BlackLotusRed Beret1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Already lots of gold suggestions here. I read a tnation article on this that might add value.

So much good stuff on that site. Check it out.

[–]2235521 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

I am a professional, and I treat these for a living. Going heavy will only aggravate it. Best to ease off pulling exercsies (such as rows, heave dead lifts). You can still train legs with squats, lunges, machines. Pushing is ok. Start daily stretches of forearm muscles. See physio/osteopath for good soft tissue release, and elbow joint loosening up. Use a tennis elbow brace. These days, lots of typing seems to be the main culprit. Takes 3-6 weeks for resolution, if managed properly. Dry needling is also effective.

Rubbing anti-inflammatory creams will help. But stretching daily (3-4 / day) is essential.

If all else fails, steroid injections.

[–]helaughsinhidden[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy


[–]RedPillCoach1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Additional exercises for tennis elbow?

Umm, no. This is a repetitive use injury and you are not going to lift through it.

See a doctor and get a couple physical therapy sessions and they can set you straight, tell you the exercises to do, and what not to do.

I do not believe you should be lifting with your apparent level of knowledge and awareness until you at a minimum get a personal trainer for a few sessions and medical clearance and physical therapy. Please get expert advice about you personally and don't rely on keyboard jockeys. We reccomend 5 X 5 powerlifting and you can exacerbate tennis elbow very easily into a long term problem if you don't know what you are doing.

[–]Reject4441 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

I'll share my story in case it helps. I've also been doing SL 5x5 for about six months, to which I added some light (15 lbs.) bicep curls as an accessory a few months ago. I just fought through a pretty wicked bout of Golfer's Elbow (same tendinitis as Tennis Elbow but on the inside of the elbow instead of the outside). Working with my doctor, he suggested that it was maybe from bicep curls or bench pressing and he recommended that I just stop doing these for a while, but I'm very confident in my bench form and I always keep my wrists straight, and I didn't feel like I was curling enough to cause an injury.

Eventually, I realized myself that it was actually squats that were doing this to me. Somehow I was flexing my wrist in such a way--usually during re-racking the bar after a heavy squat set--that it was killing my bicep tendons in my elbow. I backed off squats for a couple of sessions, pulled back the working weight a bit, switched to a full grip for squats (not thumbless; just be careful not to actually rest the bar on your thumbs), and started using a counterforce brace (compression sleeve didn't seem to help me as much, but might be better for Tennis Elbow than what I had) and, most importantly, stiff wrist wraps while doing squats. These keep my wrists straight and don't let me twist them in whatever way I was twisting them before. These changes have really helped and, over the past month, the pain and discomfort from the tendinitis has gradually reduced in frequency and intensity to the point that this week I think it's finally gone. So rest your arms if needed but you might try looking at your squatting as a possible culprit, especially since SL 5x5 has you squatting so much. If you think that's the problem, adding some braces or wrist wraps and making some other changes (like a full grip) might help. Or might make it worse; I'm not a doctor, and I'm far from an expert on lifting and fitness. This is just what worked for me.

As others have said, it could also be your Bench Press or OHP, if you're not keeping your wrists straight during those lifts as well. And your numbers on BP and OHP are actually quite heavy for only having done the program for a few weeks, especially compared to your Squat, Row, and DL numbers, which are more in line with what I'd expect to see after doing SL 5x5 for three weeks.

Generally, I cannot stress enough how important it is to work on your form for these lifts. These compound lifts are actually pretty complicated and technical movements, even the ones that seem pretty simple like the Bench Press, and if you're not doing them correctly, you're risking injury that could not only derail your progress at the gym but could potentially fuck you up in a permanent way. Even a little thing like the way you bend your wrists while ending a set can hurt you. Do a LOT of research into proper form for these lifts, watch other guys at the gym who seem to know what they're doing (but don't always listen to them because I've also gotten some advice from big, well-built dudes at my gym that was just demonstrably wrong), and always give 100% focus to exactly what you're doing on each and every rep.

[–]boy_named_su1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

I suffer tennis elbow as well. I take turmeric as an anti-inflammatory and type II collagen and Omega 3s to help rebuild. And rest when it gets bad, just doing squats

[–]SBDadvanced1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

For tennis elbow, get a green theraband flexbar off amazon and do the exercises for tennis elbow on youtube. Removed my pain from an overuse injury in a few days. I use it daily now to keep my wrist/forearm muscles stretched.

If something gives a sharp pain, dont do it, otherwise work thru discomfort linearly as 5x5 lays out.

Dont go too crazy on accessories either. you need a base and that comes from full body heavy ass lifts.

[–]don_viteo0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy

That is pounds? Those aren't bad stats by all respects given You started 3 weeks ago, even if they are 100%RM. When I started I couldnt squat 3x10 without any load - fuck, I was so fat. Are You cutting or bulking? If cutting do not expect any signifacant progress until Your first bulk, and at the end of cut You will probably have to deload, sorry to break it to You. If bulking - well, give it 3 months. 3 weeks is like - You just started. The brain needs to rethink how it moves the weights. Focus on good technique and correct TUT. Weigth stats are individual by all respects, one dude does [email protected] and will be packing muscle and ripped, second will be doing [email protected] and be skinny as shit.

[–]helaughsinhidden[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

That is pounds? Those aren't bad stats by all respects given You started 3 weeks ago, even if they are 100%RM.

Yes, 'meruca! Thanks for the encouragement.

You started 3 weeks ago

I had been doing 25 weightless squats with my boys along with push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks daily for about a month, so that helped.

Are You cutting or bulking?

Bulking. I warm up on treadmill for 15-30 minutes and try to run at 6mph for at least 2 straight minutes. I want to mainly to get used to having my blood pressure up to +160 and increase my endurance. I plan to keep on the StrongLifts 5x5 program for another 8 weeks and then change things up.

Current Progress:

As for cutting, I have a lot to do eventually, but I figure it will be a lot easier to cut when I have more muscles to burn the calories AND would be harder to bulk without having some to work with. Doing low carb but not keto. At 5'7" and 195lbs, you can imaging I have noticeable fat, especially in the belly and legs.

The brain needs to rethink how it moves the weights.

No kidding! I feel like I've never lifted even though I used to put in 12 hours a week a decade ago. No muscle memory at the moment. Using a track-safety bench to help too.

[–]don_viteo1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

I guess You should first cut and then bulk. I know this seems counterintuitive at first and against the "need to pack more muscle" but is reasonable given the biochemistry involved. If you have visceral fat then that shit will be doing You a lot of trouble gaining clean muscle. Of course You'll do what You want to do. I've been 135kg in 2015, cut to 88kg, started slow bulk tried to set RM record for deadlift late 2016 and went 3 months on injections for back ache. Now cutting from 102kg (january) to 80-85kg (depends if abs and vein visible - wanna be cut more then when was at 88kg). Currently 93kg. 1,85m.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy

With these stats it's clear you have never lifted or had a huge break in lifting. If that is the case you needed to follow the novice lifter Stronglifts approach and just start with an unloaded 45-lb Olympic barbell. Starting 45-lb barbell on Stronglifts, the squat should be ~95 lbs 3 weeks later. You have to lift with your body and mind... not your ego. Ego will get you hurt in the gym quicker than anything else, as you now know.

When you start lifting again, follow the Stronglifts program properly.

[–]helaughsinhidden[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

As I said on another comment, I had been going 25 push-up, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and squats for a while before the gym. That helped a lot as just doing 25 regular squats had me in a lot of pain after the first day.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

I do 21 Curl/press, 22 pushups, 21 bent over row, 13 step ups, 21 pull downs, and 21 Body weight squats as a typical Warm Up before lifting. Also do the Stronglifts recommended warm up of gradually adding weight to the bar prior to doing the days assigned lifts. The lighter weights on the SL program are to not over-tax your body and to enable you to focus on proper form.

It's doesn't matter that you can't lift super heavy now, just that you keep at it, so later you will be lifting heavier with excellent form.

You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

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