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Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Tennis Elbow: Stretches and Strengthening Exercises

Tennis Elbow: Stretches and Strengthening Exercises

Overview

Follow instructions from your physical therapist or other health professional for stretching and strengthening exercises.

Stretching exercises are controlled stretches that help prevent tennis elbow stiffness and tendon shortening. They help you gently bend, straighten, and rotate your wrist. If you have increasing pain, slow down or stop the exercises.

After the pain has decreased and your flexibility has improved, you may do strengthening exercises with light hand weights that are less than 2 lb (0.9 kg). Weights can be increased slowly over time.

How do you do the exercises?

How do you do the exercises?

Warm-up exercises

Finger-thumb opposition

slide 1 of 3
slide 1 of 3, Finger-thumb opposition,
  1. With one hand, point your fingers and thumb straight up. Your wrist should be relaxed, following the line of your fingers and thumb.
  2. Touch your thumb to each finger, one finger at a time. This will look like an "okay" sign. Try to make the circle as round as you can. And try to keep your other fingers as straight as you can.
  3. Repeat 8 to 12 times with each hand.

Wrist circles (fist)

slide 2 of 3
slide 2 of 3, Wrist circles (fist),
  1. Sit up tall. Place your forearm on your thigh, palm up, with your hand in a very light fist.
  2. Make slow circles with your hand.
  3. Repeat 20 times.

Hand flip

slide 3 of 3
slide 3 of 3, Hand flip,
  1. Sit leaning forward with your legs slightly spread. Then place your affected forearm on your thigh with your palm down.
  2. Flip your hand over so the back of your hand rests on your thigh and your palm is up. Alternate between palm up and palm down while keeping your forearm on your thigh.
  3. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  4. It's a good idea to repeat these steps with your other arm.

Stretches

Wrist flexor stretch

slide 1 of 2
slide 1 of 2, Wrist flexor stretch,
  1. Extend your affected arm in front of you with your palm facing down.
  2. Bend back your wrist on your affected arm, pointing your fingers up.
  3. With your other hand, gently bend your wrist farther until you feel a mild to medium stretch in your forearm.
  4. Hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
  6. Repeat steps 1 through 5. But this time extend your affected arm in front of you with your palm facing up. Then bend back your wrist, pointing your fingers down.
  7. It's a good idea to repeat these steps with your other arm.

Wrist extensor stretch

slide 2 of 2
slide 2 of 2, Wrist extensor stretch,
  1. Extend the arm with the affected wrist in front of you and point your fingers toward the floor.
  2. With your other hand, gently bend your wrist farther until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in your forearm.
  3. Hold the stretch for at least 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
  5. It's a good idea to repeat these steps with your other wrist.

Strengthening exercises

Ball or sock squeeze

slide 1 of 5
slide 1 of 5, Ball or sock squeeze,
  1. Hold a tennis ball or a rolled-up sock in your hand.
  2. Make a fist around the ball or sock and squeeze.
  3. Hold for about 6 seconds, and then relax.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  5. It's a good idea to repeat these steps with your other hand.

Wrist deviation

slide 2 of 5
slide 2 of 5, Wrist deviation,
  1. Sit so that your affected arm is supported but your hand hangs off the edge of a flat surface, such as a table.
  2. Hold your hand out like you are shaking hands with someone.
  3. Move your hand up and down.
  4. Repeat this motion 8 to 12 times.
  5. It's a good idea to repeat these steps with your other arm.

Resisted wrist flexion (weight)

slide 3 of 5
slide 3 of 5, Resisted wrist flexion (weight),
  1. Place your affected forearm on a table with your hand hanging over the edge of the table, palm up.
  2. Place a 1- to 2-pound weight in your hand. This may be a dumbbell, a can of food, or a filled water bottle.
  3. Slowly raise and lower the weight while keeping your forearm on the table and your palm facing up.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  5. It's a good idea to repeat these steps with your other arm.

Resisted wrist extension (weight)

slide 4 of 5
slide 4 of 5, Resisted wrist extension (weight),
  1. Place your affected forearm on a table with your hand hanging over the edge of the table, palm down.
  2. Place a 1- to 2-pound weight in your hand. This may be a dumbbell, a can of food, or a filled water bottle.
  3. Slowly raise and lower the weight while keeping your forearm on the table and your palm facing down.
  4. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  5. It's a good idea to repeat these steps with your other arm.

Biceps curl

slide 5 of 5
slide 5 of 5, Biceps curl,
  1. Sit leaning forward with your legs slightly spread apart and your left hand on your left thigh.
  2. Hold a 1- to 2-pound weight in your right hand. The weight may be a dumbbell, a can of food, or a filled water bottle.
  3. Place your right elbow on your right thigh, keeping your elbow slightly bent.
  4. Slowly lift (curl) the weight up and toward your chest.
  5. Slowly return it to the starting point.
  6. Repeat 8 to 12 times.
  7. Repeat these steps with your other arm.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

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Tennis Elbow Elbow Problems, Noninjury Elbow Injuries

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