If you suffer an injury to your elbow such as tendinitis or dislocation, it may hamper your ability to fully extend your elbow. Your triceps brachii are the muscles responsible for extending your elbow. The action of these muscles may be restricted by tight biceps, forearms and tendons. Several exercises will help restore your ability to extend your elbow by improving strength and flexibility. Consult with your health care provider before beginning a new exercise program.
Assisted Elobw Extension
The assisted elbow extension exercise allows you to gently extend your elbow as much as possible without the stress of gravity on your joint. Sit straight in a chair with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Begin with your affected elbow at a comfortable angle, grasping your wrist with your unaffected hand. While supporting your affected arm with your other hand, slowly straighten your arm, extending it as much as possible. Use your unaffected hand to assist your injured arm back to the starting position to repeat the exercise. Repeat the movement 10 to 20 times.
Lying Elbow Extension
The lying elbow extension is a more challenging exercise that will begin to strengthen your triceps muscle and restore range of motion. Lie face up on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, and lift your affected arm straight up until it reaches shoulder level and your fingers point toward the ceiling. Use your unaffected hand to support your upper arm. Slowly bend your affected arm until your hand touches your opposite shoulder. Gently extend your elbow as much as possible to return to the starting position. Hold this position for five seconds and then repeat the exercise 10 to 20 times.
Elbow Bend to Straighten
Move your elbow from a bent position to a straight position to stretch the muscles in the front of your arm while strengthening your triceps. Stand with your feet slightly apart and position your affected hand close to your chest with your elbow bent. From this position, take your arm down, extending it as much as possible without causing pain. If you are able to fully extend your arm, squeeze your triceps muscles for a count of two before returning to the initial position. Complete 10 to 20 repetitions of this exercise.
Advanced Elbow Extension
Perform the advanced elbow extension only after you are able to fully extend your arm without assistance. This exercise will stretch the muscles on the front of your arm. Place your affected elbow on the edge of a bench or table and extend your elbow. Use your other hand to gently press down on your forearm until you feel a mild pain-free stretch. Hold the stretch for five seconds and then relax. Repeat the movement 10 to 20 times.
Standing Dumbbell Elbow Extension
This exercise is designed to strengthen your triceps muscles. Use a light weight when first beginning this exercise. Stand with your legs hip-width apart with your knees slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and bend forward at the waist, keeping your back straight. Tuck your arms to your sides and bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle. Keeping your elbows in, slowly extend your arms back until they reach full extension. Pause here, and then return to the starting position. Complete 10 to 15 repetitions of the exercise.