All of your muscles are connected to bone or other muscles courtesy of your tendons. Tendons don't get much attention unless they act up and cause pain, typically a result from overuse and weakness. Tennis elbow and tendinitis are common injuries that could be avoided by maintaining tendon strength and flexibility, according to Medline Plus. If you resistance train consistently, you're already working on strengthening your tendons as increasing muscle strength prompts increased tendon strength. Improving blood flow to your tendons and stretching them, too, should be part of your plan to increase tendon strength.
Increase circulation throughout your body to improve the blood flow to your tendons. Part of the problem with tendons is that they aren't vascularized as well as your muscles are, meaning that the blood flow inferior. This can result in poor cell regeneration, weak tendons and possible injury. To improve your circulation, include aerobic exercise alongside your resistance training workout to get the blood flowing. Massaging and applying heat either to particular problem areas like your elbow or heel, can help with blood flow, too.
Exercise all your muscles to ensure that all tendon strength improves. Since all of your muscles are attached to tendons, overlooking a muscle group can result in weakened tendons at risk for injury. For example, Rebecca Peterson, an Idaho-based physical therapy assistant, says that people who focus on their biceps but overlook working their forearms are more likely to develop tendinitis in their elbows. Working all muscle groups will strengthen the associated tendons and decrease chances of tendinitis or other injury.
Stretch your muscles after you've warmed up to help improve strength and flexibility in your tendons. Warming up prior to stretching is vital to get your circulation going so you don't sustain an injury from stretching, so start out with five to 10 minutes of running in place or on the treadmill, for example. Stretch just to the point of tension, not the point of pain. Hold the stretches without bouncing for about 30 seconds before releasing and moving onto a different stretch.
- Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning; Edited by Thomas R. Baechle et al.
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: What Are Shoulder Problems
- Medline Plus: Achilles Tendinitis
- The Encyclopaedia of Sports Medicine; Edited by Paavo Komi