Tennis Elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition that causes pain around the outside of the elbow. The annoying pain often creeps up when you pour your morning coffee, grab a plate from the cupboard, or open a doorknob.

Despite its name, this condition isn’t limited to tennis players. We’ve likely all had it before! Repetitive wrist and arm motions like typing, painting, or using hand tools can cause Tennis Elbow.

Before we show you some exercises that can help alleviate Tennis Elbow, let’s talk about the causes and symptoms so we can better understand this common condition.

Causes and Symptoms of Tennis Elbow


  • Repetitive Motions: Typing, raking the lawn, and practicing a musical instrument are all activities that involve repetitive wrist and arm motions, which can strain the tendons in your elbow.
  • Manual Labor: Constant lifting, painting, or regular use of hand tools can often cause Tennis Elbow.
  • Sports: Racquet sports like tennis, pickleball, and squash, as well as weightlifting or fencing, can strain the elbow.


  • Pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow, extending down to the forearm and wrist.
  • Weak grip when trying to grab objects or shake hands.
  • Stiffness or aching in the elbow, forearm or wrist during the day, often more so in the morning.
  • A burning sensation felt around the elbow joint.

Exercises to Alleviate Tennis Elbow

To effectively manage Tennis Elbow, we focus on exercises that reduce pain, improve flexibility, and strengthen the elbow area.

Lacrosse Ball Tissue Mobilization

To start, we need to unglue some of the sticky tissues around the elbow. Here’s how:

  • Equipment: Lacrosse ball or a double lacrosse ball (peanut).
  • Steps:
    • Place the ball on a firm surface.
    • Turn your arm palm up, facing the ceiling, and place your arm on top of the ball.
    • Apply extra pressure with your opposite hand if you want.
    • Roll and grind through the tight tissue until you find a sore spot.
    • Bonus: Flex and extend your wrist to tack and floss the tissue.

Forearm Stretch

Once the sticky tissue is mobilized, we want to lengthen the tendon and the muscle:

  • Steps:
    • Extend your arm in front of you.
    • Bend your wrist downwards, then bend your fingers to form a fist.
    • Pull on the fist with your other hand to lengthen the tendons across the forearm.
    • Hold for 30-45 seconds.
    • Repeat 3-4 times.

Eccentric Wrist Extensions

Loading the tendon eccentrically helps in strengthening:

  • Equipment: 2-5 pound dumbbell
  • Steps:
    • Grab a dumbbell in your injured hand and rest the elbow on your thigh.
    • Lift your wrist to maximum extension with your non-injured hand.
    • Slowly lower the weight back down with your injured hand.
    • Repeat the motion, focusing on the slow, controlled lowering phase.

Zottman Curl

Another eccentric loading exercise for tendon strengthening:

  • Equipment: 10-15 pound dumbbell
  • Steps:
    • Perform a standard bicep curl with your palms up.
    • Curl up to your shoulders.
    • At the top, flip your hands so your palms face down.
    • Slowly lower the weight back to your sides.
    • Repeat, focusing on the controlled lowering motion.

Supination and Pronation

This exercise targets the muscles involved in rotating the forearm:

  • Equipment: Hammer or mallet
  • Steps:
    • Hold the hammer with the weight on the end.
    • Slowly rotate the hammer downwards so your palm faces downwards.
    • Reverse the motion to bring your palm upwards.
    • Perform 20-30 reps at a slow pace.

Grip Strengthening

Improving grip strength can help stabilize the elbow:

  • Equipment: Weight plate (10-25 pounds)
  • Steps:
    • Hold the weight plate with a firm grip, thumb inward, fingers on the outside.
    • Maintain a static hold of the plate, or do a carry back and forth.

Static Hang

Strengthen the elbow and improve grip strength:

  • Equipment: Pull-up bar
  • Steps:
    • Hop up onto a pull-up bar, and hold yourself here.
    • Focus on a solid grip and core stability.

Final Thoughts on tennis elbow recovery

We often see patients in the clinic who have had Tennis Elbow symptoms for weeks or even months. Rather than struggling through it, you can use exercises to help you effectively manage and alleviate its symptoms.

Remember, while these exercises can be beneficial, we encourage you to consult a physiotherapist at Optimize Physiotherapy for personalized treatment and recommendations.

Check out our full tutorial below for a visual guide to these exercises.

If you’re experiencing persistent elbow pain, book an appointment with your Optimize Physiotherapist. Our professional guidance can ensure you’re on the right path to recovery and help prevent future injuries.