Tucker: A lucky break

I made a big breakthrough with my elbow this week. I was carrying things the other day in both hands, and I noticed that especially as I gripped with my pinky and ring finger on the right side (bad elbow side) my forearm ulnar muscles (purple ones in the image) were lighting up. Those were muscles I’d complained about feeling sore and tight for a while now, but strangely enough it was the good kind of muscle activation and soreness, it felt like scratching an itch. Over the next couple days I did some investigating into where I would feel what muscles and what I was doing to get them to activate, and compare it to the left side which is healthy.

A couple things happened

First, I noticed that when I move or engage my pinky and ring finger on the right side, I don’t feel it in my forearm at all, I just feel it in my hand and wrist. In my left side, I feel it all the way up to the elbow….. The part of the elbow that hurts and pops on the right side. I also remembered back to when I was doing some planks with my palm on the ground when I was working with Craig, and he noticed that he could lift up my right pinky much easier than the left. It was some foreshadowing back then as to what could be the problem.

Second, I took this into the gym, and after doing some of the PT work from Paul, I went over to the cable machine and put it on the lowest plate possible (2.5 lbs), and started doing curls and extensions with my hands in all three positions, and then forearm curls and extensions with my hands in four directions. Once everything was pumped, I put some very light pressure on my elbow by doing some short range of motion pressing against the ground, and gripping the ground with my hand. I was on my hands and knees and barely putting any weight on it, but focusing on trying to feel the muscles all the way up the forearm and to the elbow, and push some blood into the elbow. I started to feel it in the medial side, then I adjusted and felt it in the lateral side, which was where I was having so many issues. After a while of doing this back and forth there was a good pump in the area, and I decided to increase the range of motion. I went slowly, but after a while I was able to do very light full ROM movements without any sounds. In the past these pushup type things had been the one that would make my elbow crack the worst, so you can imagine my excitement!

Since then, I’ve been working hard at improving my muscle strength in those ulnar flexors and extensors by gripping things with my pinky and ring finger whenever I get the chance, and things are getting steadily better. I’m not out of the woods yet, but this has been the biggest improvement so far in 6 months, and funny enough, it all came from having to carry a couple bags.

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Tucker Loken is a Bodybuilder turned Powerlifter turned Powerbuilder from Eugene, Oregon. He did his first bodybuilding show when he was still in high school, and has been training male and female competitors for shows since 2011. Several years ago he decided to take a step away from his normal routine and learn how to get strong. He worked with Brian for 9 months, added 200 pounds to his raw total and qualified as an Elite lifter in the 220 pound weight class. He returned back to bodybuilding much stronger and now incorporates the 10/20/Life philosophy into his training to keep himself healthy and making continual progress in the Big 3 as well as adding size and shaping his physique. Now part of Team PRS, he brings his unique expertise of nutritional knowledge and how to balance Bodybuilding with Powerlifting to help athletes achieve their best potential.

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