Resistance training is often recommended for lateral elbow tendinopathy (Tennis Elbow), a condition that causes pain and reduces grip strength. While exercise is a common treatment, traditional resistance training hasn’t proven highly effective. This recent study by Karanasios S et al. explored a different approach called low-load resistance training with blood flow restriction (BFR).

Over six weeks, patients engaged in supervised exercises and received a home exercise program, soft tissue massage, and advice. The BFR group performed exercises with 40-50% arterial occlusion pressure. Patients did these supervised exercises twice a week for six weeks.

The exercises performed in the study for tennis elbow included:

  1. Elbow flexion
  2. Elbow extension
  3. Wrist flexion
  4. Wrist extension
  5. Wrist supination
  6. Wrist pronation

These exercises were conducted using a dumbbell weighing 20% of the patient’s one-repetition maximum (1RM). Additionally, the groups incorporated stretches after the resistance exercises.

Results showed that the BFR group had better outcomes in terms of pain intensity at 12 weeks, pain-free grip strength at 6 weeks, and PRTEE at 6 and 12 weeks.

In conclusion, BFR resistance training may offer some benefits for tennis elbow. While exercise remains a recommended treatment for tennis elbow, there is no clear evidence that one type of exercise is superior to others. BFR training could be considered for suitable tennis elbow patients.

If you are suffering from tennis elbow, contact one of our specialists to book an appointment and begin your road to recovery.