English Institute of Sport (EIS) Lead Physiotherapist Ian Gatt explains how strengthening the muscles can help prevent overuse injuries.

Q: I often get pain in my elbow from training, mainly my jabbing hand from overuse (like tennis elbow). I was wondering what exercises I could do to strengthen this area, to prevent this over use injury?


Ian Gatt answers…
“It is hard to provide an accurate answer without a proper diagnosis. If it is truly a tennis elbow (this tends to be a tendon overuse injury just at the beginning of the forearm – also known as the common extensor origin) then self treatment, such as massaging the area with the fingertips in a perpendicular manner to the tendon, will provide some assistance.

Strengthening of the muscles through the wrist can provide some benefit – in this case lowering a weight slowly downwards for 3-5 seconds and pulling up more rapidly. You can also perform reverse curls – with the palms facing downwards, lower a barbell (15-20Kgs) slowly through the elbows and again bending the elbows with a more rapid action upwards.

If the area concerned is around the elbow, then conditioning the bicep/tricep muscles through ‘curl’ exercises will help. The reverse curls are useful, but including single arm exercises for both biceps and triceps using either weights, pulleys or an elastic band can also prove effective.

As with most injuries it is important to remember that without appropriate one-to-one investigation it is difficult to be sure which structures are causing you grief. In boxing, unless a traumatic injury has been incurred, it tends to be either due to overuse (too much training) or poor conditioning associated with the chosen sport, hence conditioning these areas through exercise will be beneficial.”

Ian Gatt works at the EIS as Lead Physiotherapist for the GB Boxing programme. His role involves working with the boxers to monitor their health and fitness status, predominately through injury management. To do this, he works closely with the GB coaches and support staff across a range of areas.

If you have a question you’d like to put to the GB Boxing support staff or coaches, email it to Debbie.reilly@gbboxing.org.uk