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PHASE 3: STRENGTHEN & SUSTAIN

What is Strengthen and Sustain? 

The last phase is Strengthen and Sustain. At Elbow Athlete, this is where you put it all together. You have been educated on how to recover, how to mobilize, and how to stabilize. Now, we will focus on strengthening and sustainability. Once pain has diminished in the elbow, our attention can then be to focus on the entire upper body as a system and improve overall strength. This is the next phase of Elbow Athlete, improve your upper body strength and sustain it for any of your activities. 


 Strengthen


Sustain 


Products to help with this phase 

Phase 3: Strengthen & Sustain : About
CrossFit Class

STRENGTHENING

This last step is what we all have been waiting for. This is the component of your training that makes you feel good, look good, and play good. At Elbow Athlete, we have developed the necessary components to maintain and improve strength not only for your injured elbow, but for the entire upper body. 


We have created a Weekly Checklist (link) for you to follow to make sure you are strengthening the right areas each week to continue to improve and reduce risk of injury. This checklist is your way of making sure all the right components are implemented in your program. The boxes are being checked! Whether it is following our own Strength Program (link) or completing your own! We believe these different movement patterns are vital in maintaining functionality and sustaining longevity. 


To help assist with this process, we at Elbow Athlete have also created a progression and regression exercise sheet. This will allow you to continue to enhance and improve your training. There is always another exercise to progress to and increase the challenge. The Exercise Sheet (link) allows you to progress, or regress based on how your feel. There might be some exercises that progress slower than others. The best thing about this Exercise Sheet is that you are in control. If it becomes easy, progress to the next or if you are experiencing a little pain or fatigue, regress to allow your muscles and tissue to recover. 

What are the different types of strength? 

There are four main types of strength training. In a sport, there are seasons of training that help an athlete get ready for competition and peak at the right time. When it comes to functional training and recovery from injuries the training focuses on the first two types. In this section we will educate on the types of training and how they differ. 

Types of strength:

Endurance 

The Endurance Strength training is involved in the initial phases of strength to get the body use to the exercise and load required.  This phase involves performing more functional movement lifts that are not sport specific. They help the tendons and tissue improve tolerance to training. This is an important phase when returning from injury.  This type of training is great to continue to perform with your stabilizers within the body as you progress with your primary movers. 

  • Rep Scheme: 2-3 Sets w/ 12-20 Reps or Time based 30s to 2 min

  • Duration: 4-12 weeks 

  • Focus: Tendon and Tissue Health 

  • Exercise Example: Dynamic Stability, External Rotator Health

Hypertrophy 

Hypertrophy Strength training is to increase the size of the muscle fibers. This phase of training is to improve the size and strength of the muscles themselves. This is the most common type of training you see in the gym. A hypertrophy period is necessary when returning from injury, but a plateau will occur if performed for too long. This type of training does not provide enough stimulus for your body to adapt to stimulus and perform athletic movements. 

  • Rep Scheme: 3-4 Sets w/ 8-12 Reps 

  • Duration: 2-4 months 

  • Focus: Muscle Size 

  • Exercise Example: Military Press, Pull-Ups, Chest Press

True Strength 

True Strength is best as you have spent some time and consistency in your training. This type of training is best once you have experienced a plateau in your hypertrophy phase. During this period, focus on the quality of movement with control and stability. True Strength will continue to help you hit the numbers you want to achieve a specific goal. Form and quality of movement are the most important. There will be a variety of physiological changes occurring in this phase of training, as your body will be forced to adapt to the stimulus. It is important to know when to step away and drop the weight so an injury doesn’t occur. 

  • Rep Scheme: Sets 4-5 w/ 5-7 Reps

  • Duration:  2-3 Months 

  • Focus: True Strength Progression

  • Exercise Example: Military Press, Pull-Ups, Chest Press

Power /Speed

This phase of training is the most sport specific. Power is necessary as someone is training for a specific reason or goal. In this phase of training, quality of movement is the most important as risk of injury is high if stability and control doesn’t occur. In power training, the weight is usually near max effort. At Elbow Athlete, we do not focus on this type of training as we are focused more on functional fitness and general health. 

  • Rep Scheme: 5 Sets w/ 1-3 Reps 

  • Duration: 1-3 Months 

  • Focus: Sport Specific 

  • Exercise Example: Olympic Lifts: Clean, Snatch, Jerk  

What movements are involved in the weekly checklist? 

At Elbow Athlete, we developed a checklist that we believe is vital in sustaining postural tone and health in your everyday life. These movement patterns help maintain alignment and functional movement with reduced risk of injury. By completing these movement 1-2x a week, we believe your risk of developing reoccurring injuries greatly decreases. 

The movement include:

  • Vertical Push

  • Vertical Pull 

  • Horizontal Push 

  • Horizontal Pull 

  • Upper Body Essentials 

  • External Rotator Focus 

  • Dynamic Stability

  • Tendon Endurance 

By applying these movements into your weekly program, you will be targeting the larger muscles as well as the stabilizers in your body. Increasing your sustainability and health as you continue to get stronger and perform better. 

Upper Body Focus: Posterior Shoulder, Mid Back, Lats, Pectorals, Supraspinatus, Deltoids, Bicep, Triceps, and Abdominals


Does Elbow Athlete have a program to get me started? 

At Elbow Athlete, we have developed two programs to help guide and train you to accomplishing your goals in the gym. In our programs, we have included all the exercises from the checklist so you can make sure you are targeting the areas you need to maintain health and longevity. 

Our recommendation is that you initially work on Endurance and Hypertrophy. This program can be utilized for the first 4-12 weeks. That means it can be recycled 1-3 times, before continuing to the next program, True Strength. Then by following the Exercise Sheet. You will be in control of progressing the exercises as they fit to you. 

Step 1: Endurance and Hypertrophy Focus (link)

Step 2: True Strength Focus (link)

What are things I can continue to do in my strength program to reduce my risk of redeveloping an elbow injury? 

Here is a list of a few things that can reduce and prevent elbow injuries

  • Use DB in a neutral grip rather than lifting while the wrist is in extension 

  • Use FAT Bar grips to reduce the stress placed on the tendons 

  • Use proper load and volume progressions, increase by 10% each week 

  • Use wrist braces to reduce stress placed on tendons if you are doing Olympic lifts 

Click here (link) for products we believe may be beneficial when performing the strength program. Some products are best for developing your home gym. While others help maintain health in your training. 

Phase 3: Strengthen & Sustain : Welcome
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SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainability is the ability of the self to be efficient and economical in production or

completion of a task. At Elbow Athlete, we have tried to educate and allow you to self-manage

through guided instruction to improve your injury. As we continue to learn about ourselves,

an injury is not an isolated problem. Often it can be a reaction to other variables that have

influenced our body to reach a certain way. This section is all about doing the little things in

our daily, weekly, or even monthly routine to enhance our longevity and overall wellness.

Each topic will provide you with a few options to enhance your own performance and

sustainability.

Fitness Sustainability

Here are some suggestions to make sure you are taking care of your physical health. Often

times we do not recognize when out body is physical fatigued.

● Continue to perform the Recovery options in Phase 1 1-2x a week

● Every morning record your resting HR, if your resting HR in the morning is 7-10 bpm

higher than your average you are tired, TAKE THE DAY OFF AND REST

● Try to avoid training the same body parts more than 3 days in a row

● Include other recovery equipment like the NORMATEC (link) to improve full body vascular response, and full body wellness.

Sleep

Lack of Sleep in the number one cause of tissue breakdown and body injuries. During sleep, your body can recover, repair, and rebuild the body and all its systems. This is essential to

living a sustainable lifestyle. There are countless books that explain its significance and

importance in performance and wellness. It is essential to develop a nightly routine,

consistency in going to sleep, as well as getting 7-9 hours nightly.

The body pillow has been a game changer to always find a comfortable position and assist in

aligning your body, so you wake up with reduced aches and soreness. Click here (Link) to use

the pillow we have used and recommend.

Some recommended readers are:

  • Why We Sleep? by Dr. Matthew Walker (link)

  • The Sleep Solution by Dr. W Chris Winter (link)

  • Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson (link)

Hydration

The body is made up of about 70% water. It is vital for any system in the body to function

properly. If you are not consuming enough water in your daily routine, you are not

developing a healthy habit for your body to sustain long-term. The benefits of hydration are

longer than you can even imagine. So when in doubt drink more water.

As a rule of thumb, daily consumption:

  • Men should drink 1 gallon of water (128 oz.)

  • Women should drink 3/4 gallon of water (100 oz.)

If you are like most you forget because you never carry a water bottle. We have attached a few

options that help with the daily consumption. Also we like the positive reinforcement and

reminder!!

Water Bottles:

  • 1 gallon bottles (links)

  • ½ gal = 2 refills a day (links)

  • 32 oz bottle  = 4 full bottles a day (link)

Diet

Regardless of whatever diet you follow. We can all agree on one thing. Your body is a highly

efficient machine!! It is important to treat it like the Ferrari it is and not the dumpster truck

that we treat it as. Nutrition is the fuel source to making sure it runs on all 8 cylinders. There

are a ton of different diets with different beliefs. However, most agree on one big concept. EAT

MORE GREENS and CONSUME LESS SUGAR!! We are by no means experts, but we hold this to

be factual. Educate yourself on what you put in your Ferrari!! Injuries can often be a result to

the food we consume and the inflammation that exist because of it! By eating more greens you

are reducing toxins and increasing your metabolic efficiency.

Here are a few resources to help get you started:

  • Anti-inflammation diet by

  • Plant Paradox by 

  • Superfoods by 

  • Athlete Diet by 

Quiet Time

Sustainability and longevity are also related to the amount of stress we inflict and surround

ourselves with. Stress is around us all the time, in every thought, every action, every

movement. The pace of life is only getting faster as we have access to everything at our

fingertips. The long-term level of cortisol is extremely unhealthy. One of the best ways to

invert those levels is to instill quiet time in your daily routine. This will improve not only our

mood but also our decision making. We encourage all our athletes to STOP, PAUSE, and

BREATH at least 1x a day. Take 5-15 minutes and sit in a quiet place. Allow your mind to

process some thoughts and reflect upon the day. You will thank us later. Health and happiness

are found in the quiet moments of the day!

Resources

Heart Breath Mind by Leah Lagos

  • A book that helps you start a routine of pausing during the day, even when life is hectic!


Breath by James Nestor (link)

  • A book on the importance of breathing and ways to improve performance by reverting by to our ancestral roots! A book on performance and everyday life. 

Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown

  • Scientific Breathing techniques to help improve fitness, altitude training, sleep, concentration, asthma, and even weight loss

Supplements

Here at the Elbow Athlete, we believe in doing the little things to get you to top performance.

There is always new information about the lastest and greatest, but often times that is only to

improve the 1%. If we are not doing the other 99% of things then there is no benefit to them.

While we are not experts on all the different kinds of supplements to improve health and

wellness, we do recognize that many of us are not getting the daily nutrients and minerals

that our body requires to function properly. That is why before you try all the crazy things out

there on the internet. Start with a daily vitamin! Get on a routine and remember it’s the

consistency over time that creates changes. Live the life you want by making the conscious

decisions daily.

ONNIT (link) is a company we trust and stand behind as putting out a quality product!

There you have it! The self-guided tool to help you overcome your elbow pain. We hope you have enjoyed the journey and feel confident in your ability to take part in your recovery and rehabilitation! Please let us know what you think by sending us an update of your journey!!

Reach out if you have any questions or need any more information. Or if you need to set up a consultation with our credentialed physical therapist follow this (link)!!!

We will continue to provide updates and new information we have found to be effective in treating injuries.  Enjoy developing a routine that works for you. Use our checklist (link) as a

resource. Remember it’s the consistency over time that creates the change!!

DAY to Day Approach

Step:1 Mobilize – increase blood flow to improve tissue pliability

Step 2: Stabilize – activate and warm up into primary movements

Step 3: Strengthen – Focus on tolerance to increased activity, depends on periodization of training

Step 4: Sustain – The activities that keep you healthy and increase longevity

Phase 3: Strengthen & Sustain : Welcome

VIDEOS

Scroll through some of the videos below for helpful tips on how to use KT tape, Versa Gripps, Golf swing form, Tennis swing form, and Bench Press form.

Phase 3: Strengthen & Sustain : Text

EQUIPMENT

We personally use each item below to help with our workout routines, athletic activities, and daily life to get stronger, faster, and better without repeating injury.

Phase 3: Strengthen & Sustain : Text

VERSA GRIPPS FOR WEIGHT TRAINING

Great for minimizing grip and elbows for pressing and pulling exercises

We don't leave the house without these! Seriously they make a HUGE difference in our workouts by allowing us to lift heavy while minimizing grip strain.

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Phase 3: Strengthen & Sustain : About
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HARBINGER LIFTING STRAPS FOR DEADLIFTS

Perfect for heavy deadlifts

You could use the Versa Gripps for deadlifts, but these are more ergonomical and easier to use for heavy deadlifts.

Phase 3: Strengthen & Sustain : About

OLYMPIC LIFTING STRAPS

Lower profile straps for Olympics Lifts

These are great for snatches and cleans, which require a quick release when dropping the barbell. 
Other straps may not release quickly enough and cause injury when dropping the weight. We've found that the Gymreapers provide the right amount of grip assistance while still allowing for a smooth release of the bar.

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Phase 3: Strengthen & Sustain : About
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KT TAPE

Great for athletes as extra preventative measure

This is extremely helpful for competitive athletes who want additional protection against repetitive overuse injuries during hard workouts or athletic events.

Phase 3: Strengthen & Sustain : About

ELBOW FLOSSING

Elastic compression technique

Some Elbow Athlete team members love this and feel tremendous elbow relief with it. We recommend only doing this 1x per week and watching the instructions that come with the purchase of this tool.

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Phase 3: Strengthen & Sustain : About
Fitness Armband

ALL ABOUT ELBOW ATHLETE

An Essential Read

Elbow athlete, coming soon to your device, has been named throughout the industry as the next new sensation. You can easily access and enjoy this publication from the comfort of your home or office, anytime. So if you’re ready for a new reading experience - add your contact details below and download your own copy of Elbow athlete today!

Phase 3: Strengthen & Sustain : About
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