Interview with Rick Kaselj: Preventing and Healing Forearm Injuries
Hello DIESELS. Last November, I did an interview with Rick Kaselj when I first heard about his program, Muscle Imbalances Revealed – Upper Body Edition, but I totally forgot about it until just now.
Rick and I released Fixing Elbow Pain this week, so I thought I would re-post the interview here. Rick really knows his stuff about recovering from injuries without surgery, pills, and endless appointments, so check it out below.
INTERVIEW ORIGINALLY POSTED NOVEMBER 11, 2011
Today I have an interview with Rick Kaselj of ExercisesforInjuries.com.
I had heard Rick was taking interviews this week in conjunction with the release of his product, Muscle Imbalances Revealed – Upper Body Edition this week. I immediately contacted Rick about an interview to go over Medial and Lateral Epicondylitis (Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow), how to prevent them, and how to heal from them. You would not believe the number of questions I get about how to deal with these conditions and many others for the forearm from both Grip and Strongman Trainees. Speaking from experience, I know how bad these conditions can be because I have suffered from them many times over the years. In fact, when i first started doing Strongman Training, my medial epicondyles were so inflamed that I could not make it through a workout without ibuprofen super-doses.
Without further ado, please check out what Rick has to say about lower arm health.
Jedd: Rick, your name has been tossed around by some of the biggest names in the business. Your products have really proven to be game changers for Personal Trainers, Therapists, and Strength Coaches by using an active approach to addressing injuries and correcting imbalances. I think your methods are perfect for the Diesel Universe as well because we are always aiming to perform at a high level whether we are working toward world class grip strength, competing in strongman or powerlifting, or just trying to be as strong as possible. I truly feel your experience is going to help a lot of my readers, so thank you for taking the time to do this interview.
Rick: Thanks for the kind words. I am glad what I have to say has been able to help so many people.
Very cool to be asked to share a few things with the Diesel Universe.
A few days back I was watching some videos on your blog and my 4 year old son asked, “Can you do that, dad?”
I had to say, “No.”
He then asked, ”Can I do that?”
“Listen to what Jedd and the Diesel Crew have to say and you can.”
Not sure how the wife will like it if my son starts bending frying pans.
Okay, Jedd, hit me with your questions.
Jedd: Rick, a lot of the guys who come to my site engage in non-conventional training, especially odd object lifting such as atlas stones, natural stones, kegs, sandbags and more. One common result is inflammation of the elbow near the medial epicondyle. What is one thing my guys can do to prevent this from happening when time on the implements is so important to success?
Rick: Check out below…
What is Medial Epicondylitis (ME)?
If we look at medial epicondylitis, it is an issue with the wrist flexors (wrist curling) and some people call it “golfer’s elbow”.
Epicondylitis begins as an inflammation of the tendons but can progress to the breakdown of the tendons.
Big things that leads to ME is repeated flexion, pronation (from palm up to palm down), and valgus stress to the elbow (upper arm does not move and the forearm moves away from the body). Can you already think about the things that can be leading to this?
Okay, enough of the science mumbo jumbo. I know you are thinking, what can I do about it.
What can I do about Medial Epicondylitis?
Look at What is Causing the Problem – In your workouts are you doing to much pulling movements or bending movements (bending a bar).
Look at Your Movements – Are you using your wrist and forearms way to much when you should be using your back, legs and chest to do the movement or exercise.
Are You Putting too Much Stress on the Inside of Your Elbow – Look at ripping apart movements. For example, breaking chains.
Take a Break From the Problem – I would never say stop something but you might want to take a break from something. If you have been doing a ton of plate grip work or weighted rope pulls, maybe move over to un-weighted rope and sand bag challenges.
Massage It Out – After your workout, take some time to self-massage. You get that pump in your muscle, especially in your forearms. Take some time to rub or massage the wrist flexors to relax the muscle, help with recovery and move it from a shortened position (tight and pulling on the injury), to a relaxed one (no stress on the injury). (Jedd’s Note – This is a FANTASTIC Idea – Thanks Rick!)
Get Some Manual Therapy – There are all kinds of techniques out there, but getting manual therapy done has a lot research that supports it.
Let’s get to the next question because I know you are going to ask me about exercises to do and stretching.
Jedd: Rick, in years past, I’ve pushed too hard and developed what is referred to as tennis elbow. I get no fewer than 20 emails per year asking about how to get rid of this condition. In your experience, what is the best way to fend this condition off and if it is developed, how to get rid of it?
Rick: See below…
What is Lateral Epicondylitis (LE)?
Let me just step back and explain a few things. So, tennis elbow is called lateral epicondylitis and it was first talked about in 1882 (Wow) where they called it “lawn tennis elbow” and occurs about 10 times more frequently than ME.
Just like medial epicondylitis, it can be caused by what you do for work or from sport.
If we look at what movements causes it, we can see what unconventional strength training can lead to it.
LE occurs when performing activities involving repeated supination and pronation (rotation of the hand from palm up to palm down and vise versa) with the elbow extended (straight).
Now to what you can do about it.
What Can You do About Lateral Epicondylitis (LE)?
Some of this overlaps with ME.
Look at What is Causing the Problem – In your workouts are you doing to much kettlebell swings, pinch grip work, keg lifting or dumbbell work.
Watch Wide Grip Work – Grabbing things like a glob and a blob put the hand into a wide grip, that puts more stress on the outer part of the elbow.
Look at Your Technique – This is an extension of above. Are you using your wrists and elbows too much when your legs, back and shoulder should be doing the bulk of the work.
Tendon Strengthening Exercises – There is a lot of research backing up eccentric training for both ME and LE in order to help strengthen the tendons.
You focus on the eccentric movement with a light weight (1 to 2 pounds / maybe more for the Diesel Universe) doing three sets of 15 repetitions, three times per day where you focus on the eccentric movement of wrist flexion (ME) or wrist extension (LE).
It is not a hard exercise but it targets the problem. The negative is it could irritate things more which is normal.
I would also recommend the taking a break from the problem, self massage and manual therapy, like I mentioned above.
Jedd: Rick, this has been outstanding information so far. I would be remiss if I did not touch on one other thing. A lot of my readers engage in feats of strength like steel bending, chain breaking, and other forms of training that are hard on the fingers. What advice to you have for us all in the Grip and Bending Community for keeping our fingers healthy, especially the smaller connective tissues? (Sadly, two years ago I jammed my left pinky finger playing basketball and it still has lingering issues, so any help here is appreciated)
Rick: I’ve got to say this… So, you lift, bend, grip, pinch and throw crazy stuff but the thing that injured your finger was a 22 oz basketball. Okay.
We got to start off with the wording. “Jammed finger” does not sound manly.
You really need to say, PIP injury or proximal interphalangeal injury.
Now that sounds cool.
Here are a few things that I can recommend:
- Use taping or chalk to help prevent finger injuries when appropriate
- If you jam it, keep working on the movement of the joint
- Splinting or buddy-taping with another finger is good for less than 2 weeks
- If there is deformity in the joint, get it looked at and you may need to get some hand therapy to speed up recovery
Big thing with finger injuries, if they are not dealt with right after injury, it’s harder to fix them later on.
Jedd: Rick, again, thanks for taking some time for us. This info is going to help a lot of people, myself included. How can we find out more about addressing issues such as these, as well as other issues some of my guys might need help with, such as banged up shoulders, tweaked biceps, and possibly pec injuries? I’ve got a very broad audience here and I know many of them have underlying issues they are training through and around on a weekly basis?
Rick: Okay, I will get to answering your question, just give me one minute.
I never answered the stretching thing for LE and ME. I would do it but it would not be my focus. I would focus on the self-massage, taking a break from things that make it worse, eccentric exercise program and getting manual therapy work. Some times with the stretching, you could be making things worse, compared to better.
One more thing that I’ve got to say, if things do not get better or keep getting worse with your ME and LE, get it looked at by someone to rule out that it could be something else.
Now to my last thing. Jedd, let me wrap up with a few reference that people can refer to if they want more information on what I chatted about above.
I know this is dorky but there may be a few of your readers that want more detailed scientific info:
Freiberg A. (2007). Management of proximal interphalangeal joint injuries. Can J Plast Surg. 2007 Winter;15(4):199-203. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19554177
Hudes K. (2011). Conservative management of a case of medial epicondylosis in a recreational squash player. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2011 Mar;55(1):26-31. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21403779
Walz DM, Newman JS, Konin GP, Ross G. (2010). Epicondylitis: pathogenesis, imaging, and treatment. Radiographics. 2010 Jan;30(1):167-84. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20083592
Jedd: Thanks for the solid references, Rick, and the awesome information in the interview.
Guys, if you would like to find out more information about preventing and recuperating from upper body imbalances, you’ve got to check out Rick’s Muscle Imbalances Revealed – Upper Body Edition. Give this thing a try, especially if you have lingering issues, have noticed things feeling differently in your upper body lifts, or if what you have been trying has not been working in your efforts to get rid of issues.
Thanks again to Rick Kaselj!
All the best in your training.
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