Weight and Resistance Training - Popping elbow when lifting

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09-21-2005, 11:25 AM
I have a problem (not sure if this might be normal) I recently started to add weight lifting to my lifestyle. (3rd week into it/ I lift 3 times a week) When I do the seated over head (10# weight) I hear/feel a popping in my left elbow it doesn't happen with my right. I've tried using a less weight and even no weight and it's still there. Thanks in advance for any info.

P.S. Is it better to eat before a workout or after.

09-21-2005, 05:20 PM
You might try a very slight change of angle on the left arm and see if that eliminates the popping.

I eat a protein, carb, and good fat ( e.g., 1/4 c ff cottage cheese, 1/4 c pineapple, 3 almonds) before I work out, and then I eat breakfast (2 proteins, 3 carbs, 2 fats--I add an extra carb after working out).

09-21-2005, 07:00 PM
I eat after workout then I am good and hungry

09-21-2005, 09:33 PM
First, the elbow :)
Do you have pain with the popping or just noise? The general rule of thumb is that if it's just popping, creaking, etc and no pain, you're OK. If you are using a machine press, I'd suggest moving to dumbbells and that will solve and "angle" problems. The machine locks you into one position whether that is anatomically good for you or not. There are lots of other reasons to use dumbbells which we've covered in many threads here.

If you do have pain, try changing the angle (see above). If you still have pain, stop doing the exercise and see a trainer for an alternate exercise or a doctor to find out what is wrong. If this is only a problem when you do one particlar lift...find an alternate exercise! There's more than one way to skin a cat.

Next question is FOOD. Another "it depends" answer. For maximum weightloss, it is most effective to do a workout on an empty stomach, especially cardio. If you don't workout first thing in the morning, that's not possible. If you are like me and can't function without food, lifting on an empty stomach is a dangerous idea. I generally tell my clients to have a protein and healthy carb meal 1-2 hours before their workouts. Some people can't workout if they have food in their stomachs, some people can literally eat through a workout. I've had more people "bonk" from not eating than feel sick from eating.

Hope that helps :)


09-21-2005, 10:49 PM
Thanks for the replys. There is no pain when I do the that move. Just the pop isn annoying guess I'll just try to ignore it. I tried different angles still happens even with out weights. I don't have a machine just use dumbelss and a curl bar. Since I just started to lift I'm not sure what will help me firm up my batwings. Grrr I hate having them! I'll check into more tricept workouts. I'm like you I feel so much better if I eat before I lift or any workout to tell the truth. I just get a good workout unless I eat something.

09-22-2005, 08:14 AM
Oh , the dreaded batwings! Fill up your entire upper arm and shoulder area with muscle!

Tricep work, bicep curls from lots of angles, shoulder work (and don't forget that the shoulder muscle, the deltoid, has 4 heads- meaning you need to do 4 different lifts to cover all of them.)

Take a look at exrx.net for some ideas, or The Body Sculpting Bible for Women.


09-22-2005, 11:14 AM
Mel -- I didn't know my shoulders had 4 heads :fr: .... Is that what my problem is? :lol:

Ok, get serious here, I like to eat before and after a workout or I will ''bonk'' like Mel said. I like to eat oatmeal and eggwhites about 1-2 hours before, afterwards I like my protein and strawberries shake... When I run first think in the morning I don't eat though...

09-22-2005, 12:05 PM
I recently started doing pushups again and found that my left elbow pops and makes strange noises so I've been afraid to continue doing them. It's only with my left elbow. And it's only with pushups, I can lift weights and not have the sound. Strange how our bodies work.

Would the no pain, it's probably ok appy to this situation also. I'm tired of going to the doctor only to be told, "You're 42 years old, it's what happens as you age" or "it's a touch of arthritis, stop doing what hurts and do something else."


09-22-2005, 12:34 PM
Is there any chance that your popping is related to muscle weakness/imbalance? I know that this can be a real problem with knees, where you get a lot of joint wear and problems because the knee cap starts tracking incorrectly.

Before I resumed lifting I was experiencing chronic minor shoulder pain which went away when I strengthened my shoulders. Now my shoulders feel great.

Maybe your problem will go away as you gain strength? If it doesn't I would consider dropping all exercises that make it go "pop".

09-22-2005, 12:52 PM
I think there are two types of popping - one which hurts and one which does not. When I was instructing yoga, I've heard from students that "O, it pops!" What we were taught is that pops which do not hurt are harmless - it means it is releasing some liquids (?) and eventually it should go away. On my own example, my back was popping during one of the poses for along time, however it never hurt, and eventually I noticed that it just went away - I am still doing this pose but no popping sound.

However, if popping sound goes together with pain, especially sharp pain - stop what you are going and go see a doctor!

Again, I do not have medical degree, it is just what we were taught about 4 years ago during certification in our province and I tried to find it in the book but could not anymore (or was it just in words?) It is again North American approach - see a doc when it hurts and doc will give you medicine so that it does not hurt, but the problem will be still there??? As long as it does not hurt, do not bother doctor because he can not tell you to take medicine that it does not hurt, as it does not hurt in the first place :)


09-22-2005, 12:54 PM
Sarah - My mum gets that all the time... "It's your age!" Maybe someone should come up with a prescription for the "age" condition! In my mum's case some weights and a good kick up the bum would help! :lol:

09-22-2005, 01:09 PM
If I stopped all exercises that made creaking or popping sounds I'd just have to lie on the floor and breathe slowly :lol:

09-22-2005, 02:26 PM
If I stopped all exercises that made creaking or popping sounds I'd just have to lie on the floor and breathe slowly :lol: :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl: YOU are too funny, but it's so TRUE!! I can just visualise you lying on the floor breathing slowly ... :lol3:

My knees pop when I do leg extensions and leg presses but they don't hurt, so I've never worried about it...

Sir Savage
09-23-2005, 08:51 PM
I'm an avid recreational bodybuilder and this used to happen to me all the time when I first started.

Mine wasn't painful either, it was just sort of uncomfortable, mostly because I didn't know what was going on.

Eventually, though, it just went away with time. Perhaps it just takes time for the muscles, tendons, or what have you to get used to the movement.

09-23-2005, 10:02 PM
Or sometimes you just keep popping and creaking :) I've been doing this for years, too. Somedays my first set of an exercise sounds like rice crispies. Other times, smooth and quiet.

When I first started lifting heavy, I used to have to wrap my knees before each set of squats or leg presses. As the musculature supporting the joints became stronger, I stopped wrapping. But still on my first set, my right knee still clicks if I'm doing single leg presses or squats. Because the popping goes away by the second set(usually), I suspect it takes that long to get enough synovial fluid into the particular joint. The solution is to do a very light, high rep warm-up set. For me, that's 15 squats with just the bar. Or 15 bench presses with the bar so that I don't have the same problem with my shoulders.


09-24-2005, 06:49 AM
Sarahyu - I am 46 years old and I do NOT agree with the "touch of arthritis - this is age - go do something else " approach AT ALL. I certainly don't see why you at 42 years old should put up with it. I do not consider a person over 40 to be so old that you should avoid certain movements etc.

I have a tendency to joint pain and a family riddled with arthritis. I found on internet that if you have strong muscles on both sides of the joint, this helps because the joint itself is loaded less. The point is, as Robert says, to get yourself into that enviable condition that you have those strong balanced muscles.

I use weightlifting for it, and it helps!!

good luck,

09-24-2005, 01:38 PM
Sarahyu, I second rabbit's advice. I'm 51 and have fibromyalgia, "a touch of arthritis" and chronic fatigue. If I'd listened to my doctors, I really would be just lying on the floor instead of doing squats, pushups, and pullups.. If you really have arthritis, the best thing you can do is keep moving!


09-24-2005, 10:48 PM
Yup Yup Yup, on Mel's "Keep Moving" my doctor told me I needed to loose weight because I was going to need to have my knees replaced and we just wanted to make them last as long as possible before they were replaced AND it was to bad I wouldn't be able to walk for exercise to help me loose it.

Well when I started walking 2 years ago I needed a cane and I took a phone with me so if I fell down and hurt myself I could call for help. I'm now weight lifting, walking, using the eliptical, and feeling soooo much better. I can do squats and lunges and seldom have any more pain. Every once and a while I will move wrong and get reminded to keep moving but I am doing so much better I can hardly believe it.

My personal trainer comments that some days she can hear my knees clicking but it doesn't hurt anymore and my knees are so very much stronger it is a real relief.

09-26-2005, 11:16 AM
Oh, I don't listen to the doctors advice about stop doing it. I argue with them and demand to see the physical therapist to learn how to not have pain when I do something.

I just don't like the crunchy sound in my left arm when I do full pushups. I still do other exercises and walk/run. If I stopped, I think I'd freeze up like the tin man in the wizard of oz. :lol:

Most every doctor I've spoken with for the last couple years has said "stop running, stop doing this and that." Shoot, If I listen to those doctors I'd be in bed doing absolutely nothing! I'm not going to stop running, I'm going to go to the PT and see what I'm doing incorrectly.