swimming-elbow-tennis When looking for that perfect exercise and overall great workout, the exercise needs to build power, improve flexibility, increase cardio and at the same time protect your joints.

Well if you like to swim, you’ve found the perfect overall full body workout and exercise!

Yes swimming is the perfect exercise but…not all swimming strokes are tennis elbow friendly!

There Are 3 Specific Swimming Strokes and Styles To Avoid, If You Want to Fully Recover From Tennis Elbow


There are many swimming strokes to choose from. Some strokes are targeted for beginners and some for more advanced swimmers. Some people swim recreationally and others competitively.

I am no expert in swimming(…to be honest, I swim like a rock…)  but because of the nature of the bent arm movements with these strokes, you be best advised to avoid the swimming strokes below if you are to ever recover fully from tennis elbow or want to avoid it in the near future.

So here’s a list of swimming strokes that are bad for tennis elbow pain:

1) Freestyle Swimming Stroke Causes Tennis Elbow Pain

This type of swim stroke is sometimes referred to as the front crawl or side stroke. This stroke is used mostly in competitive swimming but is also frequently used at your local swimming pool lanes for laps.

This technique aka the front crawl is the fastest stroke and doesn’t require a lot of power but does require endurance.

The problem of this stroke as it applies to tennis elbow is in the arm over arm technique which uses a bent elbow and wrist as it comes out of the water, where the elbow is supported by water, and then crashes back into the water with a lot of speed, force and elbow rotation.

Overtime, people using this swimming technique will suffer from some degree of tennis elbow pain and this stroke should be avoided if you currently suffer from tennis elbow.

2) Back Stroke Is Bad for Tennis Elbow

The backstroke swimming technique is mainly used by competitive swimmers and not seen so much at your local pool. This swimming style involves alternating your arm over-the-head arm technique with a windmill type of motion.

There are 2 types of arm actions that are can be deployed by the swimmer:

a) The bent arm pull which creates serious strain, force and rotation of the elbow but is also the most efficient,

b) There is the straight arm pull – which is the easiest to learn.

The bent arm is worse for tennis elbow but I would avoid both of these arm movements and the backstroke all together is you want to stay away from tennis elbow or ever fully recover from it.

3) Butterfly Swimming Stroke Is the Worst Swim Style for Tennis Elbow

The third and final swimming stroke to avoid when it comes to tennis elbow is the butterfly. This is by far the most exhausting and challenging swim stroke. This stroke invokes a windmill like motion of both arms in unison.

The whipping of both the legs and stroke with both arms simultaneously again puts tremendous force on the elbow and arm as it comes flying out of the water and then crashed with extreme force into the water at lightning speed.

Overtime, the repetitive nature of this swimming stroke combined with the severe water impact and slapping of your hands will invoke and cause tennis elbow.

I can’t stress enough that the problem with these three swimming strokes is that they produce severe elbow and wrist rotation which puts a large amount of pressure on the elbow joint as the arm comes out of the water and then re-enters the water very fast.

Even if you only have a small tear in tendon that attaches your forearm to your elbow joint, if you keep performing these swimming strokes, the tear will get worse until it totally detaches itself away from the bone and…you don’t want that!

If you do suffer from elbow pain, on the outside of your elbow, even if it just comes and goes – there is a good chance you have tennis elbow.  If you choose to ignore this pain in hopes that it will magically disappear, it won’t.

It WILL get worse! At the first sign of elbow pain, you MUST address it…taking action early on when you first notice pain WILL result in a faster and speedier recovery.

And there’s no better way to completely eliminate your elbow pain for good…All from the comfort and convenience of your own home using step-by-step, instructional pics, and videos!

swimming strokes tennis elbow