Q: Sometimes when I do T-bar Rows, I have a really scary pain come down my arms. It’s like an electrical impulse that travels from the elbow down to my hand and it’s concerning me. It makes me stop focusing on my training and focus on fear instead. This happens typically when I lift heavy, but it has happened with moderate weight too. Can you tell me what is happening?
A: Well, it sounds like a pinched nerve and if it were us, we’d start at the chiropractor. But eventually, you need to check in with a physician too. A general practitioner may not really understand weightlifting enough to know how to help you mend, correct or alter your position or grip during training, or just tell you to quit altogether. This isn’t an option for most bodybuilders and you need someone who actually understands the mechanics of training. If you don’t experience this with any other exercise, then try altering your posture or switching to seated rows.
T-bars are an exercise not a lot of guys do a lot of anymore. They’re great, don’t get us wrong, but they are almost an extinct breed of equipment. If it only happens during this “position” of your body, in the bent over frame, the pain might originate in your back. However, if you have issues with your forearms or elbows, you’ll probably experience it elsewhere in your workouts. We suspect it’s the brachial nerve, and tension and pressure can exacerbate things. I’d be more concerned if it originated in the neck and that’s something an orthopedist or sports medicine doc can assess.
If you can find someone who is an ART practitioner (Active Release Therapy), you’ll find relief. If you go to a regular ol’ Joe of a doctor, you probably will be given meds and told to lay off. We suggest ART as a therapy and a means by which to release the pain and problem and help you understand how to avoid it.