TheraBand FlexBar Treatment of Tennis Elbow

TheraBand FlexBar is a strengthening tool that can be used to relieve the pain of tennis elbow. Treatment of tennis elbow includes avoidance of movements that exacerbate the problem, combined with strengthening exercises.

Men with elbow pain in the park
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Studies Support Treating Tennis Elbow With Eccentric Exercise

A study presented at the American Society of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting and later published in the North American Journal of Sports and Physical Therapy examined people who had persistent tennis elbow despite conservative management. Half of the patients in the study used the TheraBand FlexBar to perform strengthening exercises of the forearm. These exercises are specifically designed to perform eccentric strengthening maneuvers—a method of strengthening that has been successful in treating other musculoskeletal conditions, such as Achilles tendonitis.

Participants who used the TheraBand FlexBar experienced more improvement than those who didn't use it. This was a preliminary study, with very few participants. The study established that the exercises are a safe treatment that can help reduce medication use and reduce the potential of medication side effects.

A subsequent review examined a number of separate studies, and they all showed that using resistance exercise reduced pain and improved grip strength. The exercise programs varied in duration (one month to a year) and frequency (exercising once a day to six times per day). Due to the variability, researchers couldn't conclude the ideal duration or frequency of exercise.

Eccentric Exercises 

The eccentric exercises done with the TheraBand Flexbar are shown in the research paper, as well as on the TheraBand website, and are available with the product when it is sold.

For example, if you have tennis elbow of your right arm, this arm would be described as the involved side. 

  • You begin by holding the bar upright in your right hand so it is positioned vertically at the center of your body.
  • You then grab the top end of the bar with your left hand.
  • Next, you should twist your left wrist so the bar will be horizontal and out in front of your body, with both of your elbows fully extended. Your left wrist is fully flexed while your right wrist is fully extended.
  • Then you slowly allow your right wrist to untwist into full flexion.

The Flexbar is made from dry, natural rubber and it is a foot long. They are available in different diameters that take more or less force to bend into a U shape. It has ridges to make it easier to grip.

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Article Sources
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  • "Easy Strength Training Exercise May Help Treat Tennis Elbow, Study Shows" American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, Annual Meeting. 7/11/2009.
  • Phil Page, "A new exercise for tennis elbow that works," N Am J Sports Phys Ther, 2010 5(3):189-93
  • Raman J, MacDermid JC, Grewal R.. "Effectiveness of different methods of resistance exercises in lateral epicondylosis—a systematic review." J Hand Ther. 2012 Jan-Mar;25(1):5-25; quiz 26. doi: 10.1016/j.jht.2011.09.001.