Exercises That Strengthen Elbow Muscles Around the Joint


To strengthen the muscles surrounding your elbow joint, you must perform two types of exercises: curls and extensions. Curls target the flexors of your elbows, those muscles that bend the joint. Extensions, on the other hand, work your extensors, those muscles that straighten the joint. Perform three to four exercises for your elbow muscles once to twice per week and you will be well on your way to improving the strength and stability of your elbows.

Biceps and Brachialis

  • The strongest of the elbow flexor muscles are your biceps and brachialis. Both are located at the front of your upper arms, with the biceps lying over the brachialis. Underhanded biceps curls allow you to work both of these muscles extensively. Grip a barbell, stand with your body upright and then bend your elbows as much as you can. The key here is to keep your elbows by your sides so this does not become a front shoulder raise exercise. Hold the peak contraction for a second or two and then return the barbell back down.


  • The other main elbow flexor muscle, albeit lesser known, is the brachioradialis. This is often thought of as a forearm muscle, because it is mainly located at your outer forearms, but it is in fact an elbow flexor muscle. Hammer curls are an excellent exercise to strengthen this muscle, as well the brachialis. To do this movement, grip a dumbbell in each hand, stand upright and rotate your forearms to a neutral position. Bend your elbows as much as possible, keeping one end of the dumbbells pointing up and the other pointing down. Hold for one or two seconds and lower the dumbbells back down.

Triceps and Anconeus

  • The triceps and its little helper, the anconeus, are located in your rear arms. They function to straighten your arms, which is referred to as elbow extension. Hence you have to do elbow extension exercises to strengthen these muscles. Example exercises are the triceps pushdown and overhead triceps extension. The former is a very simple exercise. You stand facing the cable pulley, hold the cable bar and then straighten your arms to full extension. Then you return the bar back up until your arms are bent a little more than 90 degrees. To do overhead triceps extensions, you need stand facing away from the cable pulleys, hold the cable bar over your head with your arms bent and then straighten your arms to full extension. Return the bar down to the start and repeat.

Exercise Tips

  • You can't only do a single set per exercise and expect to make any significant gains in your strength. Rather, do three sets per exercise. Also, you need keep your repetitions lower than 15 to remain in the "strength-building" range rather than training more for endurance. Eight to 15 reps is the recommended rep range in this case.

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