Review of Thera-Band FlexBar
Thera-Band FlexBar is a great piece of reconditioning equipment for your tendinopathy in the elbow (aka tennis elbow). There has been study that have shown that utilizing iso-kinetic eccentric exercise improved lateral epicondylosis (LE). More on the study at the end.
So what is Eccentric Training?
It is defined as active contraction of a muscle happening simultaneously with lengthening of the muscle. This can be seen in a bicep curl when the act of lowering the dumbell down from the curl.
When I was suffering with repeated pain or soreness after doing any kind of workout including playing tennis, I would use this flexBar to stretch out the tendon.
The idea is to use this FlexBar multiple times in the day to give a good stretch to your tendon. It is recommended to do at least 3 set of 15 each day. If either of you remember gym soreness, you will remember the fastest way to recover is to go back and stretch out the muscle fibers. The same applies here. I did a set of 10 twits at least 7 or 8 times in the day. I also noticed that if I did a set or two before starting to play, I had no pain throughout the match. Although, I did still wear the BandIT forearm strap during the match which also provides additional support and relief to the tendon.
The green bar has a resistance of 15lbs. If you need something lighter or heavier feel free to check out these options as well:
Remember if you feel that the exercise is getting easy, you may want to step up to a heavier bar.
Product Description: A lightweight, portable exerciser to improve grip strength & upper extremity function. Three sizes & levels of progressive resistance available: red (light), green (medium), & blue (firm). Contains dry natural rubber which may cause allergic reactions.
Shipping Weight: 1 lb
Sale Price: $18.90 compared to List Price: $73.25
About the Study & Invention of the FlexBar
The first recommendation of using eccentric exercise to manage tendinopathies was made by Stanish et al in 1986. They suggested that lengthening of the muscle-tendon complex resulted in structural modeling of the tendon with hypertrophy and increase tensile strength of the tendon. There has been further study which raised questions on the effectiveness and dosage of therapeutic eccentric exercises. Woodley et al noted a lack of high-quality studies comparing the effectiveness of eccentric exercise to standard management(ice, rest, exercise) of tendinopathies.
Clinical researches at the Nicholas Institute of Sports medicine and Athletic Trauma developed a novel eccentric exercise using a flexible rubber bar for patients with LE. The researchers wanted to provide a cost-effective home based exercise for their patients rather than using the an isokinetic dynamometer and resulted in the creation of FlexBar exercise sequence.
They conducted a trial using 22 LE patients where some were given standard physical therapy(PT) and others received both standard PT and FlexBar exercises. The study would last 7 weeks or until the patient had a resolution of symptoms. The folks that performed the FlexBar exercise had significantly more improvement that those that received standard PT 81% vs 22%.
– Northern American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2971639/)