Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is often due to excessive use of the forearm extensors.
Other than overusing the forearm extensors, tennis elbow can also be caused from poor shoulder positioning and/or grip strength. This is where where the forearm extensors overcompensate in movements like the clean and snatch.
Therefore, athletes battling tennis elbow should focus on improving thoracic range-of-motion (mid-back mobility). Tools like foam rolling, lat rollouts and smashing, and exaggerated stretches like the child’s pose will help fix the pain over time.
Pain is a sign to the body that something is wrong, so minimize any resisted forearm extension in the group classes. Movements like kettlebell swings, barbell cleans, and barbell snatches will tend to increase the tennis elbow pain as most people use the forearm extensors to move the object instead of recruiting the hips.
Substitute other objects into the movement in order to reach the same stimulus. Weighted glute bridges can be a great substitute for kettlebell swings, and dumbbell cleans and snatches can substitute the barbell variation.
But what you do in the gym is one hour of your day… Consider other activities that you may be doing outside the gym that might be causing the pain. If you can minimize or alter how you are performing those tasks, then do it.
*For a great resource on properly diagnosing pain and finding remedies, read Dr. Aaron Horshig’s book Rebuilding Milo.