Pullups and elbow pain
Several months ago I broke down and bought an Iron Gym doorway pullup apparatus. I love it. I love it so much that if my house was burning down I'd: (A) save the family (B) save the pets (C) run through the flames one more time and rescue my Iron Gym.
However, when I got it ... I went rather hog-wild and suffered a fairly nagging case of medial epicondylitis, elbow pain.
I was a little flummoxed because I'd adopted the neutral-grip, the grip which is typically said to be easier on the elbows.
Then two things occurred to me: (1) the neutral-grip allows for the most pronounced elbow flexion of the three grips and (2) part-and-parcel of the thumbless grip I was using had me flexing hard with the forearms to assist in the pull.
These together, I suspect, placed a lot of stress on the tissues around the elbow.
So, I made three changes: (1) I switched to the standard pronated grip, your standard pullups and (2) brought the thumb back in play and (3) keep my wrists straight, no flexing.
With standard pullups you can't get the severe elbow flexion that the neutral-grip affords. And using the thumb and extending the wrists takes the already excited forearm flexors out of play a bit.
Yes, it does impede performance a bit. I'm lacking the height I was getting at top with the neutral-grip. But no pain during the exercise and less residual pain.
Hope this might help someone out there. Yes, the astute reader will note that I went 'hog-wild' in the beginning and chalk it up as mere overuse. But I do think it's interesting, and encouraging, that these simple changes seem to work as well as they do.