SOS - Struggling with power chords!

Hi all :wave:,

I’ve been following Justin Guitar course for a while now, just completed Beginning grade 2 course, currently in the consolidation phase. I’ve been focusing on learning songs with power chords and working on developing the F chord. I’ve been making good progress but have recently been experiencing tennis elbow. Not sure if it’s due to bad technique or over working my wrist and arm with power chords and the F chord. Has anyone else had any issues with this? Does anyone have any advice on how to avoid this or how to get over tennis elbow? I’m currently taking a break from guitar to allow my arm to heal, very disheartening as I was making good progress, feel I’m now taking backwards steps.




Dan, I’m in the exact same place doing the exact same thing! Only no arm problem.

Regarding the power chords I’m revisiting them only using two strings instead of three. Seems to be coming together much better.

Good luck :+1:

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I had issue with tennis elbow and power/barre chords as well. The problem was two-fold:

  1. Squeezing too hard

  2. Too much bending at the wrist

After taking time off to mend, I decided to use an old power-chord mini-course on JG to work on my strength and form. Here’s a link to it: Master Rock Power Chords

BTW, i simply found some good stretches and excercises for tennis/golfers elbow on the web and followed them for about 3 months until I felt better. I only stopped playing for a week or two until the stretches/excercises began to show a slight improvement.

I strongly suggest you actively work on keeping your fretting wrist as straight as possible and squeezing the least amount necessary to fret the 2 (or 3) strings for your power chords. It will both save your arm and make barre chords so much easier as your hand strength and your proper form continue to build through practice.



Hi thanks for your message.

I’ve currently taking a few weeks off to allow my arm to rest. I’ve started doing some stretching and exercises, not sure of it’s helping. What stretches and exercises did you do?

All the best,

I think I got the routine from WebMD or someplace similar. It included wrist curls (palm up and palm down) and rotating my wrist while holding a hammer in my hand. The weight of the head created the resistance.

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A also had issues with overuse symptoms, when I practiced power chords and F changes and moving the F exessively at the same time. I had to stop and then slow down the whole process. I took a break from power chords for a couple of weeks and then restarted with at least one day break inbetween two practice sessions. Worked for me. I think it’s a process to get used to it and to build up hand strenght. But nevertheless, you should check your wrist and thumb position. For me, tension is caused by pressing too hard with my thumb.

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I did a a post on this…

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None of the conventional advice (rest, braces, etc) worked for me…this is what did…

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Tennis elbow can be brutal. I haven’t had it, my wife has had and found it exceptionally difficult to get over.

In terms of prevention, hand/wrist strengthening seems to help.

Also, once you’ve recovered, try to play power chords standing up. The angle is much easier than when seated.

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Hi Dan,

I’ll risk being unpopular and ask how do you know it’s tennis elbow and not radial tunnel syndrome?
Have you been diagnosed by a specialist? Have you had any specific tests done?

My experience with rehab suggests isometric exercises or eccentric contractions when tendon injuries are involved.
But we don’t know your case and I’m not a doctor, so please get yourself checked :wink::pray:

I don’t know for sure it is definitely tennis elbow, my symptoms are very typical of tennis elbow. Also pain started when putting strain on the area where the pain is. I’ve been doing stretches and strengthening exercises and pressure points exercises so fingers crossed this will work.


click here for information :arrow_down:

when in doubt for a tennis elbow

Because that’s pretty serious…

good luck and be wise…


Loved that Rogier @roger_holland!
And I second that.

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It is probably due to form issues. You could try to take a video of your playing and ask.

Wear a brace and stop. It takes about 6 full weeks of no reinjury to fully heal but you could probably start light playing after a week or two depending on the way it feels. Always listen to your body and the doctors.

I’m going to take a few lessons with a guitar teacher once my arm feels better. there’s obviously something wrong with my technique, one on one lessons will help identify the mistakes i’m making. Playing most chords or single notes feels fine, only really get pain when playing power chords or the F chord. Going to give it another week and will star practicing again and avoid power chords and the F chord until the pain has completely gone.

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