We lifters can be awfully stubborn. Often, we train regardless of injury or pain, pushing past our limits which is usually a great thing, but this can lead to some long-term effects on our joints. If you are in no rush to go and see a physio, then at the very least use these 5 training techniques to prevent any permanent damage.

1. Warm up. A lot

Every person under the sun has said this. But there is never enough time to warm up you keep telling everyone as your joints hurt and crackle like popcorn. Warm ups increase your performance and will make your training more effective. This is especially true for our strength training compatriots.

Extremely heavy weights take a big toll on our joint health so you need to make sure they are performing optimally in order for you to perform the same, as well as avoiding arthritis. Whether you are using light weight sets, running on the treadmill, or a combination of both, just make sure that you are warm.

2. Become the form police

Not that using body English or momentum is terribly bad, it has a place in training and their own benefits. To aching joints? They are definitely foe rather than friend. Momentum puts a large amount of stress on joints, tendons, and ligaments, particularly if you are attempting to overcome a heavy weight. You will need to use a lighter weight but in the long run your joints will be significantly healthier and allow you to push heavier weights.

3. Don’t do it if it hurts

Just because someone has told you that one specific movement is the greatest thing in the world, if it is causing you pain then you shouldn’t do it. That means that it is an unnatural movement for your body so it is not worth putting your joints at risk, especially considering there is always an alternative that will work just as well.

If using a barbell bench press causes pain, use a dumbbell press instead. Alternatively, find a movement that doesn’t cause you pain and use that. Even trading in multijoint movements for single joint movements are a good idea.

4. Don’t lock out

By taking the movement to the absolute end of the range of motion causes the stress to shift from the muscle to the joint due to the fact that it increases the maximal surface tension between the two bones. When using heavy loads this stress is compounded which puts more pressure on the joint. When doing a movement, stop 15 degrees before the end of the ROM.

5. Avoid pushing to failure

It is a critical component of training to push yourself past the limits of failure. Not only for muscle building but for strength training as well because this is where most of our progress is made. However, pushing past failure when you are trying to heal a wounded joint offers very little returns except in the way of pain. This is because pushing past failure generally requires a lack of proper technique to move the weight, putting strain on the joints and the connective tissue.

If you are feeling like your joints need some rest, try these few techniques in your next training session along with a hearty joint support to kick-start the process.

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