A lot of people think that weightlifting can be bad for joints. In theory, this logic does make sense, since you're pushing on your muscles and lifting a lot of weight. As it turns out, however, the opposite may be true. Weightlifting is actually very good for your joints, in most circumstances.
Some research has even suggested that joints were healthier for individuals who lifted weights than they were for people that didn’t do any form of resistance training.
With that being said, there are circumstances when weightlifting can cause problems for your joints. It’s not actually dangerous to lift weights, but sometimes you may find yourself getting hurt while you’re lifting. It’s the same as if you were playing other sports or doing any other kind of physical activity.
There are generally two main situations when a person may injure their joints while lifting.
The first is when the person is trying to lift more weight than they can realistically handle. Yes, it’s important to challenge yourself and progressive overload is an important component of any weight lifting regime. With that in mind though, you’re not superhuman.
If you’re trying to lift double your body weight and you haven’t even been lifting weights for more than around 3 weeks, then you may want to reduce the amount of weight that you’re trying to lift for the sake of your joints. You don’t want to injure yourself, after all.
Weightlifting is an art form in itself. It’s not just a matter of picking up a weight, dropping it, then picking it up again. Form is an essential part of lifting weights. If you aren’t using the proper form while you’re lifting, then you are far more likely to injure your body. It’s very easy to lift weights with improper form, especially with notoriously difficult movements such as the deadlift, bench press and the squat.
Before you try to lift more than you can realistically carry, check your form first. Your body will thank you for it. If you are struggling with your form, practice with a lower weight than you can manage until you master the form.
Oh, and here’s another thing. It’s a common misconception that you have to be in pain when lifting weights. This is most certainly not the case. If you are feeling pain while you are lifting weights, it’s a good idea to stop what you’re doing and take a break.
Over straining your muscles can result in injuries, and that’s the last thing that you need when you’re trying to get good results in the gym. If you do get injured, make sure that you take a breather. Your muscles need time to heal if you’ve injured them.
In essence though, weightlifting is good for your joints, bones and muscles. The key is ensuring that you lift correctly when you’re doing it so that you can avoid injury. Getting injured thanks to improper weight lifting is bad for your joints, not weight lifting.
How can I lift weights with bad knees?
If you struggle with bad knees, you may be hesitant to take up weight lifting. After all, you may be concerned that strenuous activity will make your knees even worse. Thankfully though, it is possible to lift weights with bad knees. You just need to make some modifications to keep you safe while you exercise.
The first thing worth noting, however, is that you should always check with your doctor before starting a new form of exercise if you have a pre existing medical condition that could have an impact on you while you are exercising. Your doctor can advise whether the training in question will be a good fit for you and your condition.
The first thing to do is make sure that you have a great warmup before you start lifting. You should pay extra attention to your hamstrings and legs in general. If your hamstrings are warmed up, you will have more stability and range of motion as you are lifting. It will also mean that your compound movements will be much smoother.
Try not to go too heavy at first either. Once you have warmed up the legs, you can proceed with warming up the rest of the body before moving onto your main moves.
Before you start lifting, you should also be careful about the type of cardio that you do. Try to avoid things like running, cycling or rowing if you can, since these require a lot of repetitive actions that can impact your joints. Instead, try things like swimming if you can.
When you are ready to get started on your training, you should choose movements that give you your full range of motion. Stay away from partial lunges and half squats, since these movements can put too much of a load onto your quads. This can sometimes result in injury, and you may feel more imbalanced. This is a recipe for disaster when you already struggle with your joints.
Make sure that you’re looking out for your hips while you’re training too since they are closely linked with your knees. High knee walks and cradle walks can be a great choice for your hips.
If you are training with bad knees, it’s also best to avoid isolated movements. Stay away from things like leg extensions or hamstring curls if you can, since they can put pressure on certain knee joints, which is not a great choice when you already have bad knees. Instead, it’s better to practice compound movements that target the whole body instead. This includes things like deadlifts and squats.
Most importantly of all, don’t push yourself too hard. The last thing that you want to do is put too much pressure on your joints than you can handle. It’s better not to risk injury and to work in a way that’s comfortable to you in order to get the best results.