Contrary to common beliefs, lifting weights actually helps alleviate joint pains and aches. It is understandable why weight lifting is commonly associated with joint pains as immense pressure is being placed on the knees while doing strength workouts such as squats and deadlifts. But, studies have shown that strength training can help strengthen your muscles and bones and could decrease joint pains in the long-run, even if you have arthritis.
Then the question comes about, “ why do my joints hurt when I lift?”
The answer is that it is either incorrect form or you are lifting more than what your body can handle. Pain is an indication that something is not right. Pause your workout and reassess what could be done better. Could it be the weight you are lifting or is it your form. Here are some pointers that you should take note of to avoid joint injuries when carrying out your strength training.
- Stretch - stretching before your workout will loosen up your body, allowing a broader range of motion for your joints. The key is to raise your core body temperature. Warm muscles can help reduce swelling.
- Know your limits - When your body feels tired, stop your workout even if your workout is not completed. Pushing through your sets while feeling tired can cause incorrect from and lead to joint injuries.
- Rest is key - Resting would enable your muscles to recover and grow. Recovered muscles allow you to go through your workouts efficiently. Change it up every day or do a full-body workout two or three times a week to give your body time to recover between workouts.
- Watch what you eat - With strength training, your joints are at a higher risk of being inflamed and eating unhealthy foods increases the chances of inflammation. A way to combat this is to opt for healthier foods.
So how can weightlifting improve my joints?
- Reduce Joint Pain - The National Library of Medicine conducted studies on the effects of strength training on patients who live with arthritis. It concluded that those who lift weights experience less pain than those who do not. This is due to the fact that lifting weights helps strengthen the muscles and joints, allowing them to remain more flexible and maintain a wider range of motion.
- Strengthen Muscles - With strength training, muscles surrounding the joints strengthen. The muscles will then carry more of the pressure as compared to your joints, resulting in reduced joint pains.
- Weight loss - Regular exercise paired with a healthy diet will bring about weight loss. With reduced weight, less excess weight and pressure is placed on your joint which will ultimately reduce joint pains.
In conclusion, if you are experiencing joint pains do not be afraid of lifting weights and incorporating strength into your workouts. But do take note of your form and know your limits. Additionally, you can incorporate supplements into your diet such as glucosamine, known to relieve joint pains, and BCAAs to speed up recovery so that you will be able to get back to the gym fully effective and have an effective workout.