Joint pain can slow you down or even slow your progress when doing sports. Many of us have experienced these pains at least once in our lives. It’s not in vain that the product market against joint pains has expanded, right?
If, however, you do not want to sit around due to a joint pain or injury, then follow the following tips for prevention.
How do we prevent accidents?
The heavy, repetitive workouts were not really created with the health of the joints in the foreground. Sooner or later you will surely find yourself with a sore shoulder, knee, lumbar area or pelvis. I think that there are not few among us who push our limits until we feel that something really hurts and we need a break (yep, guilty!). We can even get to the point where the whole “tis” family is presented to us: tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis and so on.
Rather than taking a bunch of anti-inflammatory pills, let’s see what the methods to prevent joint problems would be.
Even if you do not feel joint pain now, my advice is to consider the following recommendations in order to have a beautiful life at the gym and without too long or even definitive breaks.
1. If it hurts, look for the alternative
I am a bit tired to hear that saying “no pain, no gain”. There can also be gain without pain if we talk about joint pain. Just as muscle pain does not have to exist, the less you would like to get some terrible shoulder or back pain.
Even if an exercise is not right for you, that does not mean that you will have to completely avoid the type of movement. For example, those who have problems with their shoulders have problems with pushing the bar. The shoulders are locked in one position and they do not really allow you to work near the pain.
A multi-joint move such as pushing the bench could worsen shoulder pain, so you can try an isolation exercise such as fluttering with dumbbells (also carefully executed due to the potential of injury) or cross over to cables and see how you feel. You will activate your chest muscles however changing the movement. You could even change the working angle.
If your shoulder hurts when pushing weights, an ideal option is dumbbells. It seems that they are even more effective for activating the muscles, because you will have to make extra efforts to stabilize them and you will not need to push such a big weight to get results.
2. Use slow, controlled movements
Any exercise that involves some balance or inertia will tempt you when it comes to weight gain. If you will use a heavier weight than is the case, the execution technique will clearly suffer. Nothing makes a joint already suffering in torment even greater than using a heavier weight than it can control.
If you use balance when doing knee flexions, pushing the pelvis too far in front in order to perform biceps flexions or you pull the weight without stability at the joints, then you will certainly put too much strain on the joints, ligaments and tendons.
Leave the ego aside and use the weights you can control and keep this twisting for special occasions.
3. Use free weights instead of gym equipments
I have made a comparison a long time ago between the exercises with free weights and those with the equipments and it is clear that the apparatus have their good parts as well as their bad parts. For a beginner, some gym equipments may be more suitable than using free weights, when he is not sure about the execution of a movement.
Still, the apparatus force you to work in one direction, without allowing the joints too much freedom of movement.
Try to do a similar exercise with a bar, dumbbell or cable and do not forget the indication from the previous point.
4. Warm up before workouts
I do not want to hear again about the silly thing of stretching before training. Before exercising, and especially before moving heavy weights as we do in the gym, you need warm up.
Stretching is done after the training.
I realize that the “warm up before working out” saying sounds like your mom is trying to make you do something you don’t want, but it’s a very wise advice, especially as you get older. Warming up not only makes your work easier in the gym, you can use heavier weights (as if that wouldn’t be a good enough reason!), it also allows you to stretch your muscles and connective tissue, improving the amplitude of the movement and flexibility.
Warming up improves blood vessel dilation, the circulation in that area and neural activation of all the muscles you recruit. Do some cardio for 5-10 minutes to increase your pulse a little and some low weight warming up sets before the first exercises and do not lead to muscle exhaustion. At the end of the training, do some static stretching, but also dynamic.
In a future article we will discuss about even more techniques for preventing accidents.
Image source: wexnermedical.osu.edu