Hardcore bodybuilders and weightlifters often experience joint pain from working out from strains and injuries over the years.1,2,3 But ironically, strength training is an essential part of keeping joints healthy and strong.4 When exercising on a regular basis, keep the muscles that surround your joints strong and lubricated, thereby controlling swelling, pain, and bone loss due to arthritis.5
Are Bodybuilders More Prone to Arthritis?
Bodybuilders often feel pain in their back, neck, and shoulders. This could be due to overtraining, a lack of stretching, or signs of the onset arthritis.1,2,3 These pains get worse with age, especially when people get into their 40’s and beyond.6
But in fact, a lack of exercise leads to the onset of arthritis much more than exercising.7 The problems with weightlifting lie in lifting weights that are too heavy and practicing improper form.1,2,3 When lifting within a body’s means building up weight gradually, close attention needs to be paid to form and bodily responses. When done correctly, weightlifting is a healthy and beneficial exercise for joints.
Repetitive Movements and Joint Health
Although some people fear that repetitive movements, like weightlifting, actually cause arthritis, many types of resistance training and lifting weights promote joint health.8 One of many studies that investigated the joint health of competitive weightlifters found that a vast majority of people who lift weights have healthier joints that people their age who don’t.
If new to weightlifting, don’t’ be intimidated by all the big weights and heavy machines. Instead, start with everyday items around the house, like cans of soup, bags of flour, and even a body’s own weight.
Stretches for Bodybuilders
As with any type of exercise, it’s important to stretch before and after weightlifting to prevent injury, soreness, and joint pain after working out.9 Decide which muscle group the work out is going to focus on and stretch those muscles in particular for five to 10 minutes before lifting. It’s a smart idea to do static stretches, which involve holding a stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, instead of doing ballistic stretches that can wear on joints.
Before diving into reps and sets, a five to 10-minute warm up will get joints prepped, blood pumping, and heart rate up.10 Experienced bodybuilders often lift heavy weight for fewer reps, but this technique should only be practice with experience. For an occasional or moderate lifter, it’s better on joints to lower the weight and do more reps – say 10 to 15 repetitions per set to build strength and muscle.
Other Non-Pain-Medication Solutions for Bodybuilders
To prepare your joints for lifting, rub JointFlex into your issue areas before you hit the gym and soothe pain away once your workout is over. Mobility exercises, like using a foam roller and doing yoga, are important for bodybuilders to increase range of motion and prevent bodybuilding knee pain.
Rest days are important to incorporate into your weightlifting schedule to give your joints a break, and ice and heat may help with issues of inflammation and blood flow.11 Massages can also help soothe sore joints and muscles after training without relying on pain medications, which can cause unwanted side effects and drug interactions.
REFERENCES for JOINT PAIN, BODY BUILDING, WEIGHT LIFTING
1. Lavallee, M. E. & Balam, T. (2010 September-October). An overview of strength training injuries: acute and chronic. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 9, 307-313. Retrieved October 20, 2018 from https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/Fulltext/2010/09000/An_Overview_of_Strength_Training_Injuries__Acute.14.aspx.
2. Mazur, L. J., Yetman, R. J., & Risser, W. L. (1993 July). Weight-training injuries. Common injuries and preventative methods. Sports Medicine, 16, 57-63. Retrieved October 17, 2018 from National Center of Biotechnology Information https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8356377.
3. Brink, W. (2018 July 26). Joint troubles? Bodybuilding.com. Retrieved October 18, 2018 https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/joint-troubles.html.
4. Strength training builds more than muscles. Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved October 18, 2018 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/strength-training-builds-more-than-muscles.
5. Melone, L. 3 Simple Weightlifting Moves. Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved October 18, 2018 from https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/workouts/simple-routines/weight-lifting-exercises.php.
6. Arthritis: Risk factors. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 17, 2018 from https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/risk-factors.htm.
7. Bartlett, S. (2018 January 18). Role of exercise in arthritis management. Arthritis Center at Johns Hopkins. Retrieved October 18, 2018 https://www.hopkinsarthritis.org/patient-corner/disease-management/role-of-exercise-in-arthritis-management/.
8. Does exercise contribute to arthritis? Research says no. Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved October 18, 2018 from https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/does-exercise-contribute-to-arthritis-cinnamon-treatment-for-diabetes.
9. Kokkonen, J., Nelson, A., Tarawhiti, T., Buckingham, P., & Winchester, J. (2010 February). Early-Phase resistance training strength gains in novice lifters are enhanced by doing static stretching. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24, 502-506. Retrieved October 18, 2018 from https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Carpal-Tunnel-Syndrome.
10. Barroso, R., Silva-Batista, C., Tricoli, V., Roschel, H., & Ugrinowitsch, C. (2013 April). The effects of different intensities and durations of the general warm-up on leg press 1RM. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 27, 1109-1113 Retrieved October 20, 2018 from https://journals.lww.com/nscajscr/Fulltext/2013/04000/The_Effects_of_Different_Intensities_and_Durations.19.aspx11.
11. Kuhland, J. 7 essential elements of Rest and recovery. Breakingmuscle.com. Retrieved October 18, 2018 from https://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/7-essential-elements-of-rest-and-recovery.
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