How Bodybuilders Can Avoid Joint Troubles

Posted on August 5th, 2017 at 4:43 pm by


Sure, deadlifts can lead to a herniated disc and squatting has a risk of wrecking your knees, while your shoulders and elbows are top victims during the bench press.  But you know what?  The opposite is also true, as any of these lifts performed with good form and a solid amount of weight can, in fact, strengthen those exact spots.

And that’s the curse of lifting – the sport has earned a bad rap for common joint injuries, and it’s high time we tackled the misconceptions and equip you with the tools to have a long and safe lifting career and prove the naysayers wrong.

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  • Prevention with form

First and foremost, you need to abandon the notion of ego-lifting.  The scaredy-cat deadlift will impress no one.  Since every single one of us has a different body composition, it’s understandable our range of motion also isn’t uniform, and you need to learn how much your joints can rotate safely during each movement, especially the compound pillars of lifting.  If your hip flexors are too tight, then squatting ass to grass makes zero sense, so keep it within your own abilities.

Upon assessing your joint mobility, you can see what the right form of each movement is for you, while still remaining within the safety parameters known oh so well in the bodybuilding community.  If you’re having trouble telling when your joints cannot handle a certain amount of weight, have a reliable spotter record or watch your session and then review your form. Finally, even after years of lifting, you could find out there’s a way to lift more safely, so keep your mind open and stay educated.

  • Keep it loose

Your mobility testing didn’t go too well? Luckily, your joints are like your muscles – train them well and you’ll see improvement over time.  Every lifting routine needs a warmup and a cooldown consisting of flexib photo foam rolls_zpsazgtdfbm.jpgility and mobility exercises that target your weak spots and keep the rest in good shape.  Active release therapy is every athlete’s dream-come-true.

Use your good friend the foam roller to loosen tight tendons and ligaments, and find those aches and pains that build up after a certain training mileage.  A lacrosse ball can do wonders on those tough spots that are hard to reach with the foam roller.  In addition to your warmups and cooldowns, if you still feel your routine has been doing a number on your joints, a thorough massage can help you jumpstart your mobility goals.

  • Feed your joints

Before you rush towards the supplement aisle (we’ll get to that one in a minute), make sure that your diet is structured to be joint-friendly.  Those on a cut should be particularly careful not to deprive their joints of the essential fats that keep your joints and bones healthy and strong.  Those omega-3 fatty acids are truly essential, especially for keeping inflammation at bay and maintaining those hormones in check.

So, stack up on that salmon, and do your best to consume virgin olive oil to make your healthy fats truly healthy.  Steer clear of trans fats that can be found in fried and processed foods, and try to substitute them with complex carbs in addition to your lean protein from poultry.

  • Supplements

Whether we like it or not, joints have their own tempo in the bodybuilding process.  Unlike your muscles, joints take a little extra time to adapt to the added weight on the barbell, and although you might feel strong enough to progress faster, your joints could suffer as the result of your rush towards that new PR.  Add to that the risk of not giving them the much-needed nutrients every day because most lifters focus on building muscle mass, and you put your joints in danger.

That is why they need the extra support through proper supplementation.  A favorite among pro lifters and even your average gym Joe is a daily dose of glucosamine, an aminosaccharide that plays a crucial role in the production and protection of the existing cartilage.  It’s used frequently by athletes who’ve already suffered an injury to promote recovery and as pain relief, but it is also beneficial for healthy lifters who want to keep their joints in superb shape and lower their risk of injury.

Finally, there absolutely has to be rest for the wicked, because no amount of fishy meals, supplements or impeccable form can substitute a decent amount of shuteye and a training schedule that gives you a couple of rest days per week.  Stay strong and keep your joints happy, so that you can boast that chiseled physique for decades to come.

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