How to fix your Joint Pain in the Gym
Banging heavyweights around, chasing self-improvement is one of the few things in this world that connects us to our primal manhood. Not in a self-inflated, egotistic way. But a way in which we can work with our hands to creating a better version of ourselves.
As great as getting stronger is, Dealing with cranky shoulders, elbows, knees and a sore back is not.
Too often we think of getting stronger and building muscle as a trade-off. To look like our heroes in the Marvel movies, we have to trade it for nagging joint pain and a lifetime relationship with extra strength Advil.
KEY 1: AUDIT YOUR TECHNIQUE
Everything else in the gym doesn’t matter if you don’t have great technique. You can do all the mobilization drills you want, rolling around on an oversized dog toy for hours, but if you have a bad technique on your squats or deadlifts, NOTHING else will matter.
You need to make sure you move well without adding anything else on top of that.
Do you have requisite ability to lift your arms above your head? If not, you won’t have the technique you need for good overhead pressing. This can lead to shoulder and lower back problems.
Do you keep your entire foot on the ground when squat? If not, you could end up with some serious knee issues or hip pain.
KEY 2: BE ON A GREAT PROGRAM
If you’re battling with joint problems, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you training your hamstrings and posterior chain as much as you are squatting? Not just with as much weight, but total volume?
- Are you Pulling (Rows, Chin-ups, rear delt flys) as much as you’re pressing? If not, this could be wreaking havoc on your elbows and shoulders.
- Are you horizontal pulling (Rows) more than you’re vertical pulling (chin-ups/pull-ups)? If you aren’t, or it’s less than your vertical pulls, you might start to develop some pain in the front of your shoulder, since the lats downwardly rotate your humerus/shoulder joint.
- Are you ACTUALLY doing core work? Not crunches, but things like ab rollouts, farmer/front rack carries, planks? If not, your back will be giving you all sorts of issues.
Those things programming wise will help you determine whether or not you’re nagging issues are due to your program. If your program is actually worse than hot garbage, you might want to hop on this program here and get in the BEST shape of your life.
KEY 3: DO MORE SINGLE LIMB EXERCISES.
Single Limb or unilateral exercises like lunges, kettlebell presses, single arm dumbbell rows/presses are often thrown to the wayside in favour of bilateral exercises like squats, conventional deadlifts, cleans and bench press.
If you care about joint health AND how much muscle you have, you’re going to need to do unilateral exercises.
If you only stick to bilateral exercises, you’re going to always favor one side over the other. You’re going to rely on your dominant side to help compensate for your weaker side.