Many gym regulars often take their joint health for granted when planning workouts. However, there's a large sector of the gym-going population who are not as lucky. Many who struggle with lower body joint pain struggle with exercises like squats and intense running, while upper body joint issues can make lifts like curls and rows more difficult. Luckily, there are a ton of workouts specifically designed to alleviate joint pain. Here are three of my favorites.
If knee or ankle pain is preventing you from running outside or on the treadmill, get in the pool! From a cardiac standpoint, swimming laps will burn as many calories as running, and raise your heart rate to the same extent. However, pool workouts will eliminate joint pain associated with the repeated impact of running on a treadmill. A pool workout can be done in long form laps, equivalent to a long jog, or short, intense bursts equivalent to a sprint. Whatever your running routine is, it can be equally supplemented in the pool without having to deal with the increased joint stress of running.
Resistance Band Stretches
For those who deal with elbow pain, resistance bands are a great way to build up joint strength without the impact of traditional weight training. Users can progressively build up the resistance behind the exercise by switching the type of band, and by moving further away from the stationary point the band is attached to. Some sample exercises that can be done are holding your arm at a 90 degree angle and moving your hand back and forth across your hip. This is a low impact movement that won't irritate the elbow, but will still activate other arm muscles. Another band workout that serves this same purpose is the resistance band curl. This is the same movement as the traditional curl, but the resistance band places far less stress on the elbow than a dumbbell.
For those who struggle with upper body joint pain, lower body joint pain, or both, the SledMill™ is the ultimate machine. The bi-directional deck uses magnetic resistance ranging from 0-450 pounds, so you can do all kinds of leg workouts without having to put any stress on the joints. You could simply walk against the magnetic resistance and activate all the muscles in your leg with no impact at all. Other lower body, low impact exercises that can be performed include glute kickbacks, push shuffles, leg curls, and more! And, for those who are interested in low impact upper body workouts, the SledMill™ uses handle attachments for users to perform upper body workouts against the magnetic resistance. Users can do curls, chest press, tricep kickbacks, and much more without having to worry about the impact of traditional weight training.
Don't let sore knees, elbows, or any other joint get in the way of your training. With just a little more effort, you can perform a plethora of exercises with little to no stress on your joints. In fact, doing exercises like these will keep your muscles activated, and will actively work to strengthen your joints so you can get back to your regular workouts!