If you have been bodybuilding for a while, you know how important your joints are in your ability to continue training hard. If your joints aren’t functioning at their optimum levels, it limits your ability to lift heavier weights and perform all types of bodybuilding exercises. For instance, if you are doing an exercise like bench press, you require very strong wrists, elbows, and shoulders.
If any of these become badly damaged, it will impact your ability to do that exercise; consequently, this will have a negative impact on the manner in which you perform upper body workouts too.
Joint injuries – Why do they occur?
There are a number of reasons why joint injuries occur; however, these injuries can be avoided by following the right workout techniques, supplementation, nutrition and recovery/rest tactics. If you lift excessively heavy weights and couple that with a poor lifting technique, you can end up with injured joints.
#1 Excessive weights
Consistently pulling heavy weights and not focusing on maintaining a good form invariably results in inflammation of the bursae (the miniature fluid sacs that help reduce friction in your joints). This condition is called bursitis and the inflammation eventually leads to injured joints.
The shoulders and elbows are most commonly afflicted by bursitis and bad lifting techniques also result in tendon tears that can eventually lead to tendonitis. If you lift excessive weights and use bad lifting technique, it will eventually result in a total misalignment of the joint too.
#2 Muscle strength that increases at a very rapid pace
Certain supplements such as nitric oxide and creatine can give a sudden boost to muscle strength. While bodybuilders love the fact that this happens, it is vital that you rein-in the rate at which you add weight to your exercises. Even if it is possible to add more weight to the bar, it’s definitely better to focus on doing more repetitions instead.
This is because joint strength doesn’t increase at the same pace that muscle strength does. And so, if you up your training load too quickly, that can result in joint injury even if your muscles are able to handle that load easily and you maintain good form while lifting.
#3 Improper nutrition
Just like muscles, your joints require rest too. If your nutrition levels are poor, that reduces your body’s ability to easily adapt to stress. And so, if you continue to train without proper nutrition, your tendons will start developing micro tears and the cartilage in your joints will deteriorate. This will cause even more wear & tear on your joints.
#4 Insufficient recovery/rest
If you are overtraining, always train heavy and don’t get sufficient rest, that can result in joint problems. Excessive training causes trauma in the joints. Over time, the cumulative effect is that it results in bursitis, tendonitis, osteoarthritis or even full tears in the tendon.
Keep in mind that if your body is unable to recover completely, some portion of the trauma caused in every training session will linger and cause a cumulative effect. The only way to prevent this effect is to periodize your training and allow sufficient time for your body to recover.
Guidelines on how you can prevent joint injuries
- Use the correct training routine
- Follow a proper warm-up routine
- Use proper weights and follow the right exercise techniques
- Ensure rotator cuff health
- Follow the right diet that has a sufficient amount of essential fatty acids
- Consume sufficient calories
- Take mineral and vitamin supplements
- Take extra Vitamin C and gelatin (for amino acids)
If you have any questions about building muscle or want a workout routine that would help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Schembri PT. You can send us an email to email@example.com or fill in this contact us form and we’ll reply as soon as possible.
Thanks for reading,
Schembri PT Team
02 9648 6405