Is Weightlifting Safe for my Joints?
There are few activities you can do which will provide more of an immediate benefit to your day to day life more than lifting weights.
Training with free weights (not machines) will make it easier to pick up your kids, bring in the groceries, make more kids, carry more groceries, and a host of other functional activities.
Alas, we have all heard the horror stories, or experienced them ourselves, of people getting hurt in the gym.
So can you do upper body work without developing shoulder, wrist and elbow soreness? Can you deadlift without risking a blown out back? And can you squat and lunge without ruining your knees?
The answer is yes, provided you have excellent technique and choose movements which are appropriate for your body type.
Take front squats for example: A superb exercise for leg and upper back strength and works the core like no other. It’s at the top of the list of functional full body exercises.
It’s also injurious to attempt this exercise with a barbell if you are missing flexibility in one of a half dozen or so areas. A more appropriate option for many people would be to start with a pair of dumbbells racked on the shoulders. Same exercise, same benefits, just different implements.
We tend to associate strength training with one of two things: Machines if you don’t know how to lift, or barbells if you are advanced. But there is a world of better options, ranging from dumbbells to kettlebells, and medicine balls to safety bars.
Olympic lifting is another great example: Whether you are 16 or 60, everyone should do some form of explosive training. This is because the fast twitch motor units, those responsible for generating power, are the first to decline when we age. Training the olympic lifts reverses this process. The Oly lifts are also fantastic tools for advancing your coordination and timing, while both requiring and developing great flexibility and strength. They are also a valuable conditioning tool.
On the other hand, forcing everyone to squat snatch because “that’s what you do in CrossFit” is both negligent and criminal in my opinion. You can get all of the great results by choosing the right training tool and starting with a simpler version of the exercise. This without hurting anyone.
At CrossFit Jerusalem, everyone starts the Oly progression by learning to hang muscle clean with the dumbbells. This potent exercise teaches co-ordination, balance, strength and explosiveness. I have yet to meet someone who couldn’t master it within a couple of sessions. With time, the athlete will progress to more advanced versions, such as the barbell power clean.
The first step is to get coached one on one by an expert before you go out and start training on your own or with a group. This will ensure that you are moving well in a safe controlled environment before adding the intensity of a CrossFit Class. Plus, who doesn’t like being coached one on one? I know I do!
The feeling of knowing your own body’s strength, and the knowledge of how to use that strength correctly, is one of the most empowering bits of self awareness. Knowing how to strength train safely means you will get more out of every workout you do!
That means less time spent in the gym, with greater gains in your fitness and confidence!
You can book a free meeting with me by clicking on this link https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=13876588
Last bit of advice. Never load up with maximal weights until you become well versed in a movement. We have seen the best results over the long term with people who take a humble approach to the weights. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t challenge yourself! Just do so in a way that will let you come back tomorrow safe and sound. We will be waiting for you at CrossFit!