Are you on a fitness journey? Are you looking to start a hardcore muscle building workout routine, but you're kind of worried about your joints?
Your worries are valid. Your joints can seriously suffer from your strength training routine and poor nutrition. However, it has been proven that bodybuilding over time does not inherently cause joint degeneration (as found by one vintage yet still referenced study).
However, that doesn't mean that the average strength trainer doesn't get some serious joint pain every once in a while that needs to be maintained.
So, with proper precautions, your joints will not only be safe but may also get stronger. But how? We put together a how-to guild for gym goers looking to build muscle mass through lifting while preserving their joints in the process.
Ready to dive into it? Check out our guide on how to build muscle while preserving your joints.
How To Build Muscle Mass Without Busting Your Joints
There's so much more to consider when caring for your joints than just your strength training form. Supplements, diet, over lifting, improper footwear, form, and even testosterone can contribute to poor joint health.
Invest In Supplements
Supplements can help you out quite a bit while you're building muscle. Your body needs Omega-3 and Vitamin D specifically for optimal joint health. But it also needs a lot more for overall body health and to give it a little nudge when packing on muscle mass.
Walking into a supplement store can be overwhelming and a little confusing if you don't know a lot about supplements.
There are a ton of resources online from trusted sources that review the crazy amount of supplements out there. You don't have to waste your money with a dud.
Do your research. You'll be glad you did.
Diet, Diet, Diet
Every fitness guru on the planet knows that diet is a big part of losing weight and building muscles. Diet is also a major part of preventing injuries and nourishing different parts of your body.
As stated above, your joints need to be nourished by Vitamin D and Omega-3 to help prevent stiffness, inflammation, and swelling.
After investing in a good supplement, you should also be consuming foods with these two awesome vitamins as well. A few foods that contain them are:
- Salmon (and other fatty fish)
- Pumpkin seeds
- Flax seeds
- Sweet peppers
- Citrus fruits
- Brazil nuts
- Onions and leeks
- Green tea
It's also important to consider foods you are already eating that may be contributing to joint discomfort and poor joint health. Consider avoiding the following foods to optimize your joint health:
- Fried foods
- Grain fed meat
- Fast food
- Foods made with flour
- Foods high in trans saturated fats
If you're trying to lose weight or put on lean muscle, you're probably already trying to avoid these foods. Keep it up! It will help your joints.
Stop Trying To Lift Too Much Weight
Of course, building more muscle mass always means lifting more weight in your bodybuilding routine. You have to train hard to get big, but lifting excessively heavy weights will reduce the mass of cartilage in your joints when unprepared.
The keys to preventing serious degeneration of joints is to build that cartilage back up and prevent more aggressive breakdown. On top of supplements and diet, there are a few ways to aid in this through the weights you're lifting.
First of all, don't push yourself past what you can do. If you manage to lift way higher than ever before but your joints feel like they're disintegrating from your body, you're probably assaulting them more than you need to.
Of course, you're excited that you're finally building up the mass you've been working towards, but lifting a weight that is way too high way too fast will injury your joints and could lead to additional injuries in the future. Take it slow, and slowly build up to the next weight stack.
Secondly, don't be afraid to pick up lighter weights every once in a while. Break up your heavy lifting sessions with light weight training sessions that allow for 15-20 reps. These lighter weights help prevent cartilage deconstructions and enhances reconstruction.
Consider Your Testosterone
Few people know how connecting testosterone levels are to joint health. Hormonal imbalances caused by low testosterone can sometimes contribute to joint pain as well.
Unsure if you're suffering from low T? Here's a few symptoms:
- Excessive fatigue for no reason
- Reduced sex drive
- Anxiety and depression
- Breast swelling
- Sudden weight gain
The idea of having Low T may feel kind of emasculating, but fear not. One out of four men over thirty years old suffer from low testosterone and it is extremely common.
If you're concerned, visit your doctor and invest in a solid testosterone booster supplement.
Watch Your Form And Misc. Tips
Don't lift from the knees or shift your weight too much. Basic knowledge, right? Newbies to bodybuilding sometimes miss this, and the damage it does to your joints is pretty scary.
A few other tips for helping your joints when building mass:
- Try balancing low impact cardio with high impact cardio to help protect your joints.
- Always warm up your main muscle groups before lifting and take the time to stretch afterward. Flexibility = healthy joints.
- Avoid exercises like behind-the-neck presses that put joints in unstable conditions that lead to injury.
- Wear comfortable, stable, and flexible shoes when lifting.
We hope this guide can help you on your fitness journey. Your joints are important, whether you're a younger or older bodybuilding beast.
There is so much more to bodybuilding than the headstrong desire to build muscle fast. You've got to consider your total body health when thinking long term body sculpting, and your joints are just one of many important things to keep healthy.
Do you have a tip on how to build muscle while preserving your joints? Drop us a line in the comments below.