Here are some handy tips at preventing joint injuries that all active people should know.
Doctors always say that breaking bones in the middle of the bone is much more fortuitous (if you can look at it that way) than breaking it near a joint. Think of it this way—imagine something bad happening on a freeway and jamming everything up. Now, imagine if something happened across a major freeway interchange and affected the entire combination of various freeways.
That’s because if you injure a joint, you’ve basically hurt a part of your body where many things are interconnected, bones, ligaments, blood vessels, intermuscular tissues, and those all-important nerves and nerve endings.
Yeah, pulling a muscle can ruin a day or two, but injuring a joint can take months and months of recovery, because they link so many of your body’s various systems.
We’ve assembled some strategies on how to help prevent joint injuries before they can even happen. Enjoy!
#1 Bulgarian Split Squats
These unilateral (one side at a time) are perfect for helping to correct both strength and joint imbalances.
First off, if you have any sort of joint issues, this exercise is not advised, as it places a lot of pressure on your knee joints. It is also advised that if you’ve never done these before, don’t use any weight. Getting your posture down is the most important thing with Bulgarian split squats.
Begin this exercise by standing about just under one leg length in front of a bench. Kick one leg backwards and rest the toes of that foot atop the bench, while balancing on your other leg.
Move your upper torso forward and shift the majority of your bodyweight onto your frontal leg. Bend both of your legs so that your front knee forms a 90-degree angle.
With your weight on the heel of your front foot, gradually raise your body back upwards so that you’re standing on your front leg again.
Again, if you’re a beginner don’t use any weight. Once you’ve got them down, you can hold either kettlebells or dumbbells at your sides as you perform these.
Many people are used to swinging their bodies and “cheating” while performing regular push-ups, but with these, you can’t do that. That’s because your chest has to come into contact with the floor if you’re doing them right. These are excellent for strengthening your upper body joints.
Being this exercise by assuming a standard plank form, with your body straight, elbows and forearms resting on the floor, and gluts and core clenched.
Slowly lower yourself to the floor while leaning slightly forward on the tips of your toes. Lower your upper body until your chest touches the floor, and then press back upwards while contracting your gluts and core muscles.
Try to do as many as you can—afterwards, you’ll wonder why you haven’t done these before.
These oh-so-practical exercises are one of the most essential movements you can do in order to increase your lower body joint strength. Think of it—the mechanics of striding lunges are based on what all of us do on a daily basis: Walking. Therefore, they are excellent at boosting your functional joint and tendon infrastructures.
Don’t go and grab a pair of super-heavy dumbbells, you’ll want to execute a few trial runs first.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step off with a foot and dip down into a lunge, bending at your knees (to 90 degrees). Make sure that the majority of your bodyweight is supported by your frontal leg, and contract your quads, hamstrings, and gluts.
You can either bring your rear foot up to meet your front foot, or just lunge forward so that you are in the exact same lunge position, but with the opposite leg. Whether or not you’re using weights, make sure that you don’t lean too far forward onto your front leg, so that you feel too much pressure on your front knee. Always keep your head up and shoulder back in order to counterbalance your forward momentum. Perform up to 20 of these for lower joint conditioning.
These exercises are excellent for developing your shoulder joint strength. Just make sure that you do perform these carefully (no jerking or swinging motions) or you can cause possible injuries to your rotator cuffs.
In order to get the basic range of motion of these exercises down, perform a few without weights. When you feel more comfortable with them, dumbbells or kettlebells may be used.
Stand with a slight bend at your knees, and grasp a pair of dumbbells (or kettlebells) at your sides. Suck your bellybutton in towards your spine and contract your abs while you gradually lift the weights. They should be slightly closer in than 180 degrees, so that you can just see them barely from the corners of your eyes.
Although you can utilize an overhand grip, a thumb’s up grip is easier on your rotator cuffs. Try anywhere from 10 to 16 of these until you feel your shoulders start to burn slightly. Also, be careful not to raise the weights any higher than shoulder level.
So there you have it, some upper and lower body joint conditioning exercises that can help to prevent your joints from flaring out. Just remember to always breathe throughout the entirety of each rep (no holding breath).