Working out with sore joints can be tricky. Some days it’s just not going to work at all no matter what you try and do, because everything just hurts too much. But other times, if you choose your activities wisely, you can get a pretty good workout in.
For me, I like a bit of weight training as it’s got so many benefits. Having stronger muscles around your joints has to be a good thing and it’s been shown to help maintain joint flexibility and strengthen your bones. Weight training also reduces stress and helps you sleep better, while any more muscle mass that you may gain as a result, means you burn more calories overall which helps with maintaining a healthy weight.
So where do compound exercises come into the equation?
I suffer sore elbows and wrists most of the time and as a result, any sort of isolation exercise such as a triceps press or bicep curl is not really possible. The amount of force that is put on the joint in those exercises, even with only a moderate weight, causes far too much pain for me.
The beauty of a compound exercise is that they of course use multiple joints and muscle groups, so any forces are spread out and not just focused on the one joint. For me, this can often mean little to almost no pain sometimes, which allows me to get in a total body workout and all the benefits that come with that.
Some of the more beneficial compound exercises, such as the squat and deadlift, don’t even require the flexing of any of the upper body joints. All the movement is really in the hips and knees, yet they are both exercises that provide total body benefits.
Another example is doing some sort of bench press exercise (barbell or dumbbell, incline, decline etc.). Although this does clearly use the elbow joint and work the triceps muscles in the movement, because the muscles of both the shoulder and chest also support it, it can often be pain free for me. I can get similar or even better benefits, than working any of these muscles on their own.
Some experts go as far as to say that compound exercises are all you really need to build your physique and that unless you are an advanced weight lifter or wanting to do competitive body building, you can leave out any isolation exercises altogether. I don’t really have a choice in the matter, but its still good to know that sort of thing.
Lots of Benefits
Other benefits of compound exercises are that they stimulate the release of various hormones throughout your body that gear it towards both fat mobilization/burning and muscle growth. You are always going to burn more calories doing compound movements, so even if trimming down was one of your only goals; they are one of the best options for you.
If you have previously thought that weight training was not an option for you because of painful joints, hopefully this has given you some hope and you’re willing to give it a try.
Check out this article for a bit more information on some of the best compound exercises. Good luck!