Protecting Those Joints

A lot of gym users (especially men) have the misconception that sometimes lifting more weight will correspond with developing larger muscle mass.

Is this theory correct?! To a certain extent, yes. But it’s certainly not the ‘be all and end all’

The muscle ideally should be exercised entirely, all muscle fibres need to be exhausted and put under tension to trigger stimulus to enhance overall growth.

Lifting heavy weights first and foremost is preferable to some people as it allows them to put their all into a large compound movement and allows them to reach their maximum lift. But how much of this is actually beneficial when considering the possible risks of injury to the muscle and surrounding joints? Obviously more weight and resistance is un-natural to the human body, our joints are not designed to cater for such weight therefore injuries occur.

Sometimes it is in the athlete’s best interest to pre-exhaust the muscle. For example, when training legs, instead of starting on a heavy squatting exercise were it puts severe strain on the patella tendon and knee joint, why not start with leg extension? Isolate and pre exhaust the muscle first so that when you get onto the squat your physically unable to lift such a heavy weight. Not only is the muscle already pre-exhausted so you will push it more, but it takes the potential injury factor away from the knee and hip joints too.

For performance athletes this is slightly different as personal performance is the focus, for example a 100m Sprinter would do the squat with heavy weight and explosive movements. This is their main focus. Obviously this is more high risk, but it is more functional for their sport, thus appropriate (yet still higher risk)

For the recreational athlete, the desire to lift the heaviest compound movement possible is not worth the risk. Remember; you can make the weight as hard as you want. Even with the lightest weights. Dependant on the athlete’s style and form you can make the exercise as difficult as you wish. Time under tension is a fantastic way to do this.

In terms of supplementation to aid Joint Support I’d personally recommend CNP Joint Support & Reflex Calcium & Reflex Glucosamine Chondroitin.

About the Author

It was at Leeds Met University where I discovered my true underlying interest and passion for health and fitness. Due to the nature of my degree and experiences I gained during my time there I have gathered an array of information regarding the physiology and functions of the human body and its response in relation to specific exercise and nutrition. I have always been a keen sportsman having played football from an early age however unfortunately having to cut my career short due to a repetitive injury. My main strengths within the industry are nutrition & weight loss, strength and conditioning and injury prevention/ rehabilitation.
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