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Weight lifters: How are your joints doing?
Old 06-07-2015, 10:14 AM   #1
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Weight lifters: How are your joints doing?

If you've lifted for many years, how are your joints doing as you've gotten older? Do you still lift heavy?

I've backed off on weight the past 6 years or so to ease up on my joints as I age, and sometimes wonder if I should go with just body weight for resistance training. And sometimes I get the urge to go heavy again! Joints seem ok, except my right shoulder, which got injured a few times. It's crunchy at some angles but not painful (yet?).
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Old 06-07-2015, 10:35 AM   #2
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I don't know your age. That would influence any chances you take or changes you make, BUT..... Think twice. After a relatively modest amount of exercise, and this is true of aerobics as well as resistance, you've reached the point of diminishing returns on your health. Unless you live in a really bad neighborhood where you have to be able to knock out people with one punch, you only need to be so strong.

Those repairs your body makes from the subtle damage caused by exercise happens less and less and slower and slower as you get older and older. You don't feel it till you fell it. I've known people in their 30's who had to stop running due to ruptured discs. I have some back/neck/should damage from weights myself but I think I got out while the getting was good.

Of course there are exceptions. The 80 yr old Senior Citizens Ironman champion etc. I am not willing to tickle that dragon's tail myself and, even if you are that kind of physical specimen, what difference does it make? And why risk the downside of finding out you're not that kind of physical specimen?

Sorry. None of that: Just Do it Bullshot for me. I want to know the whole back-story and just why I ought to "Just Do It" I AM, therefore I think.
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Old 06-07-2015, 11:16 AM   #3
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Razztazz, I'll be 53 in a couple weeks. You're right, how strong does a person need to be?

Some muscle was helpful though yesterday, when I wrastled with a big patch of cotoneaster that intended to overtake the neighbor's yard. That's the extent of my heroics these days.
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Old 06-07-2015, 11:47 AM   #4
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Razztazz, I'll be 53 in a couple weeks. You're right, how strong does a person need to be?
I know what it's like to get all Obsessive/compulsive about exercise. I actually lost heart function from running excessively high heart rates. Caused a lot of other fallout too. Since I've started exercising less I haven't felt this good in years. It's like I am aging in reverse the past 2 or so years.
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Old 06-07-2015, 12:11 PM   #5
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I train with weights and straps - I'd recommend the TRX bands - you can do everything with those - no joint issues whatsoever
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Old 06-07-2015, 12:15 PM   #6
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I have been using weights since college and do not have any joint issues. These days (I'm 57) I'm more in "maintaining" the amount of weight I lift rather than increasing it. I haven't changed the amount I lift for my various exercises for probably 6-7 years, and in a couple of cases have reduced the weight. But I keep the reps up.
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Old 06-07-2015, 12:40 PM   #7
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I have been using weights since college and do not have any joint issues. These days (I'm 57) I'm more in "maintaining" the amount of weight I lift rather than increasing it. I haven't changed the amount I lift for my various exercises for probably 6-7 years, and in a couple of cases have reduced the weight. But I keep the reps up.
+1
Lifting weights since 20 years old, now 60. Changed workout 2 years ago and never looked better. Still train just as intensely, if not more so required by new workout. But don't lift 80 lb. dumbells anymore because don't need to with changed workout with much better results.

Never have and never will buy into the "age" BS (i.e., joint problems, metabolism slows as one gets older, energy slows--none true for me). Will probably work out for the rest of my life.
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Old 06-07-2015, 12:47 PM   #8
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I always looked at weightlifting as a way to build muscle around your joints to help protect them, not hurt them. If you're having joint issues caused by weightlifting I would look at the technique or maybe too much weight. I've been doing some type of weightlifting for many years, I try to do at 12-15 reps (2-3 sets). Lately I've been focusing more on speed while keeping good form and feel like I get more from it.
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Old 06-07-2015, 12:51 PM   #9
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Never have and never will buy into the "age" BS (i.e., joint problems, metabolism slows as one gets older, energy slows--none true for me). Will probably work out for the rest of my life.
So funny
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Old 06-07-2015, 12:53 PM   #10
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...

If you're having joint issues caused by weightlifting I would look at the technique or maybe too much weight.

...
Excellent point. Years ago I was always getting hurt but now I know it was because of exactly what you stated. I haven't had those issues in many years as result.
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Old 06-07-2015, 01:26 PM   #11
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I've been an avid runner, biker and weight lifter for over 30 years, and while yes, my joints are definitely more sore afterward these days, it's a very temporary discomfort, and simply a reality of getting older. Otherwise, the benefits received are still very much the same - great sense of well being, great energy boost, great way to maintain my physique and weight, great way to stay off meds.
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Old 06-07-2015, 01:36 PM   #12
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I can still roll a joint, no problem...
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Old 06-07-2015, 01:37 PM   #13
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I always looked at weightlifting as a way to build muscle around your joints to help protect them, not hurt them.
+1

DW started having some joint issues, and her doctor suggested she start lifting weights to make them stronger. She was reluctant at first (somehow her thought process was "I'll start getting muscles and I'll look funny" ), but she finally gave in and began. Lo and behold, her joint issues went away.
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Old 06-07-2015, 02:14 PM   #14
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+1

DW started having some joint issues, and her doctor suggested she start lifting weights to make them stronger. She was reluctant at first (somehow her thought process was "I'll start getting muscles and I'll look funny" ), but she finally gave in and began. Lo and behold, her joint issues went away.

I've heard that "excuse" in the past. Even men, with a testosterone "advantage", have to lift fairly intensively to build big muscles.
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Old 06-07-2015, 03:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zinger1457 View Post
I always looked at weightlifting as a way to build muscle around your joints to help protect them, not hurt them. If you're having joint issues caused by weightlifting I would look at the technique or maybe too much weight. I've been doing some type of weightlifting for many years, I try to do at 12-15 reps (2-3 sets). Lately I've been focusing more on speed while keeping good form and feel like I get more from it.
+10000

One big benefit of lifting weights for me, is developing muscle around problem joints (specifically my knees, which have been bad since falling off a loading dock in 1997). The muscle around my knees protects them and keeps them in place more of the time.

I have been lifting weights for 14 years, using weight machines. I generally do 2 sets of 10 on each of 21 machines, except on the leg press where I do 4 sets of 10.

I lift briskly and focus intently on form. I am also a great believer in listening to what my body is telling me when lifting weights, and I focus pretty intently on that as well. Really, if you come up and speak to me at the gym, I'm as likely as not to not even hear you due to concentrating on what I'm doing. BTW I am lifting more at age 67 than ever, more than I did in my early 50's, and with less effort and almost no injuries any more.

I stretch a lot at the stretching station at my gym, too. I'm not sure if it's the weightlifting or the stretching, but SOMETHING has been helping me tremendously with the "aches and pains of aging" such as hip joint pain and inability to sleep due to various aches and pains.
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Old 06-07-2015, 04:11 PM   #16
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I've only been lifting weights for about 7 years, and I suppose reasonably heavy for my age (225 lb bench, 315 DL and 315 lb squat with free weights), however, I have backed off and am lifting much lighter after pulling a glute muscle several times. Also currently playing softball and I cutback even more during the season.

That said, I have not had much in the way of joint troubles at 66 yo, although I did tweak a shoulder doing seated dumbbell presses several years ago, but the shoulder is pretty solid now. Like others have said, I think resistance training will help strengthen joints if you don't over do it and use good form.
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Old 06-07-2015, 04:20 PM   #17
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While I've only been lifting weights for about 19 months (before that it was all calisthenics) I have only seen one joint issue and I expected that. I've have an issue with my right knee for ~25 years with soreness after running or heavy stairs use. So I dropped the leg press from the weight machines and (surprise!) the soreness went away. But actually with the consistent treadmill walking it has gotten a bit better.

I don't have any plans to stop exercising.
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Old 06-07-2015, 04:57 PM   #18
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I'm back into lifting after a 10 year hiatus. I prefer the aesthetic results (so does my wife) of higher reps and moderate weight vs. trying to get strong - the powerlifting corner of my gym is a source of much humour for me. Immense, and often chubby men grunting and blustering loudly as they attempt to get ridiculous amounts of weights over their heads. What is the real world application of such feats? Sometimes, these "hulks" attempt to use the treadmill once and a while...and the results are sad to witness.

Overall fitness, a combination of weight training and cardio, is the way to go IMO.

Like Walt above, I will never stop.
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Old 06-07-2015, 05:06 PM   #19
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Weight lifting and the strength gains that came with it cured my knee tendonitis when I was younger. Now I can lift heavy, but generally choose not to as part of my tri training. My knees and ankles can get sore, but as others mentioned it's temporary.

Whenever I stop doing tris, I'll start lifting again to maintain strength and mobility. I expect I'll do it for the rest of my life.
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:08 PM   #20
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In addition to watching your form, an increase in rest days may help with joint pain. I lift twice a week and walk a few miles five or so times a week. So far so good.
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