Do heavy weights kill joints?

Weight training, when performed carefully, is a life-long activity. A picture of former Mr. Universe Manohar Aich in his 90s.

Weight training, when performed carefully, is a life-long activity. A picture of former Mr. Universe Manohar Aich in his 90s.

Repeated pounding of joints with mind-boggling weights (from the same angle) over years may lead to some kind of injury and wear down the cartilage lining of the joints.

The amount of wear and tear and subsequent risk of arthritis depends on the poundage used and the time spent on the activity.

Osteoarthritis, an affliction charecterised by joint pain and stiffness, generally gets worse as a person ages. The condition may be inherited, inflicted by injury or result from overuse.

Ill-planned workouts may also invite such damage.

Dr. Nick Evans, columnist, researcher and orthopaedic surgeon, Los Angeles, offers some tips to be followed, right from your first year at the gym, to keep problems at bay.
1. Cycle the intensity. Do lighter weights and higher reps using a different set of exercises for sometime, immediately following a season of intense heavy training.
2. Allow adequate rest days between two heavy workouts for the same muscle group.
3. It’s better to avoid certain high-risk* exercises which, according to some experts, may cause some harm.
4. Train each muscle from a variety of angles, using different tools such as barbells, dumbbells and machines.
5. As you get older, you can continue heavy training, but not as frequently as what you did 20 years ago. Your body, at that point, may not need very frequent pounding to maintain the size you built over the years. (Read #1)
6. Take supplements such as Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate, extra Vitamin C and plenty of water, under proper guidance.

*More on this later

_ C. Lakshmi Kumar

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