Experts in the field of musculoskeletal health often recommend a blend of low-impact aerobic exercise and strength training to improve joint health. If you find that you’re constantly struggling with joint pain or recurring injuries, a mix of an anti-inflammatory diet and the right exercise can help.
Explore these five weight-bearing exercises to improve joint health as part of a lifestyle built to help your body work optimally. Remember to warm up the muscles before each session, and pay attention to any range of motion issues or pain so you don’t do more harm than good. Always start by doing the motion correctly and as a regular part of your workouts before you add in weights.
Not sure where to start? Schedule a personal training session to find out how Etage Athletic trainers can help support you as you build joint strength.
Exercise 1: Single-leg deadlift (knees)
Balance on one leg and keep your knee soft and flexible. Push your butt back and slowly, with control, complete the bend. This move will help strengthen knee stabilizers while engaging the core and working on balance. Keep your hips facing forward and avoid twisting as you complete an even number of reps on each leg.
Exercise 2: Lateral raise (shoulders)
Raises can be tough on rotator cuffs, so maintain a thumbs-up grip and keep the dumbbells where you can see them in your peripheral vision. Raise your arms until they’re parallel to the ground, then slowly lower them back to your sides. Start slow and increase reps as your shoulders get stronger.
Exercise 3: Walking lunge (lower body)
Moving while weight-bearing activates all the supporting joint muscles by incorporating functional movement. Protect your knees and ankles by keeping joint flexion at 90 degrees. Lean slightly forward and engage your core, moving slowly for 10 paces to work both legs evenly.
Exercise 4: Incline row (rear delts)
This is most effective on a bench at a 45-degree angle, with your chest on the bench. Let the dumbbells hang straight down, then engage your core and row straight back, squeezing your shoulder blades as you lower the weights back to the starting position.
Exercise 5: Slow-motion deadlift (back, hamstrings)
Also referred to as a weighted Jefferson curl, the key to this exercise is taking it slow. Using a single weight or kettlebell, stand upright and slowly roll the weight down to your feet. Then, roll back up just as slowly.
Keeping the weight close to your legs helps activate the muscles in the back. As a warm-up for deadlift, do 10 reps with just a second’s pause at the bottom. Use this move to cool down by letting the weight hang at the bottom for 10-30 seconds.
Improve joint health with a great personal trainer
Before you start any new exercises, and especially if you’re recovering from injury, consult a fitness professional who can help you learn proper form and create a plan. The personal trainers at Etage are ready to help you get stronger while working smart. Set up a session to get started protecting your joints and building the muscles that support them.