When it comes to solving pain, exercise should be part of the solution…NOT the problem. However, exercise can quickly be the thing that causes or contributes to your pain if you’re not careful. Avoiding the common exercise mistakes described below will help you exercise without pain.
With exercise, how we move is just important as how much we move. One common exercise mistake is not building a solid movement foundation before moving on to advanced exercises. Before increasing weight or reps, it’s important to have a solid understanding of common movement patterns. Learning, understanding an practicing how to hinge, lift, and squat help to limit impact on your joints and are used in most exercise routines. Exercising without a solid understanding of these movements will eventually lead to more pain and dysfunction.
The Hip Hinge is an example of a foundational movement used in many exercise programs. Learning, understanding and practicing this movement will help you exercise without pain.
Too Much of One Movement
Another common exercise mistake is overtraining one particular movement. I recently finished a program for a 58 year old man who injured his shoulder after doing 100 push ups a day for two months straight. Training only one movement creates an imbalance that puts more strain on your muscles and joints. Overtime this will cause pain. Creating balance through a variety of exercises that strengthen opposing muscle groups is important in limiting impact on your body and exercising without pain.
Too Many High Impact Movements
For adults concerned with joint pain, the goal of any exercise program should be to limit impact on our joints. Including too many high impact movements is out program is another exercise mistake that leads to joint pain. As we get older, the goals for our exercise routine often changes from performance based to lifestyle based. Which means there’s no reason to be doing lots box jumps, burpees, or other high impact activities. Finding challenging, lower impact is a better way to build strength without stressing yout joints.
High impact activities (like running) lead to more impact on your joints which eventually leads to pain and dysfunction.
Focusing On Reps And Speed Over Control
One of the more common exercise trends is HIIT (high intensity interval) training. While I’m a fan of anything that gets people moving, one of the problems with these workouts is the focus on reps and speed over form and control. Do as many rounds as possible in a given amount of time is a common example of a workout. The result is people getting so caught up in going as fast as possible that form goes right out the window. Overtime, this always leads to more joint pain.
Focus on stability and control of your movement vs. how many reps or how fast you can perform.
Focusing On Weight vs. Control
On a similar note, other people sometimes place too focus on how much weight they’re lifting vs. how well they’re moving. This is a common exercise mistake always leads to pain. Lifting heavy with poor form is a sure fire way to increase the wear and tear on your joints. How much weight you can lift with good form is much more important than how much weight you can lift.
Build strength without stressing your joints. Don’t add more weight until you can perform your exercise with full control.
No Build Up
Another common exercise mistake is when people go from 0 to 100. This happened to me just the other day. I played my first game of basketball in over two years and went for it 100%. Guess what happened? The next day I was so sore I couldn’t do my normal exercise routine for 3 days. If it’s been a while since you’ve worked out or you’re coming back from an injury, it’s important to slowly build up to your previous intensity.
I’ve seen first hand the life changing impacts that exercise and strength training have on an individuals life. As we get older, it’s important that we shift our focus on how to build strength without stressing our joints so we can continue to live an active, healthy, and happy life.
I’ve dedicated my career to helping adults 40+ build the strength and confidence to live active, healthy, and happy lives. To help you get started, I’ve put together a free step-by-step strength program to help adults build a solid movement and strength foundation. Check it out down below!