Weight Lifting With Arthritis
Weight lifting is one of the best things you can do to ease arthritis pain, keep active, and maintain your lifestyle as you get older. Improving movement, building strength, and increasing mobility all help to limit impact on your joints to prevent arthritis from getting worse.
With that being said, there are diffierent considerations when weight lifting with arthritis. Choosing low impact exercises, focusing on proper form, and targeting certain muscle groups help limit impact on your joints to treat arthritis. The following 15 exercises are movements we use in the clinic to help those dealing with arthritis build strength without stressing their joints.
Lower Body Exercises
Strong glutes and hamstrings are absolutely vital to protecting your back and knee joints from arthritis. The glute bridge is the safest and most effective exercise to build strength in the glute/hamstring complex.
Building strength in the glute med muscle group is important for back, hip, and knee health as well as stability while on the single leg (i.e. walking, running, hiking). The clamshell is an safe, entry level exercise to strengthen the glute med.
The Step Up
The step up is a beginning lunge exercise that places less stress on your joints. Vary step height and weight for your ability level.
The Air Squat
The squat is an important full body movement that targets the glutes and hamstrings. Learning, understanding, and practicing the squat will help limit pain and stiffness from arthritis.
The Kettlebell Deadlift
The deadlift is one of the best exercises to improve movement patterns and build strength to protect your joints. Starting with a kettlebell is a safer variation for those dealing with arthritis.
Upper Body Exercises
Single Arm Dumbell Row
Strengthening your upper back is a great way to build back strength for healthy, pain free shoulders. The dumbell row allows you to control the weight making it a great exercise for all ability levels.
Rear Delt Fly’s
Another great exercise to target the muscles in the upper back. The rear delt fly can be done without weight, bands, or dumbbells depending on your ability level.
Single Arm Dumbell Bench Press
The bench press is a great push exercise to build strength in your pecs. Starting with dumbbells allows you to control the weight making it safer for those with arthritis.
The plank is a simple, safe, and effective exercise to build core strength. These isometric contractions allow you to target your core muscles without stressing your joints.
The Side Plank
A plank variation that targets your obliques and lower back stabilizers. The side plank is a great exercise to limit the wear and tear on your spine making it a great exercise for those with arthritis. May be difficult to perform for those with shoulder pain.
‘Anti-rotation’ exercises are used to better control the impact on yoru spine as you move through your day. The pallof press is a safe and effective variation for those with arthritis.
A traditional posture exercise, this variation of the Birddog utilizes your core to mainatin balance while performing. Give this one a try, it’s harder than it looks!
Functional core strengthening exercises are designed to build strength movements we use through the day. Weighted Carry’s are the most effective functional core strength exercises for those with arthritis.
Weight lifting with arthritis is one of the best thing you can do to ease pain, keep active, and maintain your lifestyle as you get older. Finding low impact exercises with a strong focus on proper form will help you build strength without stressing your joints. To get started with your own weight lifting program for arthritis be sure to download our free program ‘Solving Pain With Strength’ at the link below.