T Nation

Joints and Tendons

Getting a bit older, and lifting a little bit heavier, I am finding that I am noticing it in my joints and tendons at times.

I am already following some supplement strategies such as Flameout and glucosamine/chondroitin.

Any suggestions on limiting stress, strain and potentially aches and pains while continuing to up the poundages in the gym?

I second this question. I have had no luck with fish oil or glucosamine.

I continue to take fish oil for the supposed heart benefits but I think (and studies have shown) glucosamine is worthless.

I have been doing a lot more bodyweight stuff and have not lifted heavy in a while due to various aches and pains. I feel much better not lifting but I feel like I am shrinking.

Yeah, I’m on board too. Ice and anti-inflammatories just don’t cut it. Laying off the offending movements is no fun. How do the guys I see in their late 40’s and 50’s continue to pound the heavy weights? Do they just suck it up and deal with the pain?

I cycle the intensity. After 5 surgeries (3 right and 2 left knee) I find that if I go all out week after week, It doesnt matter what supplement I take, nothing works.

For example: I work Chest on Mondays (h), Legs on Wednesday(L) and back on Friday(H).
Next week is Chest on Monday (L), legs on Wednesday (H) and back on Friday (H)
Then Chest on Monday (H), Legs on Wednesday (H), back on Friday (L).

Also. lots of streching.

I have no idea how Im even still going! After years of pounding really heavy weights, I figured I would be just about out of the game, but somehow Im still going, and here`s what I use:

Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM
Flameout
Nitrix( strictly for the benefits of blood flow, and recovery between workouts)
Multi-Vitamin
Garlic
Calcium supplement
and the one supplement I`m really getting excited about:
REZ-V

Well, from what I know glucosamine, coupled or not with chondroitin, may drastically slow, even stop altogether, the erosion of the cartilaginous surface of the joint. I’m no expert here, but maybe the brand/dosage wasn’t good?

As for diminishing friction, your best bet is to warm up. A lot. Even before going to the gym, warming up in the morning with light calisthenics a la Pavel’s ‘Superjoint’ or with EC and MR’s M2 might be a good idea. It’ll increase the synovia in the joints, thus keeping them better lubricated.

Small piece of advice, but like anything else it’s only good if you do it with consistency.

Hope that helps.

I just went to an ortho Dr today because the pain was so bad in my left shoulder I hadn’t lifted the past 2 weeks. Spoke w/me all of 3 minutes but at least I got x-rays. His diagnosis was rotator cuff tendonitis and he prescibed Feldene, a NSAID–non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug. Seems better than the Ben Gay and ice I was using.

He said glucosamine/chondroitin wouldn’t hurt to try it for this for this but did say that would be very good for the achy knees. Doc has in-house PT where he recommended I go 3-4 X’s a week for 4 weeks to learn rotator cuff exercises. When I tried to show him, “you mean like this…” he said take it up with the PT. What a wank.

What has really helped me has been incorporating some movement prep work into my workouts ala coreperformance and Mike Boyle’s teachings. Has made a world of diffrence. I am moving better then I have in years.

I have trouble with my elbows, but it’s mostly in relation to shoulder impingement I believe. This fall I have started getting dressed for my workouts 30-60 minutes ahead of time. I put on a tight under shirt (i.e underarmor), compression shorts, neoprene around waist, elbows, and knees, then tshirt, shorts, sweatshirt, sweatpants, and possibly a stocking cap.

By the time I get to the gym I’m sweating like crazy. As I warm up and start my workout I slowly peel layers, but I never get rid of the knee and elbow sleeves (or my shorts and t-shirt).

Well on the gluco/chond/msm, it is dependent on dosage. I take the 1 a days 3 times a day.
Also if you dont think it is doing anything try stop taking it and see how you feel then.
2 regular asprin a night isnt going to hurt you and will probably help a little. Combined with the gluco/chond/msm, it definatly makes a difference for me
I dont find that the oil does much for me, but like you I take it more for the old ticker anyway.
Hot epsom salt bath once a week makes a difference for me too, I do this on dead lift days.
I went from 3 days a week full bod to 2 days a week full bod.
You will probably find what works for you just keep looking.

I’m a 45 year old fart AND I only started working out a couple of years ago. Boy, did I get my share of problems. Tendonites in my left elbow, partially ruptured right patella tendon, right shoulder impingement. And I had a history of knee problems to start with.

I take glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM and fish oil. But it’s not only about the supplements.

I try to use balanced workouts, undulating, with a deload week every month.

And I NEVER suck up the pain. I learned that the hard way. I feel something I shouldn’t, I immidiatly stop the exercise. I sometimes do 1 extra rep just to be sure. Put cold water on it in the shower, head home, ice.

I ease new exercises in real slowly, using light weight, gradually increasing the weight and the reps. It could take an exercise up to 3 months to make it heavy enough to use it in my actual training.

Because of the partially torn patella tendon I had to stop doing any quad exercises. After the doctor told me the tendon should have healed I started on the leg press. Only because I could use sub-bodyweight on the legpress. Yup, I started pressing with 50kg on the press. Took me 3 months to work to a decent weight. Started doing Goblet Squats then. Went form 5kg db to 20kg db in about a month. Felt a strange pain in my right knee. Felt the pain when I came up from sitting in a chair.

Dropped any quad exercise untill a month after I could get up from sitting down again.
Then I returned to the leg press. Started doing the goblet squat again about a month ago, went from 5kg db with 8 reps to 8kg db for 12 reps.
I know I could increase the weight faster. I did do it faster. Wasted several months getting injured again after doing it faster.

Also, compound exercises. In isolation exercises, if something gives, you have a serious injury. In compound exercise, they tend to be less serious (in my limited experience).

Mobility, balance, warmth, and tissue quality.

There are some things that supps just can not do.

I’m only 34, but started wrestling at 9, snowboarding at 16, and heavy labor at the same age.I accrued various injuries from all of those activaties too numerous to count. By 28 every joint in my body was popping and shooting pain on a regular basis, and I had prety much given up on any thoughts of lifting without some serious pain.

This is when I hooked up with and started lifting and learning from a guy who put what I thought was too much emphasis on those little things I listed above.

6 years later, I feel better than I’ve ever felt, lift more than I could have imagined, and feel pretty sure that I will contiue to be able to for a lot longer. The guy I mentioned just turned 50, but his deadlift and squat are on par with mine, but he’s actualy a bit smaller.

p.s. I hope this post didn’t come off as blustery. I just think that putting emphasis in these areas will help a great deal.

If your problem is due to poor calcium absorption, take a look at Wobenzyme (enzyme therapy). It actually reversed the calcium deposits on my c-spine that was the cause of much neck discomfort.

For knees, I find Chondroitin/Glucosamine a great supplement. In general, everybody probably should be taking EFA’s.

I really have had success with Cissus for my joints.

I’m 51 and have been lifting on and off since 12 and ran cross country, wrestled, played football, basketball, baseball and softball when I was younger. I have strained, sprained or torn just about every joint in my body over the years. I guess the secret is knowing which pains can be worked through, which require to be worked around and which require a complete layoff. I almost always have at least one joint that has a twinge of pain to some degree.

Mostly I just keep working it, unless it keeps getting worse to the point of causing pain outside the gym… I also do some bodyweight warm ups (handstand pushups, pullups, dips) to start each upper body day, a couple of sets of leg extensions and leg curls to warm up the knee joints to start most lower body days, and do a lot of pyramids to insure proper warm up before I get to the heavy weights, and some stretching between sets.

Most doctors (who happen to be either scrawny metrosexuals or fat slobs) will tell you to stop whatever you are doing that causes the pain, ie don’t lift heavy weights,

Yeah I’ll do that when they pry my cold dead hands from around the barbell…

I wrap everything I can wrap, brace everything I can brace, and warm up/stretch until I am sweating like a whore in church.

I don’t know who wrote the article, but look up ‘Greasing the Groove’ (I think that’s the name). I do a bunch of those exercises.

I also take the fish oil and the glucosamine - but it has only helped with my knees and achilles.

And it still hurts. But not as bad.

I’ve found that Yoga’s been a real help to my joints. I don’t know that I could explain why it helps Have you done any bodyweight stuff lately, like handstands? Maybe it’s just that the holds help improve joint stability.

Anyway, I think Pavel preaches the heavy bag for improving tedon strength. You might want to see what he’s written.

Hi Guys,

I hit 45 next year. In the past 12 months I have completely changed the way I train. I was suffering badly, mainly elbows and sometimes lower back to the point of having to skip workouts.

I have removed any movement where I would sit or lie down (ie bench!)and cut out all isolation movements. I cycle my training over the year between TBT workouts (thank you Chad Waterbury!)using compound movements (Deads, Squats, Chins, Milt Press etc) whilst cycling set/rep schemes and KB training.

(Enter the Kettlebell by Pavel tells you all you need to know, I use his KB warm up whatever the workout). It has worked out well. Pain all but gone. No NSAIDS or supps other than Protein and ZMA and fish oil.

It’s a trade off between cutting out excercises that I love (Bench) and replacing them with movements and protocols that keep trainging and healthy all year round.

I do heavy bag 2/3 times a week using 16oz gloves (the 10oz gloves stopped me going full tilt without hurting my shoulders) I also train BJJ and hope to start Muay Thai in a couple of weeks.

My preference now is to mix it up and keep moving. Old dog…new tricks!

Hey, nice collection of tips, thanks everyone.

Any more?

Yeah, I’m looking forward at the prospect of becoming a dirty old man.