When you’re getting into shape, the last thing you want is an injury setting your routine back. For weightlifters, you can put a lot of strain onto your joints without realizing. Regardless of what you’re lifting, a key joint that will be taking strain is the knees and it is important to know how to protect your knees when weight lifting – no one wants a knee replacement when they’re young!
There are several ways you can protect your knees, but this article will focus on key three areas. The first is your routine and technique, the second is muscles around your joints and finally we will look at the type of support you should always wear.
Injuries and your routine
Depending on how you balance your routine between cardio and lifting, an imbalance will create problems for your knees. Similarly, trying to lift too heavy before your muscles are ready will lead to damage.
Try swapping intense cardio for swimming – you will still get a full body workout but the pressure on your knees will be reduced. If you’re concerned that the weight you’re lifting is wrong, experiment to find a weight that doesn’t leave your joints feeling burnt out.
Technique can, literally, make or break your joints. If you aren’t sure your technique is up to scratch, chat to a trainer at your gym – most will be happy to check your technique.
Help your knees
Don’t let your knees do all the work – it is important that you have strong muscles around them. Many knee injuries happen when you force your knees to do more than they are able, and so put them at risk of injury. By exercising other muscles, even though they may not be your target muscles, you are helping to protect your knees. Key groups to work out include glutes, your core and hip adductors.
Make sure you do lighter warm ups before jumping into your target weight. Doing warm up sets first helps get your body prepared for strain.
Using knee sleeves
Knee sleeves such as this one https://www.amazon.com/Sleeves-7mm-bodybuilding-Powerlifting-Gear-Toncy/dp/B0193TEM7A (and in germany, https://www.amazon.de/Kniebandage-Kniekompresse-Unterst%C3%BCtzung-Gewichtheben-Fitnessausr%C3%BCstung/dp/B0193TEM6G )should be an essential part of your workout kit – always carry them in your gym bag. They help prevent injury and provide support – even if you’re confident your knees are strong you should still wear sleeves to stop problems from developing. As you start lifting heavier weights, knee sleeves become vital.
A knee sleeve (often neoprene) slips over the knee, sitting comfortably on the joint and reduces the likelihood of injuries developing. The key element of knee sleeves is compression – this helps stop the knees from moving too much or in the wrong direction, and also helps blood flow.
However, a knee sleeve won’t stop bad technique from damaging your knees. It is a combination of technique, hard work, and knee sleeves, that will protect and strengthen your knees in the long term. As long as you know how to protect your knees when weight lifting and take time to do so, they’ll be ok. You should never forget that any strength training, especially those affecting you lower body, greatly rely upon the condition of your knees.