Hey, everyone. Welcome back to Pr1me Time. We are on episode number 15, and we're going to discuss how to avoid joint pain when engaging in your strength training regimen. I think this is a great question, a great topic because I know, at least for me, I wanna be able to continue to train as long as I'm standing on this earth. I want to continue to be as strong as possible, I want to be resilient, I want to be preventing future injuries as they occur. I know that we're not invulnerable because we are humans and things will happen, but, we do wanna keep pain, as much as possible, out of the equation, specifically joint pain. So, first off, I think we have to think about the diagnosis. How do we know that it truly is joint pain? I have to bring that up just because of the speculation that the diagnostic imaging such as X-rays and MRIs have shown us.
And what I mean by that is, they're starting to see information that MRIs are revealing where people may have fluid in the joint, they may have degeneration in the joint, they may have even arthritis. And they'll come to find out that the people are asymptomatic, meaning, they don't feel any symptoms. So, I've also seen, when training with clients and working with clients, they'll identify as, "Oh, yeah, that's my shoulder joint, that's my labral pain, that's my elbow joint pain, injured that a long time ago." And we have to first kind of think about the question, how did you know that that pain is coming from your joint? Have you been properly assessed by a specialist to determine to what extent that is joint pain? How do you identify joint pain? Well, for me, it's pretty clear. If there's inflammation within the joint, there might be some swelling.
Swelling is a pretty good indication that the joint is not too happy, and we might be able to pretty confidently say, "Yeah, this is coming from your joint." A lot of times too, if I passively move that joint around and take it to end range, and if I feel maybe a firm end feel, which means it's got a little give to it and the client has pain, and if I know that there was no muscle guarding, meaning, they weren't consciously or even subconsciously contracting that muscle, and there was pain with it, that might be a pretty good indication that there is some joint pain in there as well. I do have to mention too that the myofascial system hosts a lot of pain, a lot of discomfort, and it's usually first noticed by my clients when I start palpating it, meaning, touching it. And I start kind of fishing around and hunting, so to speak, where their pain is truly coming from.
Let's take the shoulder, for example. Let's say they point at the front of their shoulder, and they go, "Yeah, that's where my labral pain is. I did have an MRI two years ago. I've been having that shoulder pain on and off with my weight training regimen for a few years, and my doctor told me that that's my labral pain." I go, "Okay. However, have you ever been assessed by a specialist, a musculo-skeletal specialist, that will take the time to observe, and analyze, and assess if that truly is labral pain?" Because if it truly is labral pain, from my background, they're gonna have some pretty painful, catching and clicking, and there are some things called clinical prediction rules that can even help paint us a better picture, a better guess, if you will, as to what's truly causing that pain. And with a cluster of symptoms and signs, we can usually get pretty close.
So, after you start assessing that, and start hunting and poking around, all of a sudden the client goes, "Oh my God, that's my labral pain." And I go, "Really? That's it?" And they'll say, "Sure." And all of a sudden I like look down and I'm pointing and I'm touching their anterior dome, or maybe if I got really deep, I'm touching their bicep tendon, which does have an insertion onto the labral, especially the lateral long head. So, when we discuss how we avoid joint pain in my weight training regimen, we have to be sure that we truly are diagnosing it as it truly is, which is within the joint.
Let's say we get past that. Let's say that we've given it the diagnosis, let's keep it easy and say that there's shoulder joint pain. Well, now we wanna know which specific tissues are affected. Most common, I would say, in the weight training population, which is what I work with quite often, the labrum is irritated. So, we now have to think about what the labrum does, what specific motions bother it, what put it kind of at jeopardy, and then we have to compare it to your weight training regimen. What exercises are you doing? Who taught you that form? How much weight are you doing? What's your repetition and set scheme? What are your rest breaks? How long have you been doing that form? How often do you provide yourself, excuse me, intermittent rest breaks, meaning, throughout your mesocycle, or your two to three-month-long program, how often are you giving yourself rest days? All right? Maybe a rest week. When is the last time you ever took a rest week off? See, you start to get into these questions and you start to get some of the answers that pop up right away.
For example, sometimes my clients will say, "Well, shoot, I've been doing that exercise for two or three years. In fact, I can't ever remember not doing it." So, you get some kind of aha moments like that when you ask those kinds of questions. Sometimes it's based off the form, all right? Sometimes people are excessively using their joint and they're not truly using their muscles. I can kind of see that when I analyze movement based upon how much weight they're using, the momentum strategies that they're using. Sometimes people kind of jerk up the weight, and if they're unable to do it in a nice, timely, concise manner, I feel like there's a little bit more of a risk to be put upon the joints. Even then though, with regards to U.S.A. weightlifting techniques, so when you get into snatches and clean and jerks, if you do that stuff well, with great technique, you're still not really even at jeopardy for joint pain.
You have to have great flexibility, stability, mobility. I've talked about that before in a previous episode in Pr1me Time. You just simply have to train for what you wanna do. And if you do that well, and if you have the prerequisites, there's a good chance that you're gonna be able to keep your joint pain at bay. So, you have to be kind of cognizant of that. And you also have to take ego pill sometimes. For example, I used to squat way more than I could ever handle. In grad school, I remember throwing four or five on the bar, kind of going halfway down, and I would probably cry if I saw myself doing that nowadays, because it was probably butt ugly. And guess what? I remember having some joint pain back then. I remember feeling it within the joints, and that ache and discomfort.
Well, I needed to kind of relearn how to squat quite honestly. I had to take that ego pill. And, believe it or not, I feel stronger, I feel like I look better than ever, and that's because I've dropped the weight significantly. I'm going through a full controlled range of motion, and I'm sticking to realistic repetition schemes. I'm also undulating my workout programs throughout the year, which really helps. So, I go for strength, I go for power, I back off, I go for volume. And this can all be specific based off whatever sport or whatever you're going after.
Lastly, there are certain exercises that just are great for your body. The one that I think you at least have to be cognizant about is when you do a pull-down and the pull-down goes behind your head. Certain exercises like that are doable, but, for the majority of the population that I see working out and the majority of the population that I treat, they are probably just not ready to handle it. In that case, that person probably needs a slightly regressed version, where he simply, or she simply brings the bar to their chest, where it puts their shoulders at a better position. If you lack range of motion for certain exercises, you can be susceptible to pain. One other exercise that comes to mind is that standing curl with your biceps when your arms are out to the side and you're bring in your hand towards your head. I mean, that kind of resembles a therapeutic assessment for a SLAP tear, which is a labrum tear.
So you can kind of make these relationships based off of movements and how we would go after and test that particular structure. And you can go, "Hey, that exercise in that test, that special test for that labrum, in this case, looks pretty similar." Yeah, there might be a correlation in terms of load, especially if you don't do it right. So, that's it, guys. That's it for Pr1me Time. Let me know what you think as always at email@example.com, and tell me how you avoid joint discomfort in your strength training program as well. I think it's a great topic. I'm interested to hear what you guys have to say as well. Thank you, as always, for tuning in to Pr1me Time.