Strength Training for Hypermobility: A Safe Way to Get Fit
Have you ever noticed that your joints can move in ways that seem a bit too flexible? If so, you might have something called "hypermobility." But guess what? You're not alone in this. And the good news is, there's a safe and effective way to get in better shape, even if you have hypermobility.
It's called "strength training for hypermobility," and it can make a big difference in your journey to feeling healthier and more confident.
In this blog, we'll explore simple and practical ways to use strength training to your advantage.
Let's get started!
Table Of Contents:
What is Hypermobility?
Hypermobility means that your joints can move more than they're supposed to. Sometimes, this happens on its own, or it can be linked to a condition like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
People with hypermobility might be able to bend or stretch their joints in ways that most people can't. While this might sound cool, it can also be a bit tricky.
When your joints are super flexible, they can sometimes get hurt more easily. Things like dislocations (when a bone pops out of place), sprains (when a joint gets stretched or twisted too far), and pain can happen more often for folks with hypermobility.
So, it's important to be careful and take good care of your joints if you have this condition.
Benefits of Strength Training
Strength training is like giving your muscles a workout, making them stronger and steadier. For people with hypermobility, this can offer several advantages:
Improved Joint Stability: Imagine muscles as your body's support system. When they're strong, they help keep your joints in place. So, if your joints are like puzzle pieces, strong muscles act as glue, ensuring everything fits snugly. This means fewer chances of your joints getting hurt.
Enhanced Balance: Think of balance like walking on a tightrope. When your muscles are strong, they act as steady ropes, helping you stay upright. If you have hypermobility, you might feel a bit wobbly sometimes. But with strong muscles, you're more like a tightrope walker with a safety net.
Pain Relief: When you have hypermobility, your joints can sometimes ache or feel uncomfortable. Strong muscles act like cushions, supporting your joints and reducing that discomfort. It's like having a comfy pillow for your joints.
Better Posture: Imagine your body as a tower of blocks. Strong muscles are like the strong base that keeps the tower from wobbling or falling over. Good posture means your body is stacked up nicely, and strong muscles help you achieve that.
Increased Confidence: When you know your body is strong and stable, you'll feel more confident in how you move. It's like having a superhero suit underneath your regular clothes. You'll feel safer and more in control.
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Safe Strength Training for Hypermobility
Now, let's talk about some strength training exercises for hypermobility that can help make your body stronger and more stable without causing harm:
Core Strengthening: Your core is like your body's center, and making it strong can help you stay steady. Try exercises like planks, bridges, and bird-dog. These exercises work your tummy and back muscles, which are important for balance.
Leg Strengthening: Strong legs are like strong pillars for your body. Squats, lunges, and leg presses are great exercises falling under hypertrophy training. They help support your knees and hips, which can be a bit shaky if you have hypermobility.
Upper Body Strength: Your upper body needs love too! Push-ups, seated rows (pulling weights towards you while sitting down), and overhead presses (lifting weights above your head) are good choices.
These exercises can make your shoulders and elbows more stable.
Resistance Bands: These are stretchy rubber bands that can provide resistance without being too hard on your joints.
You can use them for exercises like leg lifts (lifting your leg while sitting or lying down) and shoulder rotations (moving your arms in circles). They're gentle but effective.
Yoga and Pilates: These are exercises that focus on stretching and strengthening while teaching you control and balance. Look for classes or routines that are designed for people with hypermobility.
They can help you become more flexible and stable at the same time.
Isometric Exercises: These are exercises where you squeeze your muscles without moving your joints. It's like flexing your muscles without doing jumping jacks.
They build strength without straining your hypermobile joints.
Proper Form and Technique: No matter which exercise you choose, it's important to do it the right way. Start with lighter weights or resistance and slowly make things a bit harder as you get stronger. Always listen to your body, and don't push too hard.
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Hypermobility Strength Training Program
Alright, here's a plan to make your body stronger while being kind to your hypermobile joints. Think of it as a recipe for getting stronger without causing any harm:
Light Cardio: Start by moving your body gently for about 5 minutes. This could be as simple as walking or jogging in one spot. It's like waking up your body.
Dynamic Stretches: Next, do some easy stretches that involve moving your arms, legs, and torso. Think of it as giving your body a little stretchy hug to get it ready for action.
Now, let's get into the main exercises:
Squats: Try doing 3 sets of 10-12 squats. Squats are like sitting down and standing up again. They make your legs strong.
Lunges: Do 3 sets of 10-12 lunges for each leg. Lunges are like taking big steps forward and backward. They also help your leg muscles.
Push-ups: Aim for 3 sets of as many push-ups as you can. Push-ups are like pushing your body up from the ground. They work your arms and chest.
Pull-ups: Do 3 sets of as many pull-ups as you can manage. If you can't do a full pull-up, that's okay! You can use a special band or a machine to help you. Pull-ups strengthen your upper body.
Plank: Try holding a plank position for 3 sets of 30-60 seconds each. Planks are like holding your body up on your elbows and toes. They make your core strong, which is your tummy and back.
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Bird Dog: Do 3 sets of 10-12 bird dog exercises for each side. Bird dog is like extending one arm and the opposite leg while on your hands and knees. It helps with balance and core strength.
Bridges: Try 3 sets of 10-12 bridge exercises. Bridges are like lifting your hips while lying on your back. They work your lower back and hips.
Wall Sits: Do 3 sets of holding a wall sit for 30-60 seconds each. Wall sits are like sitting against a wall with your knees bent. They make your leg muscles work hard.
Clamshells: Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 clamshell exercises for each leg. Clamshells are like opening and closing your knees while lying on your side. They help with hip stability.
Monster Walks: Do 3 sets of 10-12 monster walks in each direction. Monster walks are like taking sideways steps while using a resistance band around your legs. They make your hip muscles strong.
Resistance Band Exercises: Complete 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions for each resistance band exercise. Resistance bands are like stretchy rubber bands you can use for various exercises. They are gentle on your joints and help strengthen different muscle groups.
Lastly, it's time to cool down:
Static Stretches: Spend about 5 minutes doing gentle stretches where you hold a stretchy position for around 30 seconds. It's like thanking your body for all the hard work and helping it relax.
Remember, it's crucial to check with a healthcare professional or a fitness trainer who knows about hypermobility before starting this program. They can make sure you're doing these exercises safely. Plus, an experienced dietitian can help you choose the proper nutritious foods.
A Few Things to Remember
There are a few things to keep in mind while doing strength training for your hypermobility condition.
Stick to a Routine
To get stronger, you should stick to a plan. It's not about lifting super heavy things for a short time; it's about doing it regularly. Try to do strength exercises three days a week. Some folks like to do it every other day, but what really matters is doing it regularly, rather than worrying too much about exactly when.
Focus on Getting Stronger
You don't always need to go to the gym and lift heavy weights to get stronger. There are many ways to do it. Find what works best for you. You can use stretchy bands, do exercises with your body weight, or join gentle strength classes once you feel in control and stable.
Stretching on its own isn't enough for strength, so yoga or stretching classes won't give you the strength you need.
Technique is Important
When you're doing strength exercises, it's essential to do them the right way. You should know which muscles you're supposed to be using and use them correctly.
People with hypermobility are good at finding shortcuts, but that won't help you get stronger. If you've ever felt like your exercises didn't make you stronger, it might be because you weren't using the right muscles or controlling your moves.
Move the Weight, Not Your Body
Doing exercises with control means moving the weight around your body, not the other way around. If you find yourself arching your back to lift something heavy, you're making it easier for yourself by moving your body instead.
Instead, keep your body steady and move the weight, like lifting from your elbow. This way takes more effort and might leave you a bit sore, especially if you're new to it.
Don't Overdo It
When you're doing strength exercises with hypermobility, remember that doing more doesn't mean better. It's about doing it right. If you need to start with lighter movements without weights because it tires your muscles, that's okay.
Pushing too hard won't make you stronger and faster, but it might make you feel sore the next day. And don't worry if you don't like certain exercises; there are plenty of effective ways to get stronger that you can adjust depending on where you are in your strength training journey.
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To sum it up, remember that strength training for hypermobility can be your trusted companion on the journey to a healthier and more confident you. It's not about overdoing it but finding the right balance and techniques that work for you.
What are the benefits of Olympic Lifting Exercises?
Olympic lifting exercises boost strength and explosive power, enhancing athletic performance and overall fitness. They also promote functional movements for daily activities.
Can strength training help hypermobility?
Yes, strength training can help hypermobility by stabilizing joints and reducing the risk of injury.
Is weight training good for hypermobility?
Yes, weight training can be beneficial for hypermobility as it helps strengthen muscles and support joint stability, but it should be done carefully and under guidance.