Monday, May 08, 2006


Is powerlifting bad for your joints?

I have a question about power-lifting and the long-term effects on your joints.

Is powerlifting bad for your joints?

I am not referring to bad form etc. Any weight could cause damage in that instance. What I am referring to is a gradual degeneration of the joints due to "excessive" weight.

Let's take squats and knees as an example.

Fact: There is a physical limit to how much pressure your knee joints can withstand before being damaged. Therefore, there must also be a certain threshold weight at which your knees will sustain damage. This damage may not be crippling but may be degenerative in the long term.(Also it may be that your spine or some other joint is damaged before your knees but this doesn't alter the fundamental thrust of my query).

So the question arises as to whether this threshold weight is reached consistently from typical power-lifting. i.e. Is powerli! fting bad for your joints? Or what I really want to know is "how heavy is too heavy?" Does anyone know what these safe limits are or how they might be calculated from some statistically based formula?

Any intelligent comments or anecdotal evidence from veteran powerlifters?

PS: My understanding is that complete lack of pressure on joints (that might be caused by a sedentary lifestyle) can infact also lead to joint degeneration so weight lifting is actually good for your joints within some limit.

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