I love going to the gym and hitting the weights. And it’s an even better feeling when I go to the gym and lift heavy weights and make new personal records.
You know that feeling too.
It’s the best feeling ever! I mean why wouldn’t it be? You just achieved a new strength goal! Along with that, your confidence rises. Everything is awesome. But then one day, I actually thought about it. Is achieving new personal records and lifting really heavy almost everyday good for longevity? No it’s not.
At least that’s what I think. When I say “heavy” and “personal record,” I’m talking like one to five repetitions of a certain weight. So I started thinking about science. It’s always the science!
Here are my thoughts on this based on what science says. Lifting heavy will affect your joints.
Yeah, I know what your thinking. “Lifting heavy will make your joints stronger. Lifting heavy weights is good for you. What is this guy talking about?”
I literally thought of this too. But you have to remember that the joints in your body are mostly made up of cartilage, chondrocytes (cells that produce the cartilage), and collagen with synovial fluid at the end of the joint capsules (to lubricate the joints).
And believe it or not, the bad thing is that your cartilage in your joints don’t receive any blood flow because there are no arteries/arterioles/capillaries near your cartilage tissue for nutrients and oxygen to enter the cartilage in your joints.
Also, your cartilage does not have any nerves, so you can’t feel your cartilage breaking away every time you put a ton of pressure on your joints when you lift heavy weights. Little micro-tears in your cartilage might lead to joint pain and arthritis later on.
And the worst of all is that your cartilage doesn’t even grow back (well it grows back extremely slow, almost close to none) because of the lack of blood supply as I discussed above.
After I thought about the science, I decided to stop lifting heavy (meaning one to five reps) and started to lift in the higher rep range (eight to twelve reps). And honestly, I believe and feel that this is much better for my joints and for my future joint health. And also let’s not forget, the heavier the weight, the more chance of injury.
In my opinion, lifting in the eight to twelve repetitions range is the way to go. This way, your tendons, muscles, and ligaments around the joints will get stronger, therefore decreasing the chance of your joints getting injured when you do lift heavy. It’s not like you can’t test your maximum weight strength on the bench press or something. I’m just saying that lift heavy once in a while, not frequently.