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While your main aim at the gym might be building muscle or losing fat, your health shouldn’t take a back seat, particularly when it comes to your joints. Knee healthy is crucial, but is your workout killing your knees?

You might not pay too much attention to how your joints feel. The odd twinge there, a slight tweak there – it doesn’t seem too much of a bigger deal.

But these twinges and tweaks could be trying to tell you something.

It’s common to hear a lifelong gym-goer in their 50s or 60s complaining about their aching joints, and wishing they’d changed their training program, exercised more sensibly, or taken better care of their body when they had the chance. 

It’s all too easy to neglect your health and wellbeing when you start training and are gung ho to get into the best shape of your life, but knee injuries are not something you want to be dealing with.

There are many factors that could be leading to your knee trouble. But the good news is that there are loads of solutions to knee pain too.

Whether you’ve just felt your knees start to ache recently, have had the odd instance of pain over the last few months or have been suffering from sore knees for decades, take a look at these common fitness faux pas, all associated with knee pain.

1. Being Overweight

It won’t surprise you to hear that being overweight is one of the main contributing factors to weight loss. The more weight going through your joints, the more stress they’re under.

2. Running

This links in nicely with point number one.

Running isn’t necessarily bad, but most folks have several issues when running, the first being if they’re overweight.

Running places a huge amount of stress through your knee joints as it is, but add several pounds (or possibly more) of excess body weight from the added fat you’re carrying, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

Even if you’re super slim, running with poor form can create some serious knee discomfort. If your legs flick out to the side, knees knock in the middle, or your treadmill runs can be mistaken for a herd of stampeding elephants by someone standing three blocks away, you might want to take a look at your technique.

The same goes for your shoes too – if you’re going to run, get your footwear properly fitted and have a gait analysis carried out by an expert.

3. High-Rep Plyometrics

Plyometrics are jumping, bounding and leaping movements. They’re highly beneficial for building explosive strength, power and acceleration, hence why they’re a staple in almost every athletic performance workout you’ll come across.

The focus of plyometrics should be on quality, not quantity though. If you’re following a routine that prescribes sets of 30, 40, or 50 jump squats, followed by jump lunges, sprints and bounds, your knees will not like you.

4. Squats with Poor Form

The idea that correctly performed squats are bad for your knees is absurd. The idea that poorly performed squats are bad for your knees is entirely correct, however.

Letting your knees shoot forward, or knock together, along with bouncing in the bottom position or taking the tension off your legs and core muscles will all create a huge amount of stress on your joints. One dodgy rep may not have an impact, but perform squats like this consistently and there could be severe negative implications.

5. Sitting Down to Train

If you sit down all day in your office, then drive to the gym and sit on the couch when you get home, the last thing you should be doing is sitting down while training.

Your knees get stronger by bearing weight, so skip the bike, rower and seated weight machines and stand up instead.

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