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Background: For past 3 years my weight was 55-58kgs. 3 years ago, I was able to do 25+ pushups w/o break, 10 pull ups (from dead hang to chest over bar), 10 dips. For past three years I survived on bare minimum diet (with hardly 10gms of protein per day and less than 1500 calorie diet).

Its been three weeks since I joined gym and having proper diet. My weight is 63kgs. I'm still able to do around 20 pushups w/o break. Not a single pullup and 1-2 dips (but my elbows hurt).

As the saying goes A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. I suspect my inability to do pullups & dips is even though my gained muscle mass, my tendons & ligaments are not strong enough. I want to incorporate joint training exercises into my everyday workout. What joint conditioning exercises (esp. for upper body joints) can I incorporate in to my workouts? Probably I'll train them everyday for better reults.

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Can you make this a more general question that is not applicable to only you? Like "What workout regimen is appropriate for the recently malnourished?" –  Noumenon Aug 14 at 1:36

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Now I feel bad, my suggestion for the question wording was kind of rude and changed its focus. A BMI calculation shows your diet wasn't minimal in calories -- you weren't underweight -- just in protein. If the joint pain is a result of your body consuming the proteins stored in synovial fluid, it should get better within a few weeks.

To answer your original question, any exercise that does not hurt your joints helps them, because stronger surrounding tissue supports the joints. If elbows hurt doing push-ups, find an arm exercise that doesn't. And make sure you're not causing your own joint pain through Will Brink's list of common mistakes:

  1. rarely warm up adequately
  2. train too long and/or too often
  3. use overly heavy weights/low reps more often than they should,
  4. don't take time off to allow their joints, tendons, muscles, etc., to recuperate from heavy workouts,
  5. use less than perfect form during heavy lifts,
  6. don't take in adequate nutrients, or
  7. all of the above!
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You should try doing negative pull ups and dips etc. This would be a good addition to what you can already manage. Keep pushing and you'll soon be back to where you were –  John Hunt Sep 25 at 21:07

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