I have been lifting weights over the last year and a half and I love it. Unfortunately I have had medical problems related to chronic inflammation/joint pain (possibly early arthritis, I am only 28!). As a result I have had to give up lifting weights. I was using the 5 by 5 starting strength program as well as 5-3-1. My core movements before becoming injured were squats, deadlifts, and bench press. I really want to get back into lifting weights as I really enjoyed it (and I also have a year membership that is paid for at my local gym....). Can anyone recommend a weight lifting program or even just individual exercises that is/are easy on the joints. I have particular problems with my wrists and feet. Presumably with the increased interest in physical fitness especially amongst older people someone has created a program that is not as hard on the joints. Has anyone come across a program like this? My goals are still to increase strength and size.


  • 1
    Barbell exercises performed with strict form and proper weight shouldn't be too hard on the joints. Are you completely against squatting and bench pressing? Perhaps you need to revisit your form and lessen the weight. You say you had to give up lifting weights, then ask for a weight lifting program. What do you really want to do?
    – TestWell
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 15:17
  • Don't get me wrong, I loved benching and squatting but it became too painful on the wrists (when benching for example). I want to get back into weight lifting, but with a program that is less joint intensive. My arthritis pain is not the result of bad form as it has spread to other joints even after I stopped lifting weights (I may have an auto-immune disease where my immune system is over active and attacks my joints.
    – James
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 15:30
  • I may be able to work in some squatting at lower weights, but I think bench at any meaningful weight is out of the question for my wrists. This is particularly unfortunate as bench was one of my favorite workouts.
    – James
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 15:33
  • What kind of exercises have you performed without pain? Cables, dumbbell, EZ/curl bar, body-weight, etc..?
    – TestWell
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 15:41
  • A better approach than "find a program" is "find what the problem is" and fix the problem. Something specific (or a combination of somethings) is causing specific joint pain. Do you stretch your wrists? Warm them up before benching? Investigate the problem in depth instead of bailing entirely for a new field. Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 8:42

1 Answer 1


Where are you located? I work with people who are in pain with posture based corrective exercises, and can help you move back into using weights. If you're not in my area, I can still lead you in the right direction. The other aspect of joint inflammation is your nutrition, as this plays a big role in ridding your body of such issues, especially if you have an auto-immune disease.

As long as it's done within the proper eco-system, addressing whatever dysfunctions and compensations your body may have, lifting is good for anyone. Not only have I dealt with a number of injuries myself from a motorcycle accident that caused a great deal issues that I am now pain free from, but I've seen many people get through such inflammation diseases. My sister, for instance, cured herself of loupes through proper nutrition. A colleague of mine has rheumatoid arthritis and competes in body building figure competitions (without drugs). It's all very much possible for you to get back to doing what you love, just as long as you have the proper tools and direction, as there is allot of bad and wrong information out there.

Don't hesitate to reach out. I'm happy to help.

  • Thanks for your encouraging words. I wont lie, after 6 months of this (wrist,chest, knee inflammation and plantar fasciitis in both feet) it takes a toll on you mentally. Its hard to go from a healthy, active lifestyle to chronic pain simply moving around and not feel depressed. I live in Victoria Canada.
    – James
    Commented Jan 16, 2016 at 21:22

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