I understand that overuse of a joint will likely wear it out faster than usual and may cause osteoarthritis. Overuse of the knee joint by running too much and in bad form is a typical example.

My question is around possible overuse due to weight training. Weight training usually involves far less repetitions (10-30 per session and 2-3 sessions a week, compared to cardio types of exercises that can have hundreds of repetitions of the same joints). With that in mind, would weight/strength training (low reps, more weight) qualify as the type of overuse that may result in osteoarthritis? For example, if I do 3x8 squats (with manageable weights), can it cause osteoarthritis? If it can, then how would the level of damage compare to running? And does it apply to other joints as well; for example, would doing 3x8 shoulder presses cause arthritis in shoulder?

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Let's compare the body with a machine. There are machines that work a lifetime without fail, and there are some that fail in a year or so. Why? Right maintenance is the answer. By maintenance it means, load testing, lubricating, replacing faulty parts and loading it effectively with right process. If you leave a machine laying there for 5 years, can you guarantee the safe operation when you start it? No, because unused machines and that are not attained, always undergo rusting and malfunction overtime.

Likewise, body is a very complex machine. When you are lifting, you have to lift with proper form, and proper loading, also rest well. That's the correct maintenance for body. Any overloading would result in wear and tear and so does improper form. Regarding joints, your joints always undergo natural lubrication when you are active. With weight training, you rather make things better than worse, if you are doing it right. There are people have been cycling for over 70 years/ lifting for 50+ years and still walk without cane or pain. In the same way as machines, if you keep your body dull and inactive, body is intelligent enough to know its not being used regularly and there starts the rusting process. Your muscles go weaker and body loses strength.

Having said that, everyone is different. There's no proof that body building and weight lifting causes arthritis, or keeping it idle does. So, just stay safe, work under your limits in proper form, eat well and rest proper to avoid injuries.

  • Thank you. Your machine analogy makes me wonder if exercising is indeed analogous to oiling/maintenance of a machine as far as arthritis and joint health is concerned?
    – Achilles
    Nov 29, 2016 at 3:41
  • It is. Body is very intelligent. If you are active, that leads to lubrication of joints and sockets. It's a prevention for sure, but has to be done correctly.
    – xCodeZone
    Nov 29, 2016 at 22:35

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