I am not a bodybuilder, but I have been weightlifting
since 1990. RA has interfered with this pursuit, since my hands hurt my hands and shoulders hurt. Hopefully, I will be able to continue continue weightlifting for many years to come. The euphoria that is derived from weightlifting outweighs the pain that occurs during the exercise period.
I definitely think it is important to keep pursuing the things that you love! I even have a friend with RA who is a triathlete! However I would also suggest speaking to a physical therapist. He or she might be able to help you find accommodations/methods that will allow you to continue with your interests without causing further damage to your body. For example, my friend who is the triathlete used to just be a runner – but with the RA she reduced her running and added swimming and biking, which are lower impact.
I think it is great you are doing weghtlifting. I also enjoy it, and it has helped me with my weakness.I started off doing what my physical therapist showed me and built on it. Before physical therapy and weghtlifting my weakness would be so bad some mornings that I couldnt walk for at least a couple hours upon awakening. I remember one terrifying day I went to get out of a chair and collasped face down. I was so weak I couldnt even turn over to my back. It was two hours before my husband got home to help me to a chair. Anyways since weightlifting it has been six months since I have needed a walker or wheel chair in the am. Also I was able to get a part time job working with dosabled children which i find very rewarding. I do recomend doing a ton of stretching at least three times a day. Keep it within your limits, but it helps me with my stiffness and soreness when i work out.
I am inspired by this post. I’ve had to completely change my mentality about weightlifting. Prior to diagnosis, I was trying to gain muscle with heavier weights. Now, it’s all about keeping the muscle I have, using lighter weights, and doing more reps. Also, very important, I am learning to listen to my body. I would rather stop early, then push through it, and be more limited in the long run.
I stopped before I started seeing my Rhem due to pain and muscle spasms in my hands. I was afraid I would drop something. Well, almost 6 months later I’m still waiting on an official diagnosis of what kind of arthritis I have (best guess is RA) but I’m about to start back the weight lifting class I love. I can’t wait. I use weight lifters gloves and will start using bar bell grips when they come in.
I struggled a long time to continue lifting. Lower weight, modified grips, supplement with machines over free weights and so on. It’s clear that I have had the disease for years, but only diagnosed the last 15 months. Still searching for the med that will work even a bit (not a corticosteroid)
So at this point, no lifting. I can barely get out of bed. I may take a stretch band to work. I feel a bit better mid day, and the Prednisone has some time to work.
I used heavy duty wrist wraps, simply for light weights. They helped. So much of lifting relied on grip and wrist strength. Curls on a cable stack with rope pull attached. Putting my wrists at 90 degrees (like holding a ski pole) was a huge relief. Same for triceps. Pec/Dec machine I would adjust so I didn’t have to use my hands. I pressed with my forearms. For squats, Swiss ball against wall, pot small of back on it, don’t squat pay 90 degrees. Easier on the knees. But that was then.
Play with grips, angles, etc.. find your recipe. Big lifts are out. So don’t worry about that muscle maximizing method. Safe form, and as said above, listen to your body.
Agsides ~ I’m sorry that you are having to wait so long for an official diagnosis. That can be so frustrating! Unfortunately, sometimes we have to advocate for ourselves to get the best healthcare that we can. I hope you feel your rheumatologist is doing everything he/she can, and, if not, that you’ll consider seeing a new one.
Beefybean ~ I can certainly understand your frustration, as I was personally very athletic before my diagnosis. It can sometimes be a long and frustrating process to find a medication that works, but if you can find one it can make a huge difference in your quality of life and, eventually, you may be able to get back to physical things that you love! I hope that is the case for you too!
I am a bit of a gym rat lately and tend to use dumbbells and resistance machines and like you, love the feeling when done. Very addictive. I can’t run any more and even long distance walking is rough, so I cardio it up on the stationary bike doing interval training with light and heavier resistance and speed. At 71, it isn’t as easy, but I really enjoy it.
Dave W, thank you so much for sharing. I am really glad you have found a weightlifting regime that works for you. I think pushing ourselves just a little bit keeps us motivated! I hope everything continues to go well for you!
Hello everyone, this is my first post. I’m new here but have been living with RA(diagnosed) since 2006. I was also told last year that I have some Osteoarthritis. I have always loved weightlifting. Over the years by getting smarter with my workouts and keeping my body in motion my RA has continued to improve. I have a weightlifting channel on YouTube for people with RA. Very small channel, I make zero money on it, just want to help people. It’s called Lifting with Arthritis.