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Working around arthritis

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I have osteoarthritis in both knees. I've been working 5/3/1 BBB and my knees hate it. Week 2 with deads and squats left me hobbled. I don't want to sacrifice these lifts but I don't want to sacrifice mobility in order to get stronger.


I've thought of working deads on week and squats the next to give myself a little more time for resting the joints.


I've also thought of going way back down in weight until I get some more body weight off to reduce the incidental stress on the joints daily.


I've thought of a few other things as well, but I'm more frustrated than convinced with any of them. Has anyone else worked through something like this themselves and can lend some advice?

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Moving this thread, should be under the general lifting boards.

Sent from my iPhone- please forgive length and autocorrects (yes, I'm blaming it on the phone).

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Are you doing 3 days/week or 4? What other exercise are you doing?


I've never done BBB, but from what I understand, the assistance work is just higher rep sets of the main lift, yes? This seems like it's adding more volume of the same movement. Have you tried switching up your assistance lifts? It's possible that changing up the movement patterns some will help. 


This may just involve some experimenting. Try dropping volume for one cycle, track everything (not just your weights/reps/sets but also how everything felt before, during and after), and see where you're at. If that doesn't work, try dropping the weights, or dropping to 3 days/week, etc.


Oh, and don't forget that nutrition, sleep, and stress will all play a roll in how your body holds up to stresses and recovers, so make sure those are in check.

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Another in the same boat.. had patello-femoral pain when i was growing up, but ended up with the cartilage on my knee cap breaking down

So any loaded knee extension causes grinding and pain.


I find that too many reps are the big problem for my knees..

which is why i turned to weight lifting in the first place.. girly step and pump and other hi-rep classes meant I couldn't walk without pain...

so I work higher weights for fewer reps.. 3 sets of 5 is my max.. 

But more than that I think its the post-workout management and ongoing maintenance..
Stretching, RICE, anti inflams...

I also take glucosamine, chondroitin, fish/krill oil, and ongoing NSAIDS to minimise the inflammation damage and hopefully allow some cartilage repair to occur.

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