Weight Lifting with RA

Hi all,

still new to this but thought I would ask for anyone else’s experience with weight lifting and RA

Last year I was in incredible shape due to training & diet that involved a lot of weight lifting and I loved it.

having a very active job on my feet for 12 hours a day, when I returned to work after the first lockdown, this mixed with my training was when I began having issues.

since struggling with extreme pain mainly in my hands and wrists (however I also have in my elbows, knees and ankles) I have avoided heavy weights and have only done short, light exercises at home.

has anyone here been into heavy weight training or is there any information about doing this with RA?

all info is much appreciated xx


  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 26,470

    Never tried it but you can bet some people have! I think your exercises with lighter weights is probably more sensible but understand the 'kick' people get out of exercise.

    Not being able to do something we enjoy like running is a fairly regular issue for people who come in here.

    I hope someone will pop in who knows the answer.


    Toni xxx
  • TraceyS
    TraceyS Member Posts: 5
    edited 25. Mar 2021, 22:35

    Hi, I have hip osteoarthritis not RA but I am a weightlifter. Trained in gyms for years without a hitch then 6 years ago started getting issues with my hips. 2 years later diagnosed with congenital hip dysplasia and moderate OA. Continued to weight train which I was told would help ease arthritis symptoms and stopped all impact exercise. It's worked up to a point. While my flexibility and mobility has remained good I noticed I was getting injured more frequently. My last gym training injury was in Oct 2019 after 3 sets of heavy hip thrusts. My right hip buckled and I was left limping and in considerable pain when loading weight through my right hip. At that point I realised the heavy weight lifting was perhaps not doing me any good. My physio confirmed this. While strength training is fabulous, going too heavy can overload arthritic joints and cause really bad injuries. My latest x-ray showed severe (bone on bone) OA in my right hip. My surgeon suggested THR but I was and still am determined to keep going for now down the non surgical route. To get back exercising again my surgeon did steroid injection and joint aspiration (to reduce inflammation and remove excess fluid). I've spent the last year finding a new way forward with lifting with the help of physio. Much lighter weights (bodyweight and bands to start) and lots of mobility and stretching. Pressure point massage to relax tight muscles has helped too - as my arthritis has progressed I've noticed my muscles getting very tight. As someone who has weightlifed happily for years it's been a blow but I am enjoying the challenge of getting my fitness back. Don't lose hope. There is a way forward. I just think those of us with arthritis need to be mindful of the load we are putting through our joints when lifting. I hope this helps.

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