How do the joints of weightlifters standup to the pressures constantly inflicted on them?

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I’m assuming the surrounding tissues are providing much of the support but still, I have a hard time understanding it. How does the spine of that Olympic lifter who just busted a world record not accordion in on itself when he lifts that 1000+ lbs? Or his knees?

In: Biology

Definitely decades of training helps prepare the body. Most Elite lifters start full time training (6 days a week, 2times a day most days) before the age of 10. You slowly build up over time. This time exposed to constant stimulus definitely allows them to withstand and eventually play around with those huge weights.

I also think the human body has way more potential to withstand more force than most people realize. 265kg/585lbs is heavy, but there are tons of people who squat that for reps, and a few people have squatted or deadlifted 1100lbs, so there was no real risk of someone at the Olympics getting crushed vertically. People can withstand load as long is it’s balanced properly through the body and not hyperextending anything. There are however horrifying injuries when the weight is shifted to an awkward position and the lifter can no longer hold it. Dislocation of elbows and shoulder has happened a few times (search up “Sa Jae-hyouk elbow dislocation” for an obviously uncomfortable example). The weight needs to be loaded in a more or less vertical plane with the weight supported with the wrists,elbow, shoulder,trunk,hips,knees and ankles all stacked

You really need to go to a gym, and load up those weights to see how damn impressive that shit is. Load up 5plates (495lbs) and that’s what Lasha has put overhead in ONE motion. It’s insane. I can’t even move 400 off the floor and there’s these guys just throwing these weights around.

Also minor correction, but the weight lifted (assuming Lasha Talakhadze) was nearly 500lbs overhead in 1 motion, and close to 600lbs in the clean and jerk (bar to shoulder, then shoulder to overhead).

You build up to it. Tiny piece by tiny piece, over the course of *years*. Heck, decades.

But this is critical: **lifting weights is about stressing muscle, NOT joints**. In fact, you do everything in your power to avoid using the “frame” of your body. You won’t get bigger muscles if you take the stress off those muscles. That means avoiding locking out your joints, using proper technique, and a specific range of motion.

Also, your bones do get significantly denser with weight training. In fact, I hate the fact that women are not taught lifting as children. Literally 51% of women over fifty suffer from a degenerative bone disease in America, and that number could be decimated if only we had more women lifting heavy weights early. Drives me nuts it isn’t culturally emphasized.

For ligaments, well, those don’t really grow much. You have got to avoid damaging those at all costs, because they heal like shit.

They probably don’t. Martial artists who break boards and bricks eventually end up with arthritis. Your muscles get stronger, your bones get stronger, your joints get torn up and damaged. It’s not really the weight even. A lot of weight doesn’t help. But repetitive trauma really hurts the body in the long run.

The simplest answer is your body can take a lot of punishment when you’re young. You almost always pay for it when you get older. I wonder how much back damage 70 yo ex weight lifters have.

You can look at a lot of archeological studies too. They’re constantly finding someone with asymmetrical shoulders or hips from carrying heavy loads or being an archer or whatever. Even people who just worked hard physical labor all their life, you can detect it in bone damage.

Anyway, AFAIK there’s no way to “work out” your joints. In fact, every repetitive activity you do generally damages them in every case I can think of. It logically follows that weight lifters probably have terrible arthritis as they age. Just like fighters, construction workers, and altheletes.