There are three different body types: mesomorphs, endormorphs, and ectomorphs. But aside from the specific body types, you need to understand that every human body is different. Two people in the same family can have two totally different body types, and two people with the same body type may see totally different results! The joints on the right side of your body may be totally different from the joints on the left side of your body. It’s all about finding ways to tailor your workouts to your body type and structure. So how can you do that?
Find the Depth that Works
When you perform squats, your goal is to find the right depth for your hips. If you squat too low, you may push your hips out of place–or possibly even damage the joint. Some people will never be able to do a full squat simply because their bodies aren’t designed to handle it. Your goal is to find the squat depth that works for you, which hits your leg muscles without straining your joints. The same is true for your bench presses, military presses, and every other exercise you do. Everyone’s form is going to be slightly different–you need to find what works for YOU!
Find the Position that Works
Do you need to spread your feet slightly wider in order to hit that squat or deadlift just right? Does it hurt when your toes aren’t pointed outward enough? You need to find the position that works for YOUR body–your knees, hips, elbows, shoulders, and back. You should stay within the proper range of motion for the exercise, but be prepared to find a position that is comfortable on your joints (provided it maintains the correct form).
Make it Easy on Your Core
Squats are a fairly simple exercise, but there are many variations on squats that can be hard on your back. Take Back Squats for example, where all the weight is resting on your shoulders–which means that it’s transferred to your lower back when you drop into the squat (you have to lean forward a little). Instead of doing exercises that transfer the weight to your lower back, find variations that are easier on your spine muscles. For example, if you have a tendency to lean forward when you squat, try Goblet Squats (holding the barbell in front of your chest). This will help you to focus on your form, keeping your back straight and avoid leaning forward when you squat.
Change Your Arm Position
If your shoulders, elbows, or wrists protest when you do a Military Press, Bench Press, or Barbell Curl, it may be a sign that something is wrong. The problem may not be in your joints, but in your grip. If your grip is too narrow (hands too close together), you may strain the outsides of your wrists. If your grip is too wide (hands too far apart), you may feel the pain in the inside of your wrists. If your grip isn’t wide enough for a Military Press or Bench Press, you may feel like your shoulders are going to pop out. If your grip is too wide, it takes the focus away from the primary muscles–moving it to the outer edges of the muscle. It all comes down to hand position. Find the grip placement that works for the moves you’re doing, and which work for your shoulders, elbows, and wrists. There should be no joint pain when you work out–only the burn in your muscles!