Two Joint-Friendly Workouts That Are All Gain & No Pain


Hasan Variawa |

Get stronger than ever with these joint friendly alternatives
By Todd Bumgardner – Photographs: Justin Steele

Directions: Alternate Workout 1 and Workout 2, with at least 48 hours between them. Rest as needed throughout. In Workout 1, do 2 or 3 warm-up sets for the rack pull. In Workout 2, do at least 1 warmup set for the front squat. Your goal is to lift a little more each time.

Workout 1: 45 Minutes

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1. Rack Pull
Set up the barbell on boxes so it reaches mid-shin level. Grab the bar overhand, push your hips back, and pull the bar up forcefully. Lower the weight under control. Do 4 sets of 4 reps.

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2. Dumbbell Incline Bench Press
Grab two dumbbells and hold them over your chest, arms straight. Lower them for 5 seconds; then, when they’re just above your chest, push back up explosively. Do 4 sets of 4 reps.

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3. Half-Kneeling Thoracic Rotation
Inhale, then exhale deeply as you rotate your head and shoulders to the left without moving your lower body. Return to start. Do 4 reps, switch legs, and repeat to your right. Do 4 sets.

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4. Kettlebell Overhead Press
Swing two kettlebells up into the rack position. Brace your core, tighten your glutes, and forcefully press the weights overhead. Lower them under control. Do 4 sets of 6 reps.

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5. Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift
Hold dumbbells in front of your thighs, push your hips back, and lower for 5 seconds. When they’re below your knees, thrust your hips forward and return to the starting position. Do 4 sets of 6 reps.

Workout 2: 45 Minutes

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1. Front Squat
Swing two kettlebells into the rack position and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back and descend slowly for 5 seconds before pushing back up forcefully. Do 4 sets of 4 reps.

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2. Chin-Up
Grab a chin-up bar underhand, keeping your hands roughly shoulder-width apart. Pull your body up explosively until your chin is above the bar. Take 5 seconds to lower your body. Do 4 sets of 4 reps.

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3. Hip Rotations
Raise your right knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Move it out to the side, and then rotate your thigh so your shin is parallel to the floor behind you. Revert to the start and repeat in reverse. Repeat with your left leg. Do 2 reps in each direction with each leg. Do 4 sets.

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4. Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat
Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in the goblet position. Put the top of your right foot behind you on a bench. Lower yourself for 5 seconds, tightening your left leg muscles. Push back up forcefully. Do 6 reps, then switch sides and repeat. Do 4 sets with each leg.

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5. Chest-Supported Row
Set a bench to an incline of 35 degrees. Grab two dumbbells and put your chest against the bench so your chin is above the top and both feet are on the floor. Pull the weights up explosively, then lower them for 5 seconds. Do 4 sets of 6 reps.

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