Strategies for Joint Pain


(Originally published on   



“Whats wrong if I never feel chest flys whenever I do them? I only feel them in my shoulders?”  I got this question yesterday on Twitter, and its a very common one  “I do XYZ exercise, and I dont feel it in XYZ bodypart, whats wrong?”  The most likely answer? That exercise does not work for you.  There a maxim in training  “adapt exercises to people, not people to exercises”. Not every movement that exists is always going to be effective. Exercises are based upon PATTERNS of movement, and while there are universal patterns of movement, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all exercise Some of the most common exercises that are very overrated  1. Chest flys-chest flys are often not felt at all in the pecs, and for good reason: they biomechanically do NOT stretch the pecs much for many people, it depends on your sternum+ribcage+shoulder structure whether they will work for you or not. Flys are not mandatory at all for chest development  2. Upright row-Tends to tear up the shoulders of many people, especially when done with a narrow grip. Use a moderate grip if you do them 3. Barbell Bench press-hugely stressful on the rotator cuff, and benching too often always leads to injury. Barbell bench press should be rotated and is not mandatory for chest development.  4. Barbell Back Squats-Again, body structure and anthropometrics. Not everyone is built to squat with a bar on their back, there are many many many other squats variations besides back squats you can do.  5. Barbell deadlifts from the floor-Hip extension is hugely important, but the deadlift is a mediocre musclebuilder, and pulling from the floor is an arbitrary height. The people that love deadlifts are good at them, but not everyone is going to get the same benefit from the barbell. Many variations exist 6. Barbell Bent Over Rows-Most people do not have the body structure to move weight and not experience excessive low back stress. A good exercise, but once loading gets to certain point, it taps out 7. the Olympic lifts-very very very few people have the body dimensions to ever be good at olympic lifts. In many cases they will simply be injurious to the knees, hips, spine, and shoulders in the long term.  8. Burpees-Can be great to get heart rate up, but also get sloppy fast, can be a lot of impact on the wrists, and are rarely done properly with good technique