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Arthritis and smart training

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

No matter if a human body is young or old, fit or unfit, has a chronic illness or not – smart training is the key to undoing injury (and bullet roofing the chances to re-injure) in the professional athlete, occupational injury or supporting the body that is living with a chronic illness.

Smart training is when we understand the underlying cause, adapting and specifying the exercises to the problem. Hitting the bullseye, rather than throwing everything we think is correct aimlessly towards what we think is the right direction. Smart training also means that we train with respect to the bodies/conditions/injury we live with.

For us that do live with a long-term condition such as Arthritis - we might think that not moving is the best approach, but most of the time this is not true. If we want our tissues to be better – we must tell it to be so, by actual movement. Our bodies are designed to move, and a sedentary lifestyle will only make it worse.

Studies have found that a combination of low – to moderate impact training, strength, proprioceptive and flexibility training can benefit people with RA & OA.

Below is a 60 second video showing how I target my flare and affected area. Please note that every arthritic individual case is different. Due to the multifaceted nature of the condition, severity of symptoms, age, and quality of life. Considerations and adaptation will differ between us all. In some cases, rest is best during a flare – but exposing the affected area to basic ranges of motions is still paramount to reduce and prevent pain.

Isometric contractions are fantastic for those training with inflammatory conditions. These contractions work on strengthening the tissue without having the muscle fibres rubbing against each other. Minimising the chances of causing further inflammation.

We are asking the tissue to become better without aggravating it (smart training ; )

My movement prescription:

  • Isometric contraction training - at angles affected. Progressive and regressive tissue. (Flexion and extension)

Each hold last 10 seconds each ( 3 reps) and progressively increased to longer holds and more reps.

  • Controlled Articulation Rotational movements - Full range of motion training. (Not shown in this video) These movements have been added towards the end of the flare, as they were too painful to perform. This is what we call adapting to each individual case.

Again, I must stress – I'm showing what I do for myself as a trained exercise and mobility specialist. These are not instructions on how you should approach your own condition. As always, you should seek professional guidance from your GP, Physio or exercise specialist that can give you individualised advice.

Isometric contractions are a contradiction to those suffering with high blood pressure and should not be performed. Adaptations MUST be given and supervised by an exercise specialist.

Further reads:


Versus Arthritis - Why Is Exercise Important

Mayo Clinic -

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