Reviewed by Michael Smith on June 03, 2013

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Arthritis Today: "How Weight Lifting Can Improve Rheumatoid Arthritis". Dori Ricci, Master Personal Trainer.

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Video Transcript

Narrator: One of the best things you can do to offset bone loss is weight bearing exercise. So we asked Master Trainer Dori Ricci to show us how to do 8 specific weight exercises without strain.

Dori Ricci, Master Trainer: You want to keep a neutral wrist position, which means you don't want to flex or extend your wrist—you just want to keep it straight—so the back of your hand would be flat. You want to go through a full range of motion—if you feel discomfort in the elbow then what you would do is lower the weight. The leg extension strengthen the front of the thighs.The leg curl strengthens the back of the thigh. This muscle is called the quadriceps; this muscle is called the hamstring. In order to avoid straining the joints you would relax the feet, you would not flex or point, and if you feel strain in your knees, you would just lower the weight. This is called the tricep pushup: You elevate the elbows off the floor. You want to make sure your elbows are directly under your shoulders and you want to come up just a little bit, so that you make sure there's not too much flexion in the wrist. This also strengthens your lower back. The seated row is a great exercise but you can also do it at home and on the road using resistance bands. You want to place the chair far enough away from the attachment so you have tension in the bands when you start. You're working the upper back muscles. Now when these muscles are strong you have good posture. In order to avoid any stress or pain or tension in the wrists, you want to make sure you have a neutral wrist—you want the back of the wrist to be flat. In order to avoid straining the elbows you want to make sure you come down to a 90 degree angle when you pull down to the waist. The calf raise is an excellent exercise for the lower leg because you don't need any equipment so you can pretty much do it anywhere. It works the muscles in the lower leg, the gastrocnemius and the soleus underneath. All you would do is stand with your feet shoulder width apart, go up on your toes and come down and bring your heels to the floor. If you feel discomfort in your ankles you can start out coming up a half an inch or an inch and then increase your range of motion as it feels better. The leg press is an excellent exercise for the lower body because it works the thighs and the glutes. You want to press out and come back to a 90 degree angle. That's very important, you never want to put your feet low on the plates because there is too much flexion at the ankle and the knee. You always want to put your feet high so that you come back to a 90 degree angle and you press out to just before you lock your knees. Now we're going to do the chest press exercise. This exercise works the pectoralis major and minor and we're going to grab the handles here and what we want to remember here is to keep a flat wrist so we avoid straining the wrists. Come back to a 90 degree angle at the elbow to avoid putting extra stress on the elbow and we want to keep the elbows up at shoulder height.