Workout Plans
  • Goal: Hypertrophy, Build Muscle, Build Strength
  • Skill level: Beginner
  • Duration: 60 min
  • Days per week: 7
Joint-Friendly Workouts to Gain Without Pain thumbnail

Wear out the weights, not your body, with this one-week routine.

Start this program

As a lifter, new or seasonal, you will face a time when the constant pounding of the weights will take its toll. Most of us have built the foundations of our strength and size with a barbell. Going heavy on the squat, deadlift, bench press, overhead press, and barbell row has made up the backbone of our routines for good reason: They work. But after a while, your body will start to rebel against you. Aching in your joints will start to hinder your progress. Your strength will start to plateau, and building muscle will be a struggle. If you continue to lift this way with joint pain, you'll end up hurt. 

The key to dealing with any training injury is to work as hard as you can on exercies that won't cause joint pain and will help you recover. The truth is, you can still build strenght and muscle mass without the barbell. By implementing more work with machines and cables, you can keep joint pain at bay and set yourself up for success without having to stop training. Here's how it's done. 

Program Keys

Joint Mobility

Maintaining proper joint range of motion is key for any athlete, and not just because it's "healthy" in some vague sense of the world. By incorporating a sound dynamic warmup that focuses on improving range of motion in the hips, shoulders, and thoracic (upper) spine, you don't just help reduce the risk of injury, you will actually improve your performance. 

Symmetry Work

Barbell exercises are typically done with both sides of the body at a time (bilateral). Over time, this type of training can cause you to develop muscle imbalances. In order to balanace out both sides of the body and improve your core strength, you need to include some unilateral training in your routine. Machines, cables, and dumbbells work well for this goal. 

Intensity Techniques

There are three major ways you can build muscle: mechanical tension (lifiting heavy), metabolic stress (think: going for the pump with high reps), and muscular damage (with long eccentrics and high volume). To compensate for a lack of mechanical tension with a barbell, increase the other two. 


Perform each workout on the days of the week prescribed. If you are not able to fit them in on these days, just make sure to space them out as much as possible. Perform any exercises labeled with letters A, B, C, etc., in a sequence with minimal rest. 

Dynamic Warmup


  • Foam Roller Back - 5, 1
  • Foam Roller Glutes - 5, 1
  • Knee-hug-to-chest into Walking Lunge - 5 each side, 1
  • Toe-touch Squat - 10, 1
  • Pushup - 10, 1
  • Lateral Lunge with Arms Overhead - 5 each side, 1
  • Jump Rope - 2 min.

Week 1