Strength Training and Ankylosing Spondylitis
Last updated: April 2022
Over the last few blogs, you may have gathered I am a yogi and personally believe it is the most important form of movement for AS. That is why I founded Yoga for AS.
About 3 years ago though I decided I wanted to get stronger, and yoga provided a good base of strength and stability. But I wanted to go further. I never really enjoyed gym environments, so I bought a set of kettlebells and started training at home.
On my first try, I got injured
I had no idea what I was doing and ended up injuring my spine which took a few months to recover. I was downtrodden and afraid that if I were to get back to training I could injury myself again.
I did really enjoy Kettlebell training because they were versatile and you could do a lot with them at home. So I persisted and found an amazing coach who I had 4 or so sessions with and taught me the foundations of strength training. Importantly, he knew I had AS, and a history of disc herniation.
Then I got a trainer, and we went slowly
We started really slow, and with movements that were super safe with light weights. I trained 3 or 4 times a week for a year and something clicked. I realized the power of incorporating weights.
When I started, I was originally super weak, and afraid to pick things up. I was always embarrassed that I could not lift some boxes at work or help a friend move something.
Over time, I got stronger and now I am the strongest I have ever been. I train 3 times a week at the gym and can do things I would have never thought possible. I am strong and I have put on a ton of muscle.
What strength training for ankylosing spondylitis has provided me:
- Built confidence with my bodies strength and ability.
- Increased energy.
- Feel anti-fragile, more resilient.
- My emotional health has improved, it is fantastic way to channel anger or fear, both of which are normal emotions and in my opinion should not be suppressed but embraced and channelled productively.
- I am able to skateboard with more confidence in my body's power and support.
- I have more stability in my body and my joints feel more supported.
I would have never thought I would be a gym goer, and even less someone who enjoyed it, but I persisted and it has been a super empowering experience.
I see yoga as the foundation of all practices, building mind-body awareness, self empowerment, and providing transformative tools for fatigue, stiffness, and pain.
Once those have been equipped, strength training has been fantastic for my AS. I just made sure to start super slow, be humble and patient, and work with a professional who could show me how to adapt strength training to my needs.
Have you ever had to take a leave of absence from work due to your symptoms?
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