Muscle aches and joint pain aren’t a normal part of exercise. They may be fairly common, but they aren’t normal. Exercise should serve as a form of medicine for the physical body and mitigate knee pain, lower back aches, and inadequate function. If your body is beaten up after exercise and broken down in life outside of the gym, that’s not the purpose of exercise. Exercise is medicine when the exercise respects the way the human body was designed to move.
Exercise should stimulate muscles the way they’re utilized in given scenarios, in the real world. Every time we move, our opposing limbs connect (contralateral reciprocation) so exercise patterns should prioritize this function if you expect to move well in reality. Moving your body up and down under a bar or relying on a machine to stimulate a body part doesn’t replicate the multiplanar movement it encounters in real life. If you expect to live life free of aches and pains, it starts with how well your body can move in real life.
The reason exercise is so important is because it aims to prepare your body for life and if the exercise patterns don’t account for the way the human body was created to function, the body will lose it’s ability to function efficiently. It will start to compensate when it moves, whether that’s 10,000 steps a day from walking, running through the park, throwing the ball with your dog, playing tennis or golf, lifting weights, or any other type of movement that stimulates your muscles. Movement, in general, will start resulting in muscle twinges and joint stiffness, due to the body moving inefficiently. The movements themselves don’t cause the pain or flare ups, but they often get blamed. It’s the result of poor exercise habits, because the body isn’t equipped to handle any sort of 3-demensional movement in the real world since it’s been trained to move under a bar or isolate muscles on a machine in the gym.
When the body begins to compensate during foundational movements, like walking, it will start to move poorly in any given scenario. As the movement becomes more advanced, acute injuries and chronic aches result because the muscles aren’t conditioned to perform in multiple scenarios. The muscles are stuck in the same repetitious patterns on a leg extension machine or bench press, that the body only learns how to move in that plane of motion, then when it encounters various forces in reality it gets jerked around because the muscles haven’t been taught how to balance the body’s center of gravity against life.