Working Out with Hypermobility Syndrome

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Published: April 12, 2023

Hypermobility syndrome is a condition that affects joint mobility, allowing them to move beyond their normal range of motion. Although this can lead to joint pain, instability, and a higher risk of injury, individuals with hypermobility can still exercise with proper precautions and modifications. When working out with Hypermobility Syndrome, it’s essential to work with a healthcare professional and quality personal trainers to develop a safe and effective workout plan that considers this specific condition and any potential risks. By doing so, individuals with hypermobility syndrome can still benefit from physical activity while minimizing the risk of injury.

What is Hypermobility Syndrome?

Hypermobility Syndrome, also known as Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS) or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility Type (EDS-HT), is a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissues, such as tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. This results in a greater range of motion in the joints than is considered normal. People with hypermobility syndrome have joints that can move beyond the usual range of motion, making them more flexible than the average person.

While this can be an advantage in certain situations, it can also lead to joint pain, instability, and a higher risk of injury during physical activity. Hypermobility Syndrome can affect any joint in the body, including the fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, spine, hips, knees, and ankles. If you are one of the people with JHS who wants to work out, make sure you hire a personal trainer in Dubai to help you and give you a personalized workout plan.

Man at the gym working out with Hypermobility Syndrome
Make sure you get advice from a professional before working out with Hypermobility Syndrome

How does Hypermobility Syndrome occur?

Hypermobility Syndrome is caused by a genetic mutation that affects the body’s connective tissues. Connective tissues are responsible for providing structure and support to the body, as well as holding the joints together. In hypermobility syndrome, the connective tissues are less stable than normal. This causes the joints to be more flexible and less stable. The condition is usually inherited, meaning it is passed down through families. In some cases, hypermobility syndrome may be caused by a spontaneous genetic mutation that occurs during development.

Hypermobility syndrome can occur in people of all ages, but it is most commonly diagnosed in childhood or adolescence. It is more common in females than males, and it affects up to 20% of the population to some degree. If you are among the people affected, make sure you hire a professional fitness instructor in Dubai, who can help you exercise properly.

Signs and symptoms of Hypermobility Syndrome

It’s important to note that the severity and combination of symptoms can vary widely among individuals with hypermobility syndrome. Signs and symptoms of hypermobility syndrome include:

  • Joint hypermobility. Joints that move beyond their normal range of motion, sometimes causing pain or discomfort.
  • Joint instability. A feeling of looseness or giving way in the joints, which can increase the risk of joint dislocation or injury.
  • Joint pain. Pain or discomfort in the joints, especially after physical activity or prolonged sitting or standing.
  • Muscle weakness. Weakness in the muscles around the joints, that can contribute to joint instability and pain.
  • Fatigue. Tiredness or lack of energy, that can be caused by the effort required to stabilize joints during physical activity.
  • Easy bruising. A tendency to bruise easily due to fragile blood vessels in the skin.
  • Digestive problems. Some people with hypermobility syndrome may experience gastrointestinal issues, such as acid reflux or irritable bowel syndrome.

If you suspect that you or someone you know may have hypermobility syndrome, it’s important to seek medical evaluation and diagnosis from a qualified healthcare professional that will help make healthy meal plans for you and monitor your progress.

Man exercising and cleaning his forehead from sweat
You need to personalize your exercises when working out with Hypermobility Syndrome

Exercising safely with Hypermobility Syndrome

Exercising with hypermobility syndrome requires extra care and attention to avoid injury and pain. Make sure to use these tips for exercising safely with hypermobility syndrome:

  • Consult with a healthcare professional. Before starting any exercise program, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable about hypermobility syndrome. They can help you develop a safe and effective workout plan that takes into account your specific condition and any potential risks.
  • Focus on stability. Exercises that improve stability and strengthen the muscles around the joints are important for people with hypermobility syndrome. This can include exercises such as squats, lunges, and core exercises that focus on proper alignment and form.
  • Avoid overstretching. People with hypermobility syndrome may be tempted to push their joints to the limit, but overstretching can lead to injury and pain. It’s important to find a balance between stretching to maintain flexibility and avoiding overstretching which can cause joint instability.
  • Use proper equipment. Good quality shoes, joint support braces, and other equipment can help stabilize joints and prevent injury during physical activity.
  • Listen to your body. Pay attention to any pain, discomfort, or instability during exercise. If something doesn’t feel right, stop the exercise and consult with a healthcare professional.
  • Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated can help prevent joint stiffness and pain during and after exercise.

Remember, it’s important to work with a qualified trainer or physical therapist who has experience working with people with hypermobility syndrome. They can help you modify exercises as needed and ensure that you are exercising safely and effectively.

Tips for modifying workouts

Modifying workout is an important aspect of exercising with hypermobility syndrome. Here are some tips for modifying workouts to make them safer and more effective for people with hypermobility syndrome:

  • Reduce range of motion. People with hypermobility syndrome may need to reduce the range of motion in some exercises to prevent joint instability or injury. For example, instead of a full range of motion squat, a partial squat may be more appropriate.
  • Use lighter weights. Using lighter weights with more repetitions can help improve muscular endurance without putting too much stress on the joints.
  • Avoid high-impact exercises. High-impact exercises such as running and jumping can put too much stress on the joints and increase the risk of injury. Low-impact exercises such as cycling, swimming, and walking can be good alternatives.
  • Focus on stability and strength. Exercises that focus on improving stability and strength can be particularly helpful for people with hypermobility syndrome. These can include exercises such as lunges, squats, planks, and bridges.
  • Use props. Props such as yoga blocks, straps, and blankets can be helpful in modifying yoga poses and other exercises to make them more comfortable and safe for people with hypermobility syndrome.
  • Take breaks. Taking breaks during workouts can help prevent joint pain and fatigue. It’s important to listen to your body and take a break if you start to feel pain or discomfort.

Remember, modifying workouts is not a sign of weakness. It’s an important part of exercising safely and effectively with hypermobility syndrome. Working with a fitness instructor in Dubai can be especially helpful in developing a safe and effective workout plan.

Three women exercising
Modifying workouts is very important in order to stay safe

Best types of exercises for Hypermobility Syndrome

Choosing the right types of exercise is important for people with hypermobility syndrome. Here are the six best types of exercises for hypermobility syndrome:

  • Low-impact cardio. Low-impact cardio exercises such as swimming, cycling, and walking are great options for people with hypermobility syndrome. These exercises are easier on the joints and can help improve cardiovascular health.
  • Strength training. Strength training exercises can help improve muscular stability and protect the joints. Exercises that focus on the core, hips, and shoulders are particularly helpful for people with hypermobility syndrome.
  • Yoga. Yoga can be a great way to improve flexibility and strength while also promoting relaxation and stress relief. People with hypermobility syndrome should focus on poses that emphasize stability and proper alignment rather than extreme flexibility. If you opt for this exercise, make sure to hire a yoga instructor from Dubai who has experience with people that have hypermobility syndrome.
  • Pilates. Pilates is a low-impact form of exercise that focuses on improving core strength and stability. It can be particularly helpful for people with hypermobility syndrome because it emphasizes proper alignment and form.
  • Balance exercises. Balance exercises such as standing on one leg or using a balance board can help improve stability and reduce the risk of falls or injuries.
  • Tai Chi. Tai Chi is a gentle form of exercise that can help improve balance, flexibility, and strength. It’s particularly helpful for people with hypermobility syndrome because it emphasizes slow, controlled movements and proper alignment.

Keep in mind it’s essential to work with a qualified trainer or physical therapist who has experience working with people with hypermobility syndrome. They can help you develop a safe and effective workout plan that considers your specific condition and any potential risks.

Woman exercising with her personal trainer watching her
A qualified trainer will help you work out properly

Pre-workout warm-up routine

A pre-workout warm-up routine is crucial for people with hypermobility syndrome to prepare their bodies for exercise and prevent injuries. The routine should start with a 5-10 minute low-impact cardio warm-up, such as walking or cycling, to increase blood flow and warm up the muscles. Joint mobilization exercises should follow to lubricate the joints and improve mobility, including movements like shoulder circles, hip circles, and ankle circles.

Dynamic stretching can be done next, which involves moving through stretches that mimic the movements you’ll be doing during your workout, like bodyweight squats or lunges. Stability exercises such as planks or bridges should be incorporated into the warm-up to activate the muscles that support your joints and improve stability. Finally, proprioception exercises like standing on one leg or using a balance board should be done to improve balance and coordination.

Make sure to hire a personal trainer to help you gain muscle and watch your progress. Remember to modify the warm-up routine as needed and listen to your body during the warm-up. If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop and seek guidance from a qualified trainer or physical therapist.

Post-workout recovery tips

Post-workout recovery is essential for people with hypermobility syndrome. After your workout, it’s important to cool down with some gentle stretching or low-impact cardio to prevent blood from pooling in the muscles and reduce the risk of injury. Foam rolling can help release tension and improve mobility in tight muscles, while staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water is important to replace fluids lost during exercise and promote recovery.

Allow your body time to rest and recover after your workout by taking a rest day or incorporating active recovery exercises such as gentle yoga or walking. Stretching can also be helpful to improve flexibility and reduce muscle soreness. Consider getting a massage from a therapist experienced in working with people with hypermobility syndrome to help release tension and improve circulation.

Man exercising by holding the bench with his hands behind his back
Make sure to always cool down after a workout

Working out with Hypermobility Syndrome dos and don’ts

Working out with hypermobility syndrome can be challenging, but with the right approach, it is possible to exercise safely and effectively. There are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind. Let’s start with dos:

  • If you are planning to get slimmer, make sure to hire an instructor to help you lose weight, don’t freestyle it.
  • Focus on building strength and stability in your muscles and joints.
  • Incorporate exercises that improve posture and alignment, such as Pilates or yoga.
  • Use proper form and technique during exercises to avoid putting excessive strain on your joints.
  • Listen to your body and adjust your workout intensity as needed.
  • Warm up properly before exercising to prevent injuries.

To avoid exacerbating hypermobility syndrome during exercise, it’s important to be aware of what not to do. Here are some of the important don’ts:

  • Overstretch your joints or muscles, which can exacerbate hypermobility.
  • Lift heavy weights without proper form or technique.
  • Push through pain or discomfort during exercise.
  • Participate in high-impact activities that put excessive stress on your joints, such as running or jumping.
  • Ignore any pain or discomfort during or after exercise. It is important to seek guidance from a qualified trainer or physical therapist if you experience any pain or discomfort.
Woman working out with Hypermobility Syndrome with her trainer by her side
Always keep the dos and don’ts in mind when working out with Hypermobility Syndrome

Prepare and exercise safely and effectively

Exercising with hypermobility syndrome requires a careful approach that prioritizes building strength, stability, and proper alignment while avoiding activities that can exacerbate hypermobility or cause injury. By following the tips outlined in this blog, including modifying effective abs workout, warming up and cooling down properly, and seeking guidance from qualified professionals, working out with Hypermobility Syndrome can be done safely and effectively. You can easily incorporate exercise into your routines, improve your overall health, and enhance your quality of life.

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