athletic conditioning, improper planning and inadequate conditioning
(both general and sports specific) prior to the competitive season
are major causes of injury. In elite athletes, high volume and
intensity of the training load is one of the major causes of
injury (Slobounov SM 2008). Also see Causes
of Injury above.
An improperly planned conditioning program can be attributed
to failure to understand and implement fundamental training
principles and adaptation
criteria through a periodized
programming. A program that does not adequately prepare the
athlete for the specific types of forces and stresses experienced
on the field or court place athletes at risk. See Training
Specificity and Resistance
Training for the Reduction of Sports Injury. Programs that
fail to incorporate movements that condition stabilizing muscles
(joint stabilizers such as hamstrings, rotator cuff muscles,
etc), maintain ideal muscular
balance, and correct biomechanical
deficiencies unique to each athlete, increase the risk of
injury on and off the playing field.
Contrary to popular belief, conventional stretching per se
does not appear to decrease the occurrence of injury (see Stretching and Flexibility). However,
movement specific warmups before drills,
tests, and the event performance can decrease risk of injury.
Ideally, movement specific warm-ups should proceed the event
by several minutes, mimic the sports activity in the exact mechanics
in which it will be performed, yet, not be so taxing as to compromise
sports performance. Some sports are obviously more unpredictable
than others and will not allow for rehearsal of every possible
movement several minutes before they occur. Power or speed sports
should consist a short series of movement specific warmups at
progressive intensities. For example, several minutes before
the start of 100m dash, a sprinter could perform a short progressive
submax series of block starts immediately, followed by a short
run, or simulated movement, thereby warming up in the same mechanics
in which they will be engaging.
In the weight room, performing a movement specific warm-up
set (eg: 50% 10RM) before workout sets, allow for performance
benefits in addition to decreasing the risk of injury (see Weight Training Warm-up).
Injuries can also be circumvented by well thought-out programs
that adhere to evidence based research and sound training protocols
(see Weight Training
Periodizaiton) that allow for adequate recovery (see Overtraining). Also, using too much
resistance or performing too many sets, particularly when athletes
are first introduced to new movements or exercise variations
are common training errors which can greatly increase the risk
The coach can introduce methods in which athletes can customized
a 'group program' to each athlete's unique abilities, results,
and needs. Coaches must allow for proper rehearsal and adaptation
to 'new' exercises or movements, understand the benefits periodization
techniques, adhere to adaptation criteria, implement program
customization, use of movement specific warm-ups, and schedule
adequate recovery periods for optimal progress.
Crown LA, Hizon JW, Rodney WM, (1997) Musculoskeletal Injuries
in Sports, The Team Physician's Handbook, Mosby, 2: 361-370.
Slobounov SM (2008). Injuries in Athletics, Causes and
Consequences, Springer, 25-43.
Tovin BJ (2006). Prevention and Treatment of Swimmer's
Shoulder. North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy,
Wanivenhaus F, Fox AJS, Chaudhury S, Rodeo SA (2012). Epidemiology
of Injuries and Prevention Strategies in Competitive Swimmers.
Sports Health. May 2012; 4(3): 246251.