Resistance Training for the Reduction
of Sports Injury
Fleck and Falkel (1986) state:
"Proper technique and completion of a full
range of motion is paramount to prevent injury to connective
tissue, muscle, and joint capsules. The exercises also should
be conducted in a manner that stimulates the actual athletic
activity as specifically as possible. This may require modifying
the equipment, starting position and/or speed
of contraction. Sets and repetitions should accommodate the
needs of the particular athletic activities with emphasis on
improvement in muscular strength, muscular endurance, or muscular
power. As in any weight training session, warm-up
is essential before a session, even if the resistance training
activity will only involve a relatively light load. Finally,
need to be instituted along with the strength training in order
to keep the optimal functional range of motion throughout the
Weight Lifting Injuries
Rhea (2003) suggests there is no practical difference in injury
rate between using free weights or machines in healthy adults.
Requa RK, DeAvilla LN, Garrick JG. (1993) Injuries in recreational
adult fitness activities. Am J Sports Med, 21(3):461-7.
Injuries sustained during weightlifting training and weightlifting
competition are substantially lower than injuries incurred from
other sports such as football, gymnastics, or basketball.
Stone MH (1990). Muscle conditioning and muscle injuries.
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 22(4):457-462.
In college football players, time lost from injuries during
weight training amounted to 1% of the time lost from injuries
during football participation.
Zemper ED (1990). Four-year study of weight-room injuries
in a national sample of college football teams. Natl Strength
Cond Assoc J. 12(3):32-34.
Injury Potential of Weight Training
Weight training injury rates are low.
- General Population (Powell et al. 1998)
- Athletes (Hamill 1994, Zemper 1990)
Free weights do not produce more injuries, compared to machines
(Ralph et al. 1993).
Weightlifting injuries are lower than those sustained in other
sports (Hamill 1994, Stone 1990, Stone et al. 1993).
Sports Injury Rates (Hamill 1994)
Injuries (per 100 hours)
Soccer (school age)
UK Cross Country
0.0035 (85,733 hrs)
0.0017 (168,551 hrs)
presses and squats
can improve knee stability. The stresses placed upon the joints
and muscles during closed- chained movements are more functional
and offer more natural stresses on the body as compared to open-chain exercises like
extensions. See Hamstring
Weakness and Torque
Forces During Squats.
Peterson, J.A, Bryant, C.X., Understanding Closed Chained
Exercise, The Fitness Handbook, 2, 125-130, 1995.
Upright Row Safety
shoulder width grip is suggested when performing the upright
row. The greater internal rotation required for a close grip
upright row decreases the subacromial space (area between the
greater tubercle of the humerus and acromioclavicular joint).
This may potentially impinge the supraspinatus
tendon and the subacromial bursa (a protective sac of fluid cushioning
the bone from the tendon). A wider grip allows for more space
between the shoulder joint and the head of the humerus allowing
for more clearance of the underlying structures. For the same
reason, when performing a one
arm upright row, keep the elbow pointing directly to the
side, instead of angling it slightly to the front. Shoulders
should be kept back since scapula
protraction can decrease width of subacromical space, possibly
increasing risk of subacromical impingement (Solem-Bertift E
1993). An upright posture with chest high and shoulders back,
bar kept close to the body, and a medium to slightly wide grip
can facilitate a more ideal shoulder posture.
The subacromial space as well as other biomechanical and biometric
factors vary from person to person so some individuals may be
more prone to complications while others report no problems performing
the narrower grip upright row. Also see Over
Sample Split Program Design Flaws
Header presents potential risk of program design, particularly
if other risk factors are present. Also see:
Are Resistive Neck Exercises Dangerous?
Isolated dynamic weight resistive cervical
/ neck exercises are not only safe, but they have been used
in sports conditioning programs by millions of athletes to reduce
the risk of injury on the playing field. Strengthening the neck
muscles with weight training is endorsed by many sports organizations
such as the National Strength & Conditioning Association
and the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Lever resistance neck machines (eg: MedX Rehabilitative Neck
Machines) are also used as a therapeutic modality for chronic
neck pain. Dr Brian Nelson and his colleagues with HealthPartners
Physicians Neck & Back Pain have published several medical
studies demonstrating the efficacy of aggressive weight resistive
exercise for both lumbar and cervical spine health. See Interview
with Dr Brian Nelson,
MD, Orthopedic surgeon.
For those unaccustomed to exercising the neck muscles under
a load, allow the muscle and joint structures to adapt by beginning
with a very light resistance and add additional resistances incremental
over time until an appropriate workout resistance if found. All
the same Exercise Readiness Screenings
and Adaption Criteria
Bronfort et al (2001). A Randomized Clinical Trial of Exercises
and Spinal Manipulation for Patients with Chronic Neck Pain.
Spine 26:7, 788-799.
Naish & Burnett (2013). Can a Specific Neck Strengthening
Program Decrease Cervical Spine Injury in a Men's Professional
Rugby Union Team? A Retrospective Analysis. Journal of Sports
Science and Medicine. 12, 542-550.
Gittleson (2014). The Importance of Training the Head &
Weight Training for Cardiac Patients
Previously, cardiac patients were cautioned against strength
training for fear that exertional blood pressure elevation would
lead to arrhythmia, or myocardial ischemia. Rehabilitation thus
consisted of mostly aerobic exercises. Multiple studies have
shown that not only is this false, but that resistance training,
as compared to aerobic training not only improved strength and
cardiovascular endurance, but also had fewer cardiovascular complications
of angina, arrhythmia, ischemia, or blood pressure abnormalities.
Moreover, the patients achieved significant muscle strength to
return to their occupational and leisure activities.
McCartney N. Role of resistance training in heart disease.
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 1998; 30(10): s396-s401.
Benjamini Y, Rubenstein JJ, Zaichowsky LD, Crim MC. Effects
of high intensity strength training on quality of life parameters
in cardiac rehabilitation patients. American Journal of Cardiology
Daub WD, Knapik GP, Black WR. Strength training after myocardial
infarction. Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation 1996;16:100-108.
Stewart KJ. Resistive training effects on strength and
cardiovascular endurance in cardiac and coronary prone patients.
Medicine and Science in Sports and Medicine 1989;21(6):678-682.
Also see weight training
for older adults.