Are We Causing More Injuries in the Weight Room?
The short answer is yes! Coaches must wake up and realize that what they do is causing the majority of the injury risk. Many coaches are increasing injuries rather than preventing them. One of the major objectives of Team Sports Performance is to help limit injuries by providing education to coaches, building customized programs, and assisting them with the knowledge and resources each coaching staff needs to increase the team’s performance and limit injuries.
Injuries are on the rise and they are continue to increase. If we as coaches don’t educate ourselves and see the relationship to what we are doing in the weight room they are going to continue to increase. And it will definitely limit the team’s chances of performing their best which could cost coaches their job.
How do we know there is a relationship between weight room practices and injuries?
We have done research with UAB Orthopedic Training staff at local high schools and were able to cut down injuries significantly. Our movement based program was able to cut ACL tears from 4 the previous year to 2 the year we implemented this program at the school. The 1 of the knee injuries were from an athlete that was thrown into a Varsity workout. The injuries from 157 athletes where cut by 55% from the previous year. We measured the amount of doctor visits from the previous year which was 78 visits to 43. These injuries ranged from overuse, sprains, reconstructive ACL repairs, to concussions. The sports that were measured was Football, Basketball, Baseball, Girls Basketball, Volleyball, Cross Country, Dance, Lacrosse, and Softball. Although these are just temporary changes and the final verdict is still out for the long term it shows promising results that these problems do exist and can be used to help us prevent the preventable injuries.
Our testing also helped us to be able to show there was a change in movement patterns. Although these movement patterns improved they can easily be reversed with lack of movement and training. So it is important that we continue progressing these movement patterns.
Why don’t we change?
We don’t change what we do because we don’t know there is a relationship that exist. It is a lack of education. Most schools, systems, or universities don’t have the money to devote specialist in sports performance. We can all help by using our Orthopedic Doctors to help send a positive message to the communities and parents. The more experts we have in our corner the more influenced our audience can be.
Here some additional resources to help the education
What do we need to change in the weight room?
Start with Eccentric and Isometric Movements
Many don’t understand the importance of isometric and eccentric movements. Time under tension is important. Isometric and Eccentric movements can help increase kinetic intelligence. In other words, these movements give us time to learn to stabilize and mobilize movements where we might not be as stable or mobile. These movements also help with joint stability and mobility which helps limit injuries.
Movements and Planes of movements are important. Squatting, Lunging, Pushing, Pulling, and Rotational are all with unilateral and bilateral movements is important to improving patterns of motion.
- Squatting Pattern- Must squat (knee dominant movement) in all four directions as well as using single leg and not just both legs. Most athletic movement are all single leg or unilateral. So it makes sense to train it.
- Lunging Pattern- This is naturally a unilateral movement but a lateral lunge or crossover lunge in a karioke pattern can help put the knee in a compromised position as a part of a controlled environment. Of course it is important to know that they are capable of these movements. But one of the most important parts of training in the weight room is being able to take the chaos of competition and bring those movements to a controlled setting and improve the performance of these movements. If we do this we can limit injuries.
- Pulling with Upper and Lower Body- We must use all planes of motion. Frontal, Sagittal, Transverse are all planes of motion to make sure that are trained. By training these motions. This is one of the most unbalanced for our athletes because we sit in desk all day or go to the weight room and overtrain pushing movements which causes muscular imbalance and therefore higher risk of injury. Remember the most important part of the body has a major part in athletic movement- the spine. If we can stabilize the spine the we are going to put ourselves at risk.
- Pushing with Upper and Lower- Remember to train all motions. Overhead, Sagittal, Transverse. This one doesn’t need much attention but lack of lateral training can be a problem. Balancing these movements is critical. Our suggestion is take a day out of the week to train just one movement (example-lateral push) and design workouts for this plane of motion.
Increase Physical Literacy
Physical Literacy is the foundation of movement patterns that we all learn early in our lives. Because we, the United States, have limited Physical Education in favor of more academic subjects this has caused physically illiterate generations. Because we don’t have time to skip, gallop, sprint, jump, lunge, and squat as children it puts us behind when we get to ages that we need physical literacy patterns to compete at high levels.
So we must go back to the basics to train these skills. Just by spending 10 minutes before workouts will go a long way to increase movement efficencies and helping to limit injuries.
This video is what we have used to help athlete’s physical literacy and increase kinetic intelligence.