Listen, if we all knew how to get rid of our risk of an injury, I would be without a job. There is no fool-proof plan to make sure you don’t get injured. I just want to get that straight before going into this article.
Although there is no certain method to get rid of injuries there is a way to reduce your risk. Life happens, we get it. Sometimes you have to lift that heavy couch by yourself because you are too impatient to wait for help. You may be partaking in sports and I can not control what others are doing around you. If someone decides to slide tackle you because you keep hitting headers over them during your recreational league soccer match, I can’t stop that injury from happening.
But, there is a way to reduce the non-contact injuries in life and sport.
That is right, there IS A WAY!
Although it does not reduce your risk of injury to zero, it is the best thing we have. It is the most heavily researched and most widely accepted.
There is a reason why I am biased towards strength training for your injury and recovery needs. It is because strength training has also been shown to be the best method for reducing your risk of non-contact injuries.
Why strength training?
By working against resistance, there is an increase in the level of tension in our muscles and tendons. Over time, those muscles and tendons get used to the tension and adapt. The adaptation of the muscles and tendons translate into more strength. The muscles and tendon aren’t the only body parts that reap the benefits of this newfound strength. In addition to muscles and tendons becoming stronger, the new adaptive strength works to increase bone density, muscular endurance and joint stability and mobility.
Increasing the amount of strength a muscle has means each normal movement you ask it to perform will be at a lower percentage of its overall maximum. I.e.: the task at hand doesn’t seem as challenging as the first time you asked your body to perform the movement. This means it can handle more tension before it gets tired, injured and damaged. Similarly, bone is strengthened (density increases) by weight bearing activity such as lifting weights and the added tension from the pulling of the muscles on the bones.
Now, you might be thinking… “Yeah yeah, I hear you. You like lifting heavy stuff. I get it. Strength training is good for my health, but you haven’t really answered the question about how it can help prevent injury.”
How does Strength Training prevent injury?
Strength training is a very effective tool for injury prevention for a variety of reasons.
- As I just mentioned, strength training improves the strength of the muscles, tendons, and even the ligaments and bones. Stronger muscles and tendons help your muscles, tendons and joints work together better at extreme ranges in sport and daily activities.
- The bones become stronger due to the higher levels of tension placed on them during training. And the ligaments become more flexible and better at absorbing the shock applied to them during dynamic movements. Furthermore, ligaments can become thicker under more tension (ie: strength training) which is beneficial for increased load capacity.
- When an area of the body is used less during an activity it may become weak compared to other areas. This can become a problem when that area (whether a muscle, ligament, joint, or specific bone) is called into action suddenly during an activity. That area cannot handle the sudden stress placed on it and an injury occurs. Strength training can help prepare the body for all types of motions and the activities it is called to do in sport and in your daily life. So the next time you go to pick up that heavy laundry basket or when you are called on to help a friend move, you don’t tweak your shoulder or throw your back.
How do I get started on a strength training program?
New to strength training? No problem!
Don’t know where to start? No problem!
Seasoned weight lifter but don’t know how to make the leap into more progressive overload? No problem!
Have an injury that you aren’t super confident about training around? No problem!
We’ve got you covered. At Spark Performance, our team of physical therapists and trainers work together to develop training programs that are specific to you. We will meet you at YOUR starting line and work with you to achieve your training goals. It’s up to you to take the first step towards preventing injuries by calling Spark Performance today.
Also, if reducing your risk of injuries isn’t enough of a selling point for why you should be in a strength training routine, there are plenty of other benefits. Check out this article I wrote about other benefits of strength training you might find value in. And if you still have questions or aren’t sold on it, I encourage you to reach out to me directly. I’d love to answer your questions and discuss the benefits as they pertain to you and your overall health in more detail. Give me a call at 480-451-9191 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love nothing more than to chat with you about it!