Relationships Between Strength Training and Injury Prevention

author : AMSSM
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Member question from tri42

 

As I begin to ramp up my training I was wondering if there is any evidence of strength training/weight lifting for reducing injuries. I have always heard that it helps, and it certainly seems that it would be good to do. Seems I've read that it helps slow the loss of muscle mass.

I'll be 44 this week, so I would like to prevent injuries as much as possible, especially as I begin to ramp up training. I know about the 10 % rule and try to follow as much as possible.
 

Answer from Ronald W Hanson Jr, MD

Member AMSSM

Adding resistance training to your workout is an excellent idea and question. The majority of our exercise and fitness studies have occurred in the last 10 years and our understanding continues to expand quickly. Resistance training has received much less attention than aerobic training, but interest has picked up a lot in the last few years.

 

The short answer to your question is that I cannot find any studies specifically examining reduction of injuries in triathletes by adding resistance training. However, there are a lot of studies looking at performance, recovery period, strength, and decreased injuries in other sports. I believe some of these can be extrapolated to triathletes, but it will be helpful in the future to have the actual studies to say this conclusively.

Core strengthening programs have received the most attention in recent years with regard to injury prevention and improving performance. Using unstable surfaces, unilateral lifting, standing while lifting, and using free weights all help integrate the core into resistance programs. Greater core stability also may benefit performance by providing a foundation for greater force production in the extremities.

 

High intensity interval resistance training has been shown to improve VO2 Max, lactate threshold, and running performance in moderately trained athletes. Core training programs have been developed for runners (3rd reference); the information is balanced and well founded, but not validated. Overhead athletes (including swimmers) have been found to have fewer shoulder injuries when they have a stable core. Core fatigue during endurance cycling has been shown to alter mechanics that increases the risk of injury. Training can be altered based on cycle of training to increase strength and stability (suggested during season) or the endurance of the core (off-season).

More information exists with regard to rehabilitation of injury and training in beginners than in moderately trained athletes. One reference that I found indicates that moderately trained athletes may find attenuated performance using unstable surface resistance training as part of their regimen. This is overall the outlier, but does serve to remind us that we need to study core programs in specific populations of athletes to give a legitimate recommendation. Given the balance of the evidence to date, my recommendation for a triathlete at this point is a generalized core-strengthening program tailored to the type of triathlons you are currently performing. The downside is very low; the upside is big considering an injury can halt training for long periods.

Ronald W Hanson Jr, MD
Family and Sports Medicine
Quello Clinic
Burnsville, MN
 



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Esfarjani F, Laursen PB. Manipulating High Intensity Interval Training: Effects on VO2Max, the Lactate Threshold and 3000 m Running Performance in Moderately trained Males. J Sci Med Sport. 2007 Feb;10(1):27-35.


Fredericson M, Moore T. Muscular Balance, Core Stability, and Injury Prevention for Middle and Long Distance Runners. Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2005 Aug; 16(3): 669-89.


Cressey EM, West CA, Tiberio DP, Draemer WJ, Maresh CM. The Effects of Lower Body Unstable Surface Training on Markers of Athletic Performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2007 May;21(2):561-7.


Abt JP, Smokiga JM, Brick MJ, Jolly JT, Lephart SM, Fu FH. Relationship Between Cycling Mechanics and Core Stability. J Strength Cond. Res. 2007 Nov;21(4):1300-4.

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date: February 11, 2008

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AMSSM

The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

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The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

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