Strength training for injury prevention

It might sound counterintuitive to many but getting stronger and the type of training you do will have a great impact on injury prevention in different sports. Take figure skating for example. The landing after a triple axel puts 3 to 5 times the weight of the body on the landing leg.


In football, running, sprinting and charging is the most important aspect of the game. The bigger problem is the danger of external forces applied to the lower body. In other words, absorbing an impact while some of them can have career-ending consequences.


In general, the knees are the main issue. You’ll see weak VMO’s (inner part of the knee) when the knee buckle in while performing a squat or week hamstrings, also one of the main factors in knee stability. It could also come from a weak gluteus medius. And it doesn’t stop there, we often see injuries caused by a strength discrepancy. If your hamstrings don’t fire up when needed, bye-bye knees!


Essentially, muscles contract eccentrically to dissipate energy to decelerate (landing) or to store elastic energy in preparation for a concentric, often explosive, contraction (jumping). This eccentric contraction produces a tremendous amount of force despite the low energy cost. What it does is forcing the tendon to adapt to higher loads, which in turn makes it stronger and better suited to tolerate higher tension. These very adaptations may be a plus for injury prevention, but also to improve your performance.


Specific eccentric training is very hard on the joints and muscles, but if done correctly, it will do wonders. There are plenty of protocols available out there, but the simple fact of lowering the weight under control will do the job. Take a tempo of 4020, which means that you lower the weight in 4 seconds and bring the weight up in 2 seconds. A type of advanced tempo prescriptions would be to do 2 reps with a tempo of 10-0-X-0, which would make you lower a given weight in 10 seconds and explode back up. Technically, given your 1 rep max is about 100%, let’s say 100lbs max weight, you would be able to lower 130-140 pounds under control in about 10 seconds. However, this is for the well-trained individual. The more experience you have in strength training, the closer you get to this ratio. Beginners should focus on moving the weight under control with the 4020 tempo as mentioned previously.


So, gaining strength is a no brainer. Being strong and healthy will save you from being taken out of your favorite sports indefinitely.


Coach Eric

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