All too often in the process of an athlete wanting to get bigger, faster, and stronger the focus is placed on how much weight the athlete can lift. It is not to say that strength is not important, because it is. However, the first and most important questions should be how well do I move, and do I have the ROM, strength, and proper technique to safely perform any given lift. Strength, stability, ROM and neuromuscular control are key components and a necessary foundation for athletic success and injury prevention. If any one of these components are missing, then the risk of injury is greatly multiplied and performance limited.
Lifting injuries often do no occur from one single act but rather an accumulation of stresses placed on the body from repeated faulty lifting techniques and mechanics. If left unaddressed, then the probability of injury and/or pain at some point is often inevitable. Three of the most common weight training injuries are low back pain (Herniated disc), shoulder injures (SLAP tears), and knee (patella femoral pain). The interesting thing is that often the area where the athlete is experiencing pain is not the cause for the injury but rather the victim. Poor mechanical movement, lack of neuromuscular control, and stability of any joint in a movement places unnecessary and dangerous stresses on all other related joints and muscles involved in each movement pattern. For example, knee injuries and pain will frequently be the result of poor ankle mobility and or poor glute activation. Shoulder pain is often due to poor scapular mobility, neuromuscular control, and core rotary stability issues, while back pain is a result of poor hip and hamstring mobility, as well as core stability.
Just being able to lift a lot of weight does not make an individual a better athlete. This only makes them more susceptible to injury, if a foundation of correct form, ROM and neuromuscular control, have not been established. However, when a good foundation is established in all the previously mentioned areas prior to progressing weight, the possibility for strength gains and athletic performance can be greatly enhanced.
Don’t be the next victim and miss out on part of your sports season because of an unnecessary weight training injury. Prevention is the key, and that is placing the focus on form and function before strength and power. If you have any question or concerns regarding your lifting techniques and/or possible functional limitations that need to be addressed, please contact one of the licensed professionals on the Sports Medicine team at PTSC.