Resistance Training Can Cause Sinew Injuries

Resistance Training Can Cause Sinew Injuries

While orthopedics and general sports medicine is often highly associated with injuries related to sports, a significant amount of office visits aren’t due to a sports-related activity. Instead, many injuries seen are from using weights or exercise machines, such as those involved in resistance training programs.

You’ve heard the old adage that if a little is good, then more must be better? Well, this is the thought process commonly associated with resistance training and weight training. Improvement for this area of exercise is calculated by how much and how quickly weight can be increased. Knowing this, it shouldn’t be too surprising that the most common injury with weight training is an over-strain injury from either incorrectly exercising or too quickly increasing resistance. Then, the person is sitting in the sports medicine clinic explaining how he/she was making great strides toward their fitness goals until they just had to add that extra ten pounds.

The fundamental element of weight training is to overload the muscle, meaning that the muscle is exercising at or near it’s maximal resistance. True enough, this action can stimulate adaptations to increase the strength and size of the muscle being stressed. However, the action can also cause severe damage to tendon and muscle tissue and create an overload on the joints involved in the exercise.

Aside from the direct injury to the joints, tendons, and muscle tissue, there are also secondary considerations.

You are setting yourself up for injury when you overly develop the larger more powerful muscles groups at the expense of the smaller and less developed antagonistic and stabilizing muscle groups. Many sports injuries are shown to have been caused by unbalanced muscular development like this. A good example can be found in the tendency of many athletes and fitness professionals to overly develop their quadriceps. The quadriceps (quads) are the strong leg extensor muscles. It’s vital for them to be correctly balanced by the hamstring tendons responsible for leg flexion. By overly developing the quadriceps, they can forcefully pull the femur and tibia apart and tear the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), thereby creating an unnecessary injury and losing joint stability. Torn and pulled hamstrings are also commonly caused as the result of overdeveloping the quadriceps. The ideal exercise should be one that balances both hamstring and quadriceps with consistent and strengthening exercises.

The body is naturally balanced. Creating a muscular imbalance by overly developing one muscle group over another can also have an impact on correct posture, resulting in joint pressure and an increased risk of injury from poor body mechanics.

Weight training more often than not fails to meet fitness expectations, and can actually place fitness goals on hold while nursing an injury back to health. Any real applied strength gain is usually minimal. And, those gains are usually made at the expense of flexibility and with high rates of injury elsewhere. This type of isolation of specific muscle groups simply doesn’t produce the effortless and smooth strength that properly working the body as a coordinated and unified whole does.