The New York Times published an interesting story regarding the rise of injuries linked to weightlifting (see the article below this note). As endurance athletes this piece may make you smile or even throw a comment such as: “what a bunch of idiots, come on, dropping the weights on themselves. give me a break!”
I always believed in weight training away from machines and away from the sweaty and musty gym rooms where people pay attention to their images in the mirror more so than the structure and logic of the routine. Doing some pulls up from a tree branch or an outside goal post from soccer goals, even a kid playground. The leg work will obviously come from plyometrics done on stairs or on a slight uphill. As for the back, triceps and biceps, you could decide once a year or so to emulate several former professional cycling champions who would purposely cut wood with an axe during the off-season.
For us, endurance athletes, the key remains simple: concentrate on your core and for that, the gym room does not have to be your playground.
June 18, 2010
More and more people are lifting weights these days — and sometimes dropping them where they shouldn’t.
A new study finds that from 1990 to 2007, nearly a million Americans wound up in emergency rooms with weight-training injuries, and that annual injuries increased more than 48 percent in that period.
About 82 percent of the 970,000 people injured were men, according to the study, which appeared in the April issue of The American Journal of Sports Medicine. (The researchers used data from a national injury surveillance database.) But the annual number of injuries in women increased faster — by 63 percent, compared with 46 percent among men — perhaps because weight training is growing more popular with women.
Women were more likely to injure their feet and legs, while men’s injuries were more common in the trunk and hands; men had more sprains and strains, and women had more fractures.
People were most often injured by dropping weights on themselves, crushing a body part between weights or hitting themselves with the equipment. Overexertion, muscle pulls and loss of balance accounted for about 14 percent of emergency room visits. More than 90 percent of the injuries occurred while using free weights rather than weight machines.
Under 2 percent of the injuries resulted in hospitalization, but a few were fatal: the researchers estimate that 114 deaths nationwide were related to weight training over the 18-year period.
Estimates of the number of people who use weights vary, but according to the National Sporting Goods Association, a trade group, 34.5 million people participated in weight training in 2009.
“We want people to continue to use weight training as part of their physical routine,” said a co-author of the study, Christy L. Collins, a senior research associate at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. But, she added, they “should receive proper instruction and use proper techniques for their lifts.”
“As researchers,” she went on, “we want to learn more about these injuries so that we can develop targeted preventive measures.”