Strength or resistance training involves much more than simply going to the gym a couple times a week. To gain the most from strength training it’s crucial to understand the science behind exercise choice, dosage and planning. This is the foundation of designing a strength training program.
In fact, strength training is more about the design of the program than the exercises themselves. Recent evidence highlighting the significance of concepts such as load management and periodization emphasize this point. These concepts include progressively building your training volume and intensity, providing appropriate variety in the program and accounting for the physical profile and injury history of the patient.
The idea of strength training can make some people who’ve been previously or currently injured apprehensive. However, the risk of aggravating an injury must be balanced with the risk of staying in a deconditioned state and maintaining a higher re-injury risk. Which brings me to one of the most common questions I get asked by patients, ‘what can I do to prevent this happening again?’ Thankfully these days my answer is both simple and based on sound scientific evidence – improve your strength.
It would be wonderful if improving strength were an easy process. Though physical and mental effort is required to complete the actual strength program, it’s structure need not be complicated. With the guidance from an appropriately qualified Physiotherapist, a simple yet highly effective strength training program can be designed to progress your injury rehabilitation and reduce your injury risk.
In summary there are three main reasons you should strength train following an injury:
1. Resistance Training is a valid treatment option for musculoskeletal rehabilitation.
A recent systematic review using data from 1545 rehabilitation patients demonstrated that strength training improved outcomes in chronic low back pain, knee osteoarthritis, chronic tendinopathy and post hip replacement patients (Kristensen and Franklin-Miller, 2012. Other studies have shown that a structured resistance training program can reduce pain and improve function in neck pain (Gross, 2015), groin pain (Jensen, 2012), shoulder pain (Andersen, 2014) and also osteoporosis (Gomez-Cabello, 2012).
2. Strength training reduces sports injury risk
A recent systematic review using data from over 26000 patients showed that ‘strength training reduced sports injuries to less than a third’ and suggested that strength training may also halve overuse injuries (Lauersen et al, 2014).
3. Strength Training is easy to start
As most patients following injury are starting from a low base of fitness, strength training doesn’t need to involve large weights, squat racks, benches or sweaty mats in a gym with blaring music. In most cases to achieve an appropriate training stimulus simple bodyweight training is ideal.
IN SUMMARY, RESISTANCE TRAINING:
- is effective in treating a range of common musculoskeletal conditions
- is effective in reducing sports injury risk
- is easy to perform.
By John Contreras
APA Sports Physiotherapist, S&C Coach, Pilates Instructor
Find out more about John’s Strength & Conditioning Essentials for Physiotherapists Course