It seems almost inevitable that injuries happen when we exercise or play sport, and the harder we go, the more likely we are to get injured. I'm pretty sure everyone's fairly familiar with good practices that may reduce injuries, such as warming up and cooling down, etc etc etc (Learn more about "Injury Prevention & Recovery"). However, what may be less apparent are the specific injuries people tend to get as a result of weight lifting and resistance training. A collaborative study from the USA had a look at the most common injuries lifting sustained (Quatman et al, 2009) and some of the results are quite interesting and enlightening.
Battle of the Sexes
The first striking thing that was found in the Quatman et al (2009) study was the differences in way injuries were sustained by men and women. In general, men were more likely to sustain non-accidental injuries, such as strains, sprains, and overuse. Meanwhile, women were more likely to experience accidental injuries such as those caused by improper equipment usage, dropped weights, or tripping over equipment.
Although the torso area was the most likely body part to be injured by both men and women (Figure 1, adapted from Quatman et al , 2009), men were far more likely to injure this part. The second most likely body part to be injured by women was their feet. This is consistent with the observation that women are far more likely to experience accidental injuries (that is, tripping and dropping weights). The second most injured part of men were their arms and hands, again, this is consistent with non-accidental injuries occurring as a result of overtraining and overuse.
These statistics highlight the differences in training between men and women, and the need to address these issues separately.
Training Tips for Men
Because men are more likely to injure themselves in non-accidental ways, it is important to focus education in a way so that men become more aware of their physical limitations. Generally with experience you will be able to know how much weight you can and cannot lift. However if you are a beginner, or are experimenting with new techniques/much heavier weights, it is very important that you try to find a reliable and experienced spotter. They may very well save you from a painful injury. Secondly, it is important to know when to train and when to rest. Being dedicated is important, especially for good gains, but overtraining is very detrimental to progress as well as your overall health.
Training Tips for Women
The type of injuries suffered by women that were highlighted by this study was that women generally appear to be less experienced with weight training. The authors hypothesised that this may have been the aversion some women have towards weight training. However, as discussed in our "Should Women be Scared of Gaining Muscle?", women really should have no fears about weight training and training can in fact result in very positive and physically attractive results. However, in the instance they decide to commence training, it is important for them to receive adequate supervision/education. Proper lifting technique, equipment usage, and general gym safety should be the focus points for women.
General Tips for Men & Women
Regardless of the type of injury and how it occurs, one solid conclusion is that both men and women can benefit from more education and supervision from qualified and/or experienced trainers/partners. Not only will this reduce the likelihood of injury, but it will also result in more rapid gains (Coutts et al, 2004; Mazzetti, 2000).
In Case of Injury
If you do find yourself injured as a result of weight training, please read our article titled "Weight Training Injuries", "Sports Training with a Foot Injury", and "Training with Foot Injuries". In addition, it has been shown that growth hormone can increase the rate of recovery from sports injuries (Doessing et al, 2009). Consequently finding a way to safely and naturally boosting your growth hormone production with a growth hormone supplement may be beneficial.
Coutts et al (2004), Effect of direct supervision of a strength coach on measures of muscular strength and power in young rugby league players. J Strength Cond Res, 18: 316–323
Doessing et al (2009), Growth hormone stimulates the collagen synthesis in human tendon and skeletal muscle without affecting myofibrillar protein synthesis. J Physiol, 15: 341-351
Mazzetti et al (2000), The influence of direct supervision of resistance training on strength performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 32: 1175–1184
Quatman et al (2009), Sex Differences in "Weightlifting" Injuries Presenting to United States Emergency Rooms. J Strength Cond Res. 2009 October ; 23(7): 2061–2067