“…risk of injury in both sports were similar to other non-contact sports also requiring strength/power, but low compared to contact sports.”Injuries among weightlifters and powerlifters: a systematic review
Powerlifting and Weightlifting Injuries
Let’s face it – injuries are a part of life. Even among active people, something as simply lifting a bag of groceries can result in a muscle strain. Or a untimely trip can result in a horribly sprained ankle (or worse).
Which lead me to wonder: just how safe (or dangerous) is powerlifting and weightlifting? Are you at high risk for injury? How does your risk compare to other sports? What is the truth about powerlifting and weightlifting injuries?
Luckily, I found a scientific paper that reviews 9 studies that discussed “injury localization, the prevalence and incidence of injuries and the associated risk factors” in Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting. In short, the paper found that the “risk of injury in both sports were similar to other non-contact sports also requiring strength/power, but low compared to contact sports.”
Note, the paper discusses Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting, both of which exposes the body to tremendous forces. If you’re a “regular” athlete, your injury prevalence could be lower due to the less taxing nature of your workouts. Of course, you still should warm-up and be aware of your body position so as not to put your body in compromising positions – especially under load!
The study also looked at the types of injuries. As you could probably guess, they tended to be injuries to muscles and tendons. Cramps also made the top 3, showing the importance of proper hydration and nutrition.
While the percentages varied based on the study, many of the injuries were also acute. In shot, they required minimal rest and were not re-occurring (chronic).
The location of injuries did vary but the top five are probably the ones you’d guess. The top one? Shoulder injuries. I can definitely relate to that one. After that, low back pain was the next common. And, depending on the study, that was followed by injuries to knee, elbow, and chest.
My main take-away from the paper? That both powerlifting and weightlifting are relatively “safe” and certainly safer than contact sports such as football and wrestling. It’s even safer than track and field! So, if safety concerns held you back from lifting, you can put your mind at ease and start lifting!
If you pay proper attention to your warm-up, hydration, and form you’d be able to cut your risk even more.
Rather than reproduce the paper, I created this handy infographic that shows the powerlifting and weightlifting top injuries. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at our home page to get some ideas on basic equipment for your home gym.
Powerlifting and Weightlifting Injuries – Infographic