Weight Room Injuries on the Rise: How to Buck the Trend

October 10, 2010

Must See Sports Injuries Videos

Recent high-profile weight room injuries have focused more attention on the importance of safe strength training. Last season's horrific incident in the USC weight room, in which running back Stafon Johnson dropped 275 pounds on his throat while benching, was by far the most publicized.  Johnson was lucky to survive, but he missed the remainder of the season after undergoing multiple throat and neck surgeries. He did not regain the ability to speak for  several months after the accident.

Johnson's injury was one of thousands that happen in high school and college weight rooms across the U.S. each year. Read the story of Reed Remington, a high school football player heading into his senior season in Ohio, who had his finger nearly ripped off while lifting weights. The gruesome injury came close to derailing the 6'4", 245-lb. defensive end's hopes for a scholarship from courting schools such as North Carolina, Purdue and Northwestern.

According to the American Journal of Sports Medicine, the incidence of weight room injuries has increased 48.4 percent in recent years. More than 90 percent of these injuries involved the use of free weights, with dropped weights crushing body parts being the major cause. Most alarming was the fact that the highest incidence of injury was among people between 13 and 18 years of age.

While injuries  on the field are sometimes unavoidable, you have complete control over preventing injuries in the weight room. Follow the rules below, and you'll never lose playing time with an injury that could have been prevented.

Always Use a Spotter. If one is unavailable, avoid lifts in which the weight is above any part of your body. For instance, replace Barbell Squats with Dumbbell Squats (DBs at sides), Bench Press with Physioball Push-Ups (feet on ball) and Shoulder Press with Dumbbell Shoulder Raises. Pull-Ups, Dips and other bodyweight exercises are also great options when a spotter is not around.

Use Perfect Form. If you are unable to perform a complete set with perfect form, the weight is too heavy. Proper form not only ensures your muscles are benefiting optimally from a lift, it also protects bones, ligaments and tendons from taking the brunt of the force. Control the weight throughout the entire range of motion, avoiding any use of momentum.

Pay Attention. Always maintain 100 percent focus when lifting, spotting or even standing in a weight room. It is a workplace, not a social chat room. One second of distraction can result in loss of balance or control of the weight.

Use Clips. Plates sliding toward one end of the bar during barbell exercises is one of the most common causes of dumped weights.

Keep it Clean. Always put away weight plates and dumbbells immediately after using them. Do not drop the dumbbells when your set is complete. Heavy weight + rubber floor can = unexpected bounces or rolling weights, which have broken plenty of toes, foot bones and ankles. If you can't handle the weight with control after a set, it's too heavy for you. The set doesn't end until the dumbbells are racked.

Sources:  cleveland.com, ajs.sagepub.com
Photo:  thegreatfitnessexperiment.blogspot.com

Josh Staph
- Josh Staph is the Senior Vice President, Content at STACK Media and joined the company shortly after it was founded in 2005. He graduated from...
Josh Staph
- Josh Staph is the Senior Vice President, Content at STACK Media and joined the company shortly after it was founded in 2005. He graduated from...

Featured Videos

Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Views: 588,664
Learn to Hit Open Three-Pointers With Damian Lillard's Baseline Drift Drill Learn to Hit Open Three-Pointers With Damian Lillard's Baseline Drift Drill Views: 241,761
Elite Performance With Mike Boyle: Teach Any Athlete How To Squat Properly Elite Performance With Mike Boyle: Teach Any Athlete How To Squat Properly Views: 284,490
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,920,844
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,151,981
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,164
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,099,366
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,009,040

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
6 Stretches to Alleviate Lower-Back Pain

6 Stretches to Alleviate Lower-Back Pain

6 Stretches to help alleviate your low back pain Hamstring When your hamstrings aren't firing properly, your low back muscles will compensate and put...

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

Dry Needling: Powerful, Drug-Free Pain Relief for Athletes

Dry Needling: Powerful, Drug-Free Pain Relief for Athletes

Sports Hernias: What You Need to Know

Sports Hernias: What You Need to Know

How to Train With Running Blisters

How to Train With Running Blisters

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

STUDY: Imaginary Exercise Helps You Recover Faster From Injury

STUDY: Imaginary Exercise Helps You Recover Faster From Injury

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

Reducing Low-Back Pain: What You Need to Know

Reducing Low-Back Pain: What You Need to Know

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

STUDY: Female Athletes Are at Higher Risk of Overuse Injuries

STUDY: Female Athletes Are at Higher Risk of Overuse Injuries

4 Tips to Relieve Muscle Stiffness

4 Tips to Relieve Muscle Stiffness

Fix 3 Common Ankle Problems to Prevent Injury

Fix 3 Common Ankle Problems to Prevent Injury

Avoid ACL Injuries in Softball with PREP

Avoid ACL Injuries in Softball with PREP

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

3 Steps to Prevent Soccer ACL Injuries

3 Steps to Prevent Soccer ACL Injuries

Megan Rapinoe’s Secret to Staying Healthy

Megan Rapinoe's Secret to Staying Healthy

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

Preventing ACL Injuries in Soccer Players

Preventing ACL Injuries in Soccer Players

How to Prevent Hamstring Injuries

How to Prevent Hamstring Injuries

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

How to Prevent In-Season Volleyball Injuries

How to Prevent In-Season Volleyball Injuries

3 Steps to Alleviate a Sore Neck

3 Steps to Alleviate a Sore Neck

What’s With the Stethoscope? Heart Murmurs in Athletes

What's With the Stethoscope? Heart Murmurs in Athletes

Why Tommy John Surgery Is Ruining Pitchers

Why Tommy John Surgery Is Ruining Pitchers

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

YardBarker