How Strengthening Exercises Help Prevent Injuries

Senior woman strength training

Unloading Stress Helps Prevent Injuries

One of the major causes of injuries is overtaxing and overworking muscles. Even the fittest athletes can end up injured due to overworking a particular muscle. This isn’t always due to overtraining either. Many times it can be due to undertraining, improper training, or – more precisely – not strengthening the right muscles. The body’s tissues, joints, and ligaments have only a limited capacity to handle stress and work. Once that limit is reached, they start to fatigue. This means everything is working against you. Increasing the limits of loadbearing and stress capacity will help decrease injury risk and increase performance. Building a strong foundation for your muscles supports the joints, tendons, and bones.

Strengthening helps in range of motion and mobility, increasing efficiency and performance as well as reducing fatigue and any chance of injury.

Many times, it’s hard to spot the weak muscles and how they affect certain areas of your body. For example, many people who experience knee pain have weak hips and core which is contributing to the pain. Targeting the hip and core muscles helps support the knee joint, which helps in reducing pain and risk of injury. However, it’s hard to determine what muscles are weak and what areas that weakness is affecting. This is why seeking a physical therapist who is trained in the science of better movement and biomechanics can spot weaknesses and problems.

Strengthening Improves Muscle Function

When muscles are weak and stiff, they do not function at their optimal ability. This means possible joint slippage, misalignment issues, and imbalances – all of which heighten the risk of injury and pain. Targeted strengthening exercises, on the other hand, ensure the body is working the way it should and for your benefit. For example, as with the knees, when your hips are weak, your knees may bend at the wrong angles causing pain and possible injury. Strong hips, however, keep the knees aligned and at the proper angles to reduce pain and injury.

This is even truer when it comes to the core – the foundation and powerhouse of your body. Back pain, pelvic and hip pain, and even shoulder and neck pain is linked to a weak core. Strengthening your core not only helps with proper movement and alignment but which limits the risk of injury. It also helps with stability and balance, which can decrease your risk of falls.

Building Muscle Can Reduce Sports Injuries

Past studies show that competitive and recreational athletes reduce their risk of injury by doing targeted strengthening exercises. In the study, researchers found that resistance training – or strength training – promoted strengthening growth in ligaments, tendons, bones, cartilage, and connective tissue. Some of the most common sports injuries are to the ligaments and tendons surrounding joints. Strengthening the right muscles through the right kind of exercise can decrease risk and even improve performance, as researchers found.

Strength Training Needs To Be Targeted And Specific

To achieve the desired effects of strength training when it comes to injury prevention and pain management, strength training needs to be targeted. Moreover, it needs to be specific, done regularly, and done properly. These elements of strength and resistance training are essential if your goal is to prevent injuries and increase your performance level.

But, how do you know you’re doing the right exercises?

This is where it gets tricky, because the answer isn’t always obvious, especially to the untrained eye. Someone who is trained in spotting weaknesses and determining where those weaknesses are stemming from is the only way to properly do strengthening exercises to prevent injuries. A physical therapist and an athletic trainer are the best equipped to do this. You could probably get away with doing basic strengthening exercises. However, without accuracy and understanding exactly what’s going on, you may be working against yourself instead of increasing your abilities.