Retrospective injury epidemiology of strongman athletes

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Journal Article

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Winwood, P.W., Hume, P.A., Cronin, J.B. & Keogh, J.W.L. (2014). Retrospective injury epidemiology of strongman athletes. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 28(1), 28-42.

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This study provides the first empirical evidence of strongman training and competition injury epidemiology. Strongman athletes (n=213) (mean ±SD: 31.7 ±8.8 y, 181.3 ±7.4 cm, 113.0 ±20.3 kg, 12.8 ±8.1 y general resistance training, 4.4 ±3.4 y strongman implement training) completed a self-reported 4-page 1-year retrospective survey of physical injuries that caused a missed or modified training session or competition. Analysis by age (≤ 30 and >30 y), body mass (≤ 105 and >105 kg) and competitive standard (low- and high-level) was conducted. Eighty two percent of strongman athletes reported injuries (1.6 ±1.5 training injuries/lifter/y, 0.4 ±0.7 competition injuries/lifter/y, 5.5 ±6.5 training injuries/1000 hr training). Lower back (24%), shoulder (21%), bicep (11%), knee (11%) and strains and tears of muscle (38%) and tendon (23%) were frequent. The majority of injuries (68%) were acute and were of moderate severity (47%). Strongman athletes utilized self-treatment (54%) or medical professional treatment (41%) for their injuries. There were significantly more competition injuries for the ≤30 y than the >30 y athletes (0.5 ±0.8 vs 0.3 ±0.6; p = 0.03) and >105 kg athletes compared with the ≤105 kg athletes (0.5 ±0.8 vs 0.3 ±0.6; p = 0.014). Although 54% of injuries resulted from traditional training, strongman athletes were 1.9 times more likely to sustain injury when performing strongman implement training when exposure to type of training was considered. To reduce risk of injury and improve training practices strongman athletes should monitor technique and progressions for exercises that increase risk of lower back, shoulder, bicep and knee musculoskeletal injuries. Clinicians should advise athletes that use of strongman resistance training programs can increase injury risk over traditional exercises.

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This document has been peer reviewed.