Summary of a study investigating the predictors of injuries in Masters Olympic weightlifters.
976 complete data sets from Masters (aged 35 and above) Olympic weightlifters (51% females) with a median age of 48 years (Australia, Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, and the USA).
Analysis of survey data
- injuries in relation to participation in weightlifting (‘Have you ever had training restrictions due to acute injuries sustained during or while performing weightlifting?‘)
- concurrent training and sports participation
- time for specific parts of weightlifting training: warm-up, classic lifts (snatch, clean and jerk and accessories such as hang snatch or clean from blocks), strength exercises (squats, presses), additional exercises (pull-ups, core, machines, etc) and cool-down
- whether following a training-specific nutrition programme was important for their weightlifting training (ie, recovery, muscle increase).
- Common sites for weightlifting injuries:
- shoulders (35%)
- knees (26%)
- back (23%)
- wrists (21%)
- Less common injury sites:
- hips (13%)
- elbows (12%)
- ankles (2%)
- Men were almost twice as likely to sustain injuries of shoulders, back, knees or wrists than women.
- At younger ages, injuries were more likely to occur for knees and wrists.
- Chronic inflammation/osteoarthritis was present in all age groups and increased the risk at all injury locations.
- Longer time spent on supplementary exercises was associated with sustaining wrist injuries and longer time to cool-down was associated with an increased risk for shoulder injuries.
- Following their own programme was associated with knee injuries.
- Concurrent CrossFit training was associated with back injuries.
- Concurrent yoga/Pilates lowered the risk of back injuries.
- Those who believe that following a specific nutrition programme was important for their weightlifting training (i.e., recovery, muscle increase) were less likely to report a shoulder injury.
- Prior sport participation (bodybuilding, powerlifting, ball sports, gymnastics) was not associated with an injury risk sustained during weightlifting.
- Most (92%) of the respondents engaged in physical activities or had sport experience prior to starting weightlifting.
- Comorbidities increased with older ages and included:
- high blood pressure: men (26%), women (7%)
- cardiovascular disease
Take home message
Huebner M, Ma W. Health challenges and acute sports injuries restrict weightlifting training of older athletes. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine. 2022 Jun 1;8(2):e001372.