Sports Medicine

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 479–501 | Cite as

The Epidemiology of Injuries Across the Weight-Training Sports

Systematic Review

Abstract

Background

Weight-training sports, including weightlifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding, strongman, Highland Games, and CrossFit, are weight-training sports that have separate divisions for males and females of a variety of ages, competitive standards, and bodyweight classes. These sports may be considered dangerous because of the heavy loads commonly used in training and competition.

Objectives

Our objective was to systematically review the injury epidemiology of these weight-training sports, and, where possible, gain some insight into whether this may be affected by age, sex, competitive standard, and bodyweight class.

Methods

We performed an electronic search using PubMed, SPORTDiscus, CINAHL, and Embase for injury epidemiology studies involving competitive athletes in these weight-training sports. Eligible studies included peer-reviewed journal articles only, with no limit placed on date or language of publication. We assessed the risk of bias in all studies using an adaption of the musculoskeletal injury review method.

Results

Only five of the 20 eligible studies had a risk of bias score ≥75 %, meaning the risk of bias in these five studies was considered low. While 14 of the studies had sample sizes >100 participants, only four studies utilized a prospective design. Bodybuilding had the lowest injury rates (0.12–0.7 injuries per lifter per year; 0.24–1 injury per 1000 h), with strongman (4.5–6.1 injuries per 1000 h) and Highland Games (7.5 injuries per 1000 h) reporting the highest rates. The shoulder, lower back, knee, elbow, and wrist/hand were generally the most commonly injured anatomical locations; strains, tendinitis, and sprains were the most common injury type. Very few significant differences in any of the injury outcomes were observed as a function of age, sex, competitive standard, or bodyweight class.

Conclusion

While the majority of the research we reviewed utilized retrospective designs, the weight-training sports appear to have relatively low rates of injury compared with common team sports. Future weight-training sport injury epidemiology research needs to be improved, particularly in terms of the use of prospective designs, diagnosis of injury, and changes in risk exposure.

Supplementary material

40279_2016_575_MOESM1_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 16 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Health Sciences and MedicineBond UniversityGold CoastAustralia
  2. 2.Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ), AUT MillenniumAUT UniversityAucklandNew Zealand
  3. 3.Faculty of Science, Health, Education and EngineeringUniversity of the Sunshine CoastSippy DownsAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Sport and Recreation, School of Applied ScienceBay of Plenty PolytechnicTaurangaNew Zealand

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