Progressive resistance strength training and the related injuries in older adults: the susceptibility of the shoulder

Abstract

The benefits of progressive resistance training (PRT) among the older adults are evident, especially in the prevention of sarcopenia and improving muscle strength, which reverse the age-related loss of functional ability. However, PRT carries some risk, particularly when participants are older adults with a certain degree of muscle weakness. The purpose of this article is to discuss the PRT-related injuries, and present an overview of documented shoulder injuries among the elderly, discerning possible mechanisms of injury and risk factors. A literature search was conducted in the PUBMED database to identify the relevant literature using combinations of keywords: strength-training injuries, resistance-training injuries, sports injuries in the elderly, shoulder complex, shoulder injury, and shoulder disorder. Acute and chronic injuries attributed to PRT have been cited in the epidemiological literature. The shoulder complex, has been alluded to as one of the most prevalent regions of injury, particularly in exercises that place the arm extended above the head and posterior to the trunk. However, the risk for injuries appears to be higher for testing than for training itself. One-repetition maximum strength testing may result in a greater injury risk. This technique, though acceptable, needs additional precautions in inexperience older adults to prevent injury. Thus, the best treatment for PRT age-related injuries is prevention. Appropriate and individualized training programs, the use of safe equipment, careful warming up and cooling down, correct range of motion, progressive intensity training, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal fitness are essential aspects of injury prevention among the elderly.

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On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Nelson Sousa.

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Sousa, N., Mendes, R., Monteiro, G. et al. Progressive resistance strength training and the related injuries in older adults: the susceptibility of the shoulder. Aging Clin Exp Res 26, 235–240 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40520-013-0157-z

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Keywords

  • Aging
  • Older adults
  • Resistance training
  • Shoulder pain
  • Shoulder disorders
  • Sport injuries