The Epidemiology of Lower Limb Injuries in Weight Training Sports

Lower Limb Injuries in Weight Training Sports

Weight or strength training is commonly integrated into most workout routines with the purpose of increasing muscular strength, building endurance and elevating muscular hypertrophy.

Popular sports such as weightlifting, powerlifting, CrossFit and bodybuilding incorporate weight training as a primary form of competing or training, with individuals from all over the world participating in these activities.

For instance, two popular exercises performed by weightlifters involves lifting of heavy weights namely, the clean and jerk and the snatch. These require the individual to raise the barbell from the floor to an overhead position, making it necessary for the athlete to have a proper form or risk injury to the lower extremities or spine.

YoungJin Moon, from the Korea Institute of Sport Science in South Korea, conducted a study to investigate in detail the types of movement entailed in weightlifting in order to better elaborate the possibility or risk of injuries.

For this purpose, the author recruited 10 subjects from the Korean elite national weightlifting team and analysed joint movements and muscle activation patterns using three-dimensional video analysis.

The author established a high possibility of re-injury to the knees in athletes with a history of knee injury, such as ACL strain, due to the reduced ability of the biceps femoris to control the forward movement of the tibia relative to the femur in the event of a strong recutus femoris activity.

Injuries across different weight training sports were explored extensively by Justin Keogh and Paul Winwood who reviewed literature on the subject and identified the following to be the most common sites of injury – the shoulder, lower back, knee, elbow and wrist/hand.

The authors also determined that sports such as weightlifting, powerlifting and strongman which are based on lifting heavier loads than opponents predispose these athletes to a higher proportion of acute-type muscle strain injuries.

Daniel John Glassbrook reviewed literature about the kinetic, kinematic and muscle activity involved during the high-bar back squat and low-bar back squat which are commonly used in strength and conditioning practices by weightlifters and powerlifters.

These exercises are implemented as a means of increasing strength in the lower limbs and require flexibility in addition to range of motion at the hip, knee and ankle joints.

The traditional high-bar back squat entails the bar being placed across the top of the trapezius to simulate the catch position of the Olympic weightlifting competition.

With the prevalence of any underlying biomechanical disturbances, the athlete’s predisposition to a number of lower extremity injuries increases which can significantly affect performance; the barbell back squat relies on the co-activation of a large number of muscles across the lower extremity kinetic chain to complete the action.

This makes it essential to address foot postural disparities that can otherwise place the athlete in a biomechanical disadvantageous position and affect the overall functioning of the lower limbs and the kinetic chain.

MASS4D® foot orthotics are customised according to the athlete’s needs and foot structure in order to provide the greatest supportive force to the feet, facilitating optimal functionality in the lower limbs and promoting favourable postural alignment.

An additional component in the form of removable fillers can be included along with the full-contact MASS4D® orthotics for protection from damage during lifting activities, thereby helping increase the durability of the orthotics and enhance athletic performance.

Related Links


  1. Keogh, J. W. L., Winwood, P. W. (2017) The Epidemiology of Injuries Across The Weight Training Sports: A Systematic Review. Sports Medicine: March 2017, Vol. 47, No. 3, pp. 479-501. doi: 10.1007/s40279-016-0575-0.
  2. Moon, Y. (2016) Evaluation of Biomechanical Movements and Injury Risk Factors in Weight Lifting (Snatch). Korean Journal of Sport Biomechanics: 2016, Vol. 26, No. 4, pp. 369-375. 
  3. Glassbrook, D. J. (2016) An Analysis of High-Bar and Low-Bar Back-Squat Techniques in Olympic Weightlifters and Powerlifters. Auckland University of Technology.

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