Strength Conditioning and its Role in the Prevention of Injury

Repetitive motion strain injuries are directly related to the force acting on the muscle and indirectly related to the strength of that particular muscle. Holding a 5-pound weight in the hand with the arm flexed would eventually fatigue the bicep musculature and would lead to pain in the upper arm. A strength training routine geared towards performing this particular task would allow an individual to hold the 5-pound weight for a longer time period before fatigue and pain ensues.

A typical businessperson spends most of the day sitting at a desk with shoulders slumped. A sedentary business person who does not incorporate weight training into his or her lifestyle is more at risk for neck and upper-back pain than those who do train.

Chiropractors, dentists, and other professionals work in standing, bent-over postures, causing repetitive strain to their low-back musculature. Sitting in a chair in a slouched posture also causes prolonged stress to the lumbar region.

Dr. Dubin incorporates weight training, flexibility training, and ergonomics into his lifestyle to prevent work-related and sport-related injuries. A periodized weight-training schedule for an athlete is an effective method to gradually increase muscular endurance, strength, and power to achieve peak levels of fitness for the most important competitions and limit the risk of injury. A mesocycle consists of a hypertrophy, strength, and power phase.

For business people who are not athletes, the hypertrophy phase and the strength phase are effective means to train for the stresses of their job, and can be done in any gym. The power phase can be omitted from their periodization routine because these explosive lifting techniques increase risk of injury.

Two weeks should be set aside for you to become familiar with the gym’s equipment and to decide which exercises you want in your routine. For each exercise, figure out the appropriate weight resistance; this is the weight at which you can do the exercises no more than 10x for one set (10RM). Once this 10RM is calculated, you can plug it into the hypertrophy/endurance phase calculations to figure out what weights should be used each progressive week. In the strength phase, you can find out what you can do maximally 5x for one set (5RM) or you can extrapolate off of a periodization graph using your 10RM to figure out your 5RM.

The unloading phases are important for allowing your body to recuperate for the next phase of strength training.

Dr. Dubin uses a three-day-a-week lifting routine, combining pushing with pulling exercises: Bench and Biceps, Back and Triceps, Legs and Shoulders. Each routine takes approximately one hour to complete. After completing a mesocycle, change the exercises to make the workout more interesting and work different muscle fibers.

Before beginning each routine, a 5-10 minute warm-up on a treadmill or a stationary bike is recommended to decrease risk of injury. Stretching should be conducted after the workout when the muscles are warmed up. Also, note that some studies have shown that a post-workout carbohydrate and protein meal/supplement helps the body to replenish glycogen stores and recover faster if taken within 1 hour after the workout.

Note: Consult with an experienced trainer before starting this program! A trainer will teach you proper lifting technique and instruct on use of the available gym equipment. Always visit your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

To help clarify the above information we have included the following additional examples: