Injury comparison by program Injury comparison by program

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Thread: Injury comparison by program

  1. #1
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    Question Injury comparison by program

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    Brief intro, first time posting here:
    52 year old ex LSU defensive back, been lifting all my life. In the past have done HIT, Mentzer, Nautilus, IART, a bit of Hatfield programs. Ran a Nautilus gym back in the day, found SS last year, got the book and DVD, been having a ball. Redoing power cleans after 34 years brings back many memories.


    Please do not think of this post as an attempt at being inflammatory, but an honest question of safety and longevity. I hope it comes across that way.

    Since having to answer this question to several folks of all ages recently, I thought it best to get the facts straight from the coaches on this board. This is not in reference to younger folks, but us older guys and gals.

    Let's say our subject is an out of shape, 45 year old male. After 5 years, now at 50, he has a 500 lb deadlift, 400 squat, 300 bench, 200 press. All good. But what price did it come at? SuperSlow and their gang say he will have zero injuries on their protocol and equipment. I have seen it and agree, their injury rates are pretty much zero. For HIT, depends on who you ask. In the Hatfield, Weider, et al camp, my guess is the guy is torn to shreds and probably cannot lift anymore.

    What say ye of SS? I have found in the manual references to "a life time of heavy benching is hard on the shoulders" and "even if you do everything right you still can get hurt", etc. And we are not talking about competitive lifting, but just SS workouts done to protocol. Would you "expect" there to be injuries, acute or chronic? Or is the expectation that if done correctly this older guy should be injury free?

    Thanks for all input.

  2. #2
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    Depends, as always on how heavy you train, and this depends on whether you decide to compete. Heavy is dangerous, but light is no fun.

  3. #3
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    Hello,

    I would like to share my experience about this.
    I started SS at 40, when I was around 74Kg (1.82m tall. That's around 160Lbs and 6ft in Imperial units). The first 12/15 months were quite bad from the injury point of view. I pulled the gracilis in my left leg three times, the first after less than a month of SS. Then I snapped something in my back after seven months, while doing a 275x5 deadlift. After that I had a few months of respite, but then I pulled twice my vastus medialis in the space of a month and a half.

    At that point I took a holiday, and went back training after almost a month.

    Since then, nothing major at all. I might get the odd tweak in the back every now and then, but it goes away with some tennis ball rolling in a couple of days, tops.
    I've done TM, then 5/3/1, and now I follow a program given to me by a competent friend, who is a certified coach with the Italian Weightlifting Federation.
    I am now around 93Kg; my lifts still suck (apart from the Power Clean), but I haven't missed a session due to injury for a long time, and that makes me happy.

    Why did I get injured so much at the beginning? I can offer some ideas:

    - bad technique. I train alone, I learned how to do the lifts by asking people to watch my videos (and reading the book, of course).

    - hurried recovery after each injury. I tried the Bill Starr protocol, which worked very well, but I Always added something to it, and I think I didn't give my body the time to properly recover. You can probably get away with it at 20, but not at 40.

    - No rest periods. Especially during TM, I cut the easy workout because of time constraints. And I never took a week off, or did a deload period. I still am not clear about how and when to do it, but now there is someone to tell me, and it's much better. Anyway, deloading every now and then is important.

    Why don't I get injuries now? Again, I think it's down to technique and better periodisation.
    My technique is better, which takes away a source of potential problems. And thanks to this friend of mine, my training is better organised in terms of volume/intensity/recovery periods.
    Also, experience means I know my body and its reactions better, so I know when to push, and when to ease off a bit.

    Last but not least: four and half years after starting to lift, and I have no chronic injuries at all.

    I hope this helps, and apologies for the long post.

    IPB

  4. #4
    Brodie Butland is offline Starting Strength Coach
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    Quote Originally Posted by k_dean_curtis View Post
    "even if you do everything right you still can get hurt", etc.
    This is true of everything in life--it's not unique to lifting heavy. Of all the people over 40 that I know (Rip excepted), only two have been seriously injured because of weight training--both were on a Smith machine squatting less than 200 lbs. But there are far more who were injured doing non-weight related things--primarily basketball, but also biking, walking, sleeping, and ping pong, among others.

    So, yeah...if you do serious weight training, there's a possibility that you'll get hurt. And this possibility increases if you go heavy, rather than go through the motions. Like all things in life, it's a cost-benefit analysis that you have to make for yourself.

  5. #5
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    Fewer injuries sitting on the couch. More diabeetus though. A 34 year hiatus doesn't sound like a lifetime of heavy lifting.

  6. #6
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    Getting out of bed in the morning increases injury potential. We all know this. I think the ultimate question is about the risk/reward ratio.

    I’m just a bit younger than the age group the OP references, but not by much. I was introduced to strength training via the bodybuilding mindset of the early 90s. I predominantly followed this philosophy for almost a decade, dabbling in Super Slow, endurance training, and a few other oddities throughout. I also dabbled in Crossfit and Wendler’s 5/3/1, but for the most part over the past 5 years have followed either SS or a similar strength based program.

    I’ve received injuries from all methods. In my experience, endurance training causes the most problems – runners are the most injured athletes I know. Bodybuilding-style programs ultimately seem to break down individuals, likely because the followers try to complete too many exercises without knowing how to do half of them correctly. Crossfit has enough anecdotal injury news to write a book and I’ve seen plenty firsthand, but I think common sense would tell anyone that watches Crossfit videos that it is not an intelligent long-term approach to exercise. Super Slow provides low risk, but in my experience (including observing others on the program), little reward. Additionally, severe boredom tends to set in quite quickly with Super Slow. Oddly enough, the most severe injury I experienced came while squatting with the SS program. Despite this, I believe that the SS and subsequent TM programs offer the least likelihood of injury for two reasons – program simplicity and a true focus on technique. These programs also offer extremely high rewards. The strength gains are obvious, but there are also huge psychological benefits to witnessing strength gains every time the athlete steps into the gym.

    With the OP’s example scenario, my estimate is that after 5 years of heavy strength training to achieve a 500 lb. deadlift and 400 lb. squat, the 50-year old male will have worked through some nagging injuries over the 5-year span. However, with a little intelligent self-therapy (roller, lacrosse balls, stretching, etc.) he should be able to avoid anything too severe. I would bet my annual salary that the 500 lb. deadlift could not be achieved via Super Slow, Crossfit, or following Lee Labrada’s program from the August issue of M&F.

    To finalize my opinion, expectations of an “injury free” 50-year old seem a bit optimistic for various reasons (age, standing next to an idiot with a kettlebell, etc.). Nagging injuries will pop up from time to time with any consistent activity, however, I don’t believe any chronic injuries should be expected if the person trains intelligently and incorporates a few preventative steps. I absolutely believe that SS will provide the most performance increases, so the risk/reward ratio leans heavily to using the SS model.

    Just my two cents.

  7. #7
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    Coah Rip,
    Wow, my first post and got a reply from you, I must be living right!

    sbhikes,
    34 years since I power cleaned, have never taken more than 2 weeks off lifting in my life.

    All,
    Very good input, thanks a bunch. As I mentioned in the example scenario, the question was no competition, just training. But points taken, the higher you go, the more chance of injury. And one can get hurt just getting out of bed, or playing ping pong. And breaks are critical. As is perfect form. That is probably the one thing that most drew me to SS, the emphasis on proper form.

    I do a form of "old man LP SS", 3 sets of 5 but only 3 exercises a week.

  8. #8
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    I'm also a little younger than what the op was referencing (30), but I've had my share of acute and chronic injuries. Almost all were and are lifting related. Granted, I've been going to the gym for 6+ years, so I've had plenty of opportunities to mess myself up. The paradox of training for me is, that in order to get stronger and bigger, you have to lift heavier weights than before. And you have to use good form, so you don't get injured. But you have no idea what will happen to your form, when you attempt a weight that you haven't done before.

    So basically what this means is that after a certain point, you have to risk injury in order to make progress. Right now I can't squat at all due to messed up knees, and while I can do deadlifts, almost all of my strength is gone after I hurt my back 3 weeks ago. My right shoulder is also messed up somehow, but it doesn't limit me in any way, just hurts from time to time.

    I've been doing pretty much random exercise after my back injury, and it's actually fun. Doesn't hurt and I still get to "train". Thankfully, lifting heavy all the time isn't the only way to make progress. Granted, it's probably the most reliable though: you know you're getting stronger when the weight is moving up. But banging your head against the wall even when the injuries are starting to pile up gets old. Of course, I'll never compete in any strengh sports, so the point of view regarding injuries is probably gonna be different for someone with a competitive background.

  9. #9
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    I tore a meniscus putting on pants (!) at age 21. I've thrown out my lower back sneezing. I've also torn a hamstring tendon and re-injured my knee, lower back, and upper back while doing yoga. Don't get me started on shin splints. You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't, so might as well be strong.

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    Can an admin please invent, and then give to Tobo, an award for most (unintentionally?) hilarious posts of 2013?

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