6 Tips to Avoid Muscle Injuries in the Weight Room

By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor

Offseason strength programs are meant to provide players with opportunities to build muscle and improve athleticism. Achieving those goals is unlikely if a player suffers a muscle injury in the gym.

Arizona State University sports performance coach Joe Connolly understands that high school coaches want to push their players hard in the offseason so that they have stronger, faster teams in the fall. However, Connolly has seen the downsides of pushing athletes too hard too fast.

He offers these eight tips for avoiding muscle injuries.

Don’t overdo it.

“You don’t have to train 17- and 18-year-old kids that hard to get a response. They’re still growing. Relative strength is the most important thing. It’s not how much you squat.”

Work on core strength in space.

“Can you do a chin-up, pull-up and hinge? Those are the things I look for. If you can show with core strength the ability to stabilize in space, you can build strength.”

Improve deficiencies.

“When we get freshmen at the college level, nine out of 10 have deficiencies. We’ll work on those things and keep it simple. Get really good at the basics.”

Don’t coach unfamiliar lifts.

“If I don’t know how to coach it, I don’t use that exercise. Each workout doesn’t have to have a squat or dead lift. If you’re not comfortable cuing up a squat, you’ll end up getting someone hurt and create bad movement patterns.”

Use body weight for resistance.

“You can do an entire workout with body weight exercises – chin-ups, pull-ups, anything with lunging or stepping, body weight squatting, hip hinging, dead lifts, or cardio. You don’t even need a barbell. Just get good at the movement patterns.”

Work the entire body.

“Any day you train, try to move every area of the body in a full range of motion. There’s a lot of talk about flexibility, but that’s relatively genetic. Mobility allows you to maintain joint integrity and stability.”


10 Benefits of Having a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC)

Summit Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Surgery board-certified surgeon Beau Sasser, M.D., offers 10 benefits of having an ATC on staff.

Convenience. ATCs are found in a variety of settings, including high schools, colleges, professional sports, youth sports, physical therapy clinics, and physician offices.

Care. ATCs are health care providers.

Training. ATCs are trained in CPR and First Aid.

Education. ATCs are required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and to have passed a national certification exam. Over 70 percent of ATCs possess a Master’s Degree or higher.

Community. ATCs are part of the sports medicine team, which is made up of a variety of health care professionals.

Safety. ATCs are leaders in concussion recognition and management.

Versatility. ATCs are responsible for the prevention, evaluation, and rehabilitation of orthopedic injuries.

Emergency response. ATCs are trained to save lives.

Do you have a thought about this article that you would like to share? If you do, email managing editor Dan Guttenplan at dguttenplan@ae-engine.com. Tweet us @fnfcoaches.