The seminar “Analysis of Olympic Weightlifting for Clinicians” was born out of a need to bridge the gap between weightlifters and practitioners, leading to better patient outcomes. This article explores some of the research behind it.
Participation Rates in Weightlifting
Participation rates in recreational, club and competitive weightlifting have dramatically increased over the years.
Recreational weightlifting was analysed by looking at participation rates in fitness centres and gyms, which provide space and equipment for its members for weightlifting exercises. Participation has grown exponentially over the years from 12.6% to 17.4% (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012). Directly following this rise, has been an increase in participation in weightlifting within these centres (from 15% in 2005 to 21% in 2014) (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012; Fitness Australia, 2016). Even major fitness chains are investing millions of dollars in refurbishing their facilities to provide more space and equipment for recreational weightlifting (Fitness First Australia, 2018).
At club and competitive level, weightlifting has also skyrocketed. Data from the Australian Weightlifting Federation has shown the number of weightlifting clubs has grown from 42 in 2011 to 146 in 2015 alone (Australian Weightlifting Federation, 2011, Australian Weightlifting Federation, 2015). Huge rises in the number of competitive athletes in both the male and female divisions (in all age groups) have occurred as well, with the women’s competition roster going from 174 to 423 in just a few years (Australian Weightlifting Federation, 2019).
A similar trend in worldwide participation rates in weightlifting have also been seen at club, national and international level (International Weightlifting Federation, 2018; USA Weightlifting, 2019).
Injury Rates: Incidence & Prevalence
A systematic review and meta-analysis reported 2.4-3.3 injuries per 1000 hours of training in Olympic weightlifters, with similar reporting at 2 and 6 years (Aasa, Svartholm, Andersson & Berglund, 2016; Calhoon & Fry, 1999; Raske & Norlin, 2002).
Coupling the rise in participation rates in weightlifting along with the data on injury prevalence rates, it would seem logical to foresee clinicians of all backgrounds seeing higher rates of injured lifters within their community. Proof of this logic already exists at the Olympic Games (Athanasopoulos et al., 2007; Grant et al., 2014; Junge et al., 2009; Soligard et al., 2017).
So How Do We Assess Weightlifters?
First, we must understand the various phases of the lifts in order to assess when an error has occurred and in which phase it happened (refer Figure 1). Each phase has key definitions.
Secondly, we must understand the correct biomechanics associated with each phase. This requires extensive detail on lifting physics, typical joint ranges and muscle activity and much more.
Through understanding the various phases and knowing what “should” occur it allows a clinician to observe errors in such biomechanics that may be relevant to injury and/or sub-optimal performance.
Making the Complex – Simple
Whilst the process of assessing a lifter seems simple enough, its often unknown, poorly applied or lacks a systematic process to be consistently effective. Informal evidence suggests this may lead to poorer outcomes for injured competitive lifters (Lustig, 2019).
BHSc. Clin. Myo.
Want to learn more?
If you’re a clinician and wanting to learn more on this topic, I’m running “Analysis of Olympic Weightlifting for Clinicians” with very limited numbers.
This will give you the exact steps I use to accurately assess injured lifters (from recreational to elite level) who use the Olympic lifts in their program.
Sat Feb 27th from 1:30pm – 3pm
Sun Feb 28th from 1:30pm – 3pm
Who is this for?
Clinicians of all backgrounds including: physiotherapy, osteopathy, myotherapy, chiropractic, exercise physiology. S&C and PTs are more than welcome.
This course is approved by Myotherapy Australia for 1.5 PD points for all registered Myotherapy practitioners. Certificate of completion with PD points provided to all attendees.