BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE
Although it is well known in the sports world that exercise and training for sport is extremely important, the degree to which various components of a training program contribute to injury prevention is not as well understood. Several studies have implicated strength training and multicomponent interventions as more effective for preventing injury than proprioception and stretching as standalone interventions. This review aimed to take a closer look at sports injury prevention via strength training.
Six studies were used in this meta-analysis: all with the common thread of being randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of strength training-based injury prevention programs. Exclusion criteria included studies with multivariable interventions (more than just strength training), inadequate design of control arms, studies with previous injury groups or specific injury focuses, and the use of any devices: tape, orthoses, braces, etc. Inclusion criteria included RCTs, injury free groups, strength training intervention, and adequate follow up periods.
The six studies used in the meta-analysis included 7739 participants aged 12-40 with 177 observed injuries. Four studies analyzed acute outcomes, one analyzed an overuse outcome, and one analyzed all injuries. Three of the studies compared pre-season hamstring strengthening programs with the aim of preventing acute hamstring injuries. The fourth study introduced a 14-week program with four daily squat and lunge pattern exercises with the goal of preventing anterior knee pain in military recruits. The fifth study applied a 20 minute, whole season intervention to reduce ACL injuries. Finally, the sixth study looked at the effects of a resistance training intervention and time lost due to injury in 13-14 year old soccer players.
The strength training programs as a whole reduced the likelihood of injury by 66%, with 95% certainty. The programs had an average of 8 months of intervention with zero adverse events reported. Interestingly, the program with the shortest intervention time