One week removed from the WTCA 2018 Conference in New York City and the energy and passion is still flowing. I keep going over the many wonderful presentations and keep jotting down many inspirational thoughts, ideas and visions. I am also going over my presentation and thought I would emphasize once again the importance of getting female athletes into the weight room. So here it goes…
As I stated in my presentation and is often highlighted in many studies and articles, women are 2 to 6 more times likely of suffering from an ACL tear. This to me is staggering and should be corrected. Yes, we can discuss everything from Q-angle to quad dominance, but in reality, these physical characteristics can be addressed in the gym.
Many of the young women that I have seen whose knees fall inward while walking, jogging or squatting have little to no experience in the gym. The answer is simple: get young women into the gym and help get them stronger. Often, the concern of body image is one of the first concerns that is brought to the forefront, not wanting to become too “big” or “bulky”. Young women must be reminded that the pictures we see of women that have changed their body for bodybuilding purposes spend an immense amount of time in the gym and take large amounts of supplements. Their results will be in line with a healthier body that will move more efficiently.
First, we must get young women to feel comfortable in the gym. It is often intimidating for anyone who has never trained to go into the workout area and start lifting weights. Creating a comfortable and safe environment will be a crucial first step towards success.
Secondly, having competent trainers that are able to assess, correct and guide young women towards correct movement patterns is paramount. A one-size-fits-all training program may have some benefit. However, creating effective training programs that will address the individual’s needs will assist them in progressing in a positive and constructive way. It is for this reason that an assessment is needed for each individual in order to determine where a weakness, lack of stability, mobility, faulty movement patterns and so forth are occurring. Once the proper program is established, focus and attention to detail are imperative in order to avoid injury. Over 70% of injuries that occur in the teenage population in the gym are due to a lack of proper supervision. Rules and regulations must be implemented for coaches and athletes.
Lastly, progression is key. Young female athletes must progress in a smart and efficient manner. It is important that we do not advance from one stage to the next without having mastered the previous one. The logical progression of the exercises will be your path to safe and effective training, resulting in success and decrease in injury.
Dean Hollingworth MTPS, CSCS