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  • Injury Risks

    Dear Coaches,

    I had some random semi connected questions that I wanted to fire away and hope make sense.

    1. I have seen several Barbell Medicine coaches warn about the injury risks related to high specificity training and I wanted to know what high specificity actually means. For example, would it be considered high specificity if someone's training over 2-3 months included:
    1. Performing low bar squats at high volumes, several times per week but also performing several other variations of lower body exercises
    2. Performing low bar squats 2-3 times per week without any variations
    3. Performing low bar squats once per week without any variations
    Also, when it is said that high specificity increases chances of injury, what severity is implied? Is it an injury that keeps someone away from training for several days, weeks, or, months?

    2. I have also seen warnings about consistently training at high intensities and high fatigue levels and I know BBM coaches are fans of training further away from failure. But would it not increase the risk of injury if someone was not used to performing singles at RPE 10/11 (RPE 11 meaning failing a single) and "maxed out" only once or twice a year? Would it not be better to expose yourself to failure or singles at RPE 10/11 more frequently? Also, aren't there some training benefits to performing singles at RPE 10/11 like the ones Mike T's been pointing out on his Instagram lately?

    3. Are you not concerned that pointing out the relationship between certain factors such as sleep, fatigue, high specificity, etc., and injury, increases the chance of nocebo, even if the advice is based on evidence?

    Thanks.

  • #2
    VK18,

    1) Depends what the entire program looks like and for whom
    2) Yes
    3) Yes, by definition.

    Specificity is one modifiable risk factor of programming relating to injury risk, performance, etc. and it, like others, cannot be looked at in isolation.

    The rest of your questions have been answered several times so I'll be brief in my reply here:

    Also, when it is said that high specificity increases chances of injury, what severity is implied? Is it an injury that keeps someone away from training for several days, weeks, or, months?
    This depends on the sport. In RT, most injuries last < 2 weeks, whereas in some team sports we'd be looking at months.

    I have also seen warnings about consistently training at high intensities and high fatigue levels and I know BBM coaches are fans of training further away from failure. But would it not increase the risk of injury if someone was not used to performing singles at RPE 10/11 (RPE 11 meaning failing a single) and "maxed out" only once or twice a year? Would it not be better to expose yourself to failure or singles at RPE 10/11 more frequently? Also, aren't there some training benefits to performing singles at RPE 10/11 like the ones Mike T's been pointing out on his Instagram lately?
    We have repeatedly said that for individuals who are competing in barbell sports, some exposure to high intensities is likely beneficial.

    Training to failure for strength does not seem to be advantageous for strength development, fatigue management, injury risk, etc. 10/10 would not recommend.

    I write about this extensively in the new programming book if you'd like to know more.


    3. Are you not concerned that pointing out the relationship between certain factors such as sleep, fatigue, high specificity, etc., and injury, increases the chance of nocebo, even if the advice is based on evidence?
    Not at all, particularly with careful use of language. Pointing out that some substances have addictive properties does not increase their risk of addition, though knowledge of this property may reduce the risk of individuals engaging in behaviors contributing to addiction.



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