Training the Industrial Athlete: Targeted Exercises to Reduce Occupational Injury Risks

Author(s): Michael Callihan, Megan Leonard

Background: Competitive athletes go through rigorous physical training to enhance their performance and to limit their risk for injury. While this is common practice in athletics, the industrial worker often does not undergo similar physical training to maintain efficiency in the work environment while limiting injury risks. This lack in physical preparation often leads to musculoskeletal injury among workers. The purpose of this review is to identify common injury patterns among workers and describe appropriate training methods to maximize the ability of the worker while limiting injury risks.

Methods: Data were reviewed from the Bureau of Labour Statistics to identify the most common body parts suffering musculoskeletal injury. After identifying the most common body parts injured, targeted literature searches were conducted to identify simple physical training activities to address these areas of interest.

Results: The most common areas for musculoskeletal injury are the back, shoulder, hand, and knees.

Discussion: In discussing musculoskeletal injury in the workplace, overexertion is often the cause. Through proper physical conditioning, the worker is able to use their muscle endurance, coordination, balance, and flexibility to limit their risk for injury.

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