Nondisruptive Muscle Strain Injury

Posted on 25 Mar 2009 14:50

By Ground Up Strength, Eric Troy

Before I begin this little explanation I want to drop a bomb on you. The majority of injuries that occur in the weight-room are not "severe". They are relatively small and manageable strains. But they can LEAD to the severe injuries when managed improperly.

It seems many "experts" are confused by how muscles act after a minor strain injury. They confuse "function" with adaptation.

While reading the last chapter of Practical Programming by Mark Rippetoe, for instance, I was absolutely floored. The author showed a complete lack of understanding of basic injury mechanisms.

You don't have to be a physiologist or M.D. to understand the common sense basics.

So let me drop another bomb on you. The body's injury mechanisms did not evolve to facilitate the lifting of heavy barbells over and over again.

The type of injuries I am referring to are known as "non-disruptive" muscle injuries. They involve a strain to muscle fibers that is just short of their failure load. The immediate adaptation that takes place after these injuries is NOT, as many would have you believe, making that tissue stronger. What happens after injuries is not the same as what happens after DOMS. The adaptation after successive exercise bouts leading to DOMS is protective in nature. You get less sore over time and the tissues can withstand more work.

The problem with nondisruptive injuries is that they fool us into believing we are "better" and can return to regular lifting activities, which often results in doing too much too soon leading to a much more dire injury.

severe muscle strain injury

Severe strains such as this are not your usual muscle strain injury and
you can almost bet there was a history of minor injuries leading up to it.1

In the first one to two days of these nondisruptive injuries there is an inflammatory response and between then and around seven days fibrous scar tissue begins to be laid down.

Immediately after the muscle is injured it is not able to produce more than 70% of maximum tension and this further declines to around 50%.

Tension production starts improving after that and by a week the muscle can produce at least 90% of normal tension. Normal tension would be that of the opposite non-injured muscle.

However, even though the muscle can produce 90% of normal tension it's tensile strength is somewhere around 75%.

The implications of this should be obvious. The muscle is capable of exerting much more force than it can withstand.

The muscle is not healed or adapted or "stronger" just because force production has returned.

Do not sit around doing nothing for months on end waiting for muscle strains to heal up. But never return to previous activity just because you "can". Taking the time to properly treat a small strain will make the difference between proper healing and continually re-occurring injury.

This page is provided by Ground Up Strength for information purposes only and should not take the place of professional medical advice. Although we have done our utmost to provide accurate and safe information, we are not medical professionals and the information on this page should not be taken as professional medical advice, or any other kind of medical advice. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Ground Up Strength and its administrators.

This page created 25 Mar 2009 14:50
Last updated 03 Jun 2016 22:58

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