Int J Sports Med 2011; 32(9): 703-711
DOI: 10.1055/s-0031-1277207
Orthopedics & Biomechanics

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Injuries and Overuse Syndromes in Powerlifting

J. Siewe1 , J. Rudat1 , M. Röllinghoff2 , U. J. Schlegel3 , P. Eysel1 , J. W.-P. Michael1
  • 1University of Cologne, Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, Cologne, Germany
  • 2University of Halle, Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, Halle, Germany
  • 3University of Heidelberg, Department of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, Heidelberg, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
17 May 2011 (online)


Powerlifting is a discipline of competitive weightlifting. To date, no investigations have focused on pain encountered during routine training. The aim of the study was to identify such pain, assign it to particular exercises and assess the data regarding injuries as well as the influence of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Data of 245 competitive and elite powerlifters was collected by questionnaire. Information regarding current workout routines and retrospective injury data was collected. Study subjects were selected from 97 incorporated powerlifting clubs. A percentage of 43.3% of powerlifters complained of problems during routine workouts. Injury rate was calculated as 0.3 injuries per lifter per year (1 000 h of training=1 injury). There was no evidence that intrinsic or extrinsic factors affected this rate. Most commonly injured body regions were the shoulder, lower back and the knee. The use of weight belts increased the injury rate of the lumbar spine. Rate of injury to the upper extremities was significantly increased based on age >40 years (shoulder/p=0.003, elbow/p=0.003, hand+wrist/p=0.024) and female gender (hand+wrist/p=0.045). The daily workout of a large proportion of powerlifters is affected by disorders which do not require an interruption of training. The injury rate is low compared to other sports.


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Dr. Jan Siewe

University of Cologne

Department of Orthopaedic

and Trauma Surgery

Kerpener Straße 62

50937 Cologne


Phone: +49/163/782 63 07

Fax: +49/221/478 70 45