The rampant abuse of the paper on injuries among weightlifters and powerlifters by Aasa et al. is emblematic of the dogmatic, blind, hive-mind-like citation of research common among “evidence-based” gymbros on the Internet.

The abuse of this literature is only equaled by the abuse of their followers and clients, to whom they promote squats and deadlifts without ample preparation or coaching, leading to countless avoidable back injuries, empty pocketbooks, and mangled bodies.

You never hear from them that Aasa, et al. mainly analyzes papers with retrospective designs. Retrospective designs are subject to recall bias, which can cause large reductions in the estimates of the variable of interest.

In this case, an incidence of powerlifting injuries of 1.0-4.4 injuries/1000 hours of training might be an underestimate. 4.4 injuries/1000 hours, the top end of the estimate range, is roughly half as high as the rate of injuries experienced by American football players, who sprint headlong into each other at full speed for a living.

If recall bias had a strong impact on this study, this 4.4 figure might be as much as double, or nearly the same level of American football players.

This is not something you hear much about this study, which explicitly warns: “most studies were of retrospective design and generally of ‘poor’ or ‘fair’ quality; the information received from this systematic review is insufficient to address the potential for prevention.”

Yet powerlifting bros love to cite this study to suggest that anyone who suggests that the very deadlifts that are constantly injuring them are unsafe or risky, despite the study authors warning against exactly that use.

Other research shows a much higher rate of injury. See Stromback et al. “Seventy percent (73/104) of participants were currently injured, and 87% (83/95) had experienced an injury within the past 12 months.”

They never cite this study. It would challenge their biases too damn hard.

What’s shocking is that powerlifters want to mainstream their injury-prone, dangerous training style. They have already partially succeeded. And they are creating a generation of young men with broken bodies.



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