DEMOREST, GA – “Adding insult to injury” is a common cliche in the English language. But it’s also the difference between proper exercise programs and unfit training for athletes worldwide. Killian McClain, a master’s student at Piedmont University and future strength and conditioning coach, presented his research regarding the relationship between conditioning and injuries at the 2021 Piedmont University Symposium.
“It’s really important to see that our profession is evidence-based, so doing this research helped reassure me that I’m doing the correct thing,” said McClain. “It was interesting to see that there wasn’t necescarily as many significant correlations that I found, which could be do to the improper programming and limited amount of programs I was able to have.”
Strength training prevents injuries and increases sports performance were the anchors that McClain based his presentation and research around. As athletes and competitors put stress on their bones and tendons, they adapt and change the anatomy of those vital systems. The transformation of these muscles can lead to imbalances within the body, directly resulting in a greater likelihood of getting injured. To prevent this unevenness, proper strength and conditioning schedules and programs are crucial. Furthermore, McClain said, Strength programming should apply to the sport, weight should rise appropriately, and muscle groups should be trained evenly.
“I was surprised that more programs didn’t have formal training plans, and those that did have plans didn’t quantify the training volume,” said Abbey Dondanville, professor of athletic training and McClain’s faculty advisor. “It’s important to track how much physical work is done to know the athletes’ acute and chronic workloads.”
Dondanville said Mclain’s research is valuable for athletes and coaches. She described that exceeding the chronic load of a workout by 15% increases the risk of injury significantly. McClain recognized this finding and performed studies on the different sports programs at Piedmont University. Tracking training helps coaches know if their programs are effective or which muscle groups need more attention.
“It is vital for sports programs to obtain a strength and conditioning program so individuals can develop as athletes and not just players at their respective sport,” says Padraig Prendergast, a Biology Major who attended McClain’s session.
Piedmont University is an increasingly growing institution; however, many of the athletic programs offered do not have strength and conditioning coaches or programs, McClain said. When schools have a program that focuses on muscle training, repetition volume can be observed to maximize the gains possessed from working out. Stronger athletes will result in better performances from the players involved, resulting in more favorable results within the games, McClain said.
McClain’s research provided valuable insight into the world of strength and condition, and he hopes the findings will catapult him into “A Division 1 institution and eventually as a head strength and conditioning coach.”