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Could Strength Training Help Prevent Concussions?

Could Strength Training Help Prevent Concussions?

That is the title of Chris Beardsley’s now post.

Chris who?

He’s the dude that trawls through the sports science research and gives an independent review of what he finds.

You should check out his site, which I’ll be sending you to shortly.

But this particular post is of particular interest to a particular segment of my clientèle.

Namely my combat athletes. But also my Mountain Bikers and field sports guys.

Concussions are a very real thing and a very dangerous thing if ignored.

You’d have to have been living under a rock to not have heard about the Portuguese MMA fighter who recently died following a TKO stoppage in Dublin.

While the exact cause of the fighters death remains to be seen, it’s a fair assumption to think a concussion was present.

So when a review of the research behind using strength training to prevent concussions comes up, I’m very interested.

Here’s the link if you’d like a read, I recommend it. Click below, have a read, then come back:

Good article eh?

It suggests that direct neck work MAY reduce the risks.



Notice one point that he makes throughout the article.

He mentions several times that the strength is only useful IF the athlete can use it.

Being stronger and having more muscle mass is no use unless the athlete is trained in how to use it.

Which is why in his conclusions he recommends a movement based practice combined with the strength work.

Which if you’re familiar with my work is how I like people the train anyhow. Strength and muscle mass by itself is useless, and to steal a quote from legendary Sprint & Hurdle coach Gary Winkler:

“I have squatted some really good athletes in to mediocre athletes.”

In other words simply chasing strength at the cost of all else is a great way to become mediocre.

But to develop reflexive strength, well that’s a whole different kettle of fish.

It’s essentially what Gary Ward advocates with his Anatomy in Motion method of viewing the body and movement.

Two of his guiding principles are:

Joints Act, Muscles React


Muscles Lengthen Before They Contract

Both of which combine to say that in motion, the muscles contract in response to being stretched by a a joint action.

And getting punched in the head is going to give a fairly significant joint action.

So can we use strength training to develop the neck musculature?


Can we use Anatomy in Motion type methods to create muscles that fire reflexively in a manner that decelerates head motion and potentially reduces the concussive effects of that motion?

Hopefully is the best answer we can offer.

But Chris’s research review shows that we’re on the right lines.


Dave Hedges

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