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Top Workout Injuries Soldier Athletes Should Know … and Avoid

Workout injuries are quite common among soldiers, especially while training for the ACFT. The ACFT (Army Combat Fitness Test), is a test that realistically assesses soldiers based on their physical and mental fitness. The training process itself is tough, significantly increasing the risk of injuries. Soldier athletes, therefore, need to be extra careful and take measures to prevent injuries when working out at a combat fitness center or a gym. 

Training at gyms is considered to be safe as athletes have the required infrastructure and a fitness expert for guidance. This reduces the risk of injuries. However, in the current pandemic situation, most Americans are highly unlikely to return to gyms even if they reopen. Check out this infographic by Rubcorp that points to this fact.

The same infographic shares that the sale of home gym equipment spiked during this period, pointing out to their commitment to stay fit. However, training without the right fitness environment can lead to injury. Each day over ten thousand people get treated in emergency rooms across the country for sports and training-related injuries. 

Here are some common workout injuries you should be aware of. 

  1. Shin Splints

Shin splints or medial tibial stress syndrome is an inflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue around the tibia (the larger bone between the knee and the ankle). High-frequency or intensity running and jumping causes tenderness, soreness, or pain along the shinbone. 

To avoid this injury, make sure you gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. Further, avoid changing training routines too often. 

  1. Knee Injury

Excessive training with heavy weights, sudden movements, and intense workouts with compromised or improper knee alignment can damage your knee extensors, thus leading to knee pain. 

Besides, ACL strain (anterior cruciate ligament tear) can also cause knee pain as it is the major ligament of the knee joint. ACL strain is common among military trainees and soldier athletes as they tend to jump and land with sudden jerks when training or playing soccer or basketball. 

Make sure you wear suitable sports shoes and avoid kneeling on hard surfaces without adequate safety gear like knee pads. Most training centers are equipped with safety rubber surfacing that is designed to reduce the risk of such injuries. 

  1. Rotator Cuff Injury

Rotator cuffs support the shoulder joint. Therefore, they often suffer injuries due to intense repetitive overhead motion with heavyweights. Overexerting this joint can cause painful shoulder injuries like dislocations, misalignment, and ligament injuries. 

Such injuries can be frustrating as they negatively affect ACFT outcomes. Including shoulder-strengthening exercises in your upper body workouts will help avoid such injuries.

  1. Lower Back Injury

Deadlifts are an indispensable part of ACFT training; yet, if you aren’t careful, you may land up with a herniated disc or intense muscle strain around the spine. This is a major cause of lower back injuries. 

Ensure proper form and gradually increase training weights to achieve the desired result without risking any injury to the lower back.

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  1. Tennis Elbow

Repetitive movements of wrists or forearms during a workout can cause the inflammation of the tendons in the elbow. This painful condition is called tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis). 

Remember to stretch and include forearm exercises in your training routine. Focus on the proper technique when working out to avoid overusing muscles in the wrong way. 

  1. Ankle Sprain

Aerobic capacity is the most important measure of a soldier’s fitness. Therefore, most soldier athletes engage in activities like running and sprinting that helps improve their aerobic capacity. However, running on uneven ground is a common cause of ankle sprains. 

Wear proper running shoes and include lower-leg muscle strengthening exercises in your fitness routine.

  1. Pectoral Strain

Excessive weight training on bench press can cause a sudden overload and strain to the muscles of arms and shoulders. Exercise precaution when training and follow your trainer’s instructions to avoid straining your pectoral muscles. 


Fitness training is important for soldier athletes, especially training for the ACFT.  It is critical to avoid the common workout injuries encountered in the process. We hope the knowledge shared in this post will help improve your muscle strength while staying safe.