by Matt Weik
There are quite a few people out there who assume that bodybuilding, due to the anabolics and heavy lifting, would be more dangerous than other professional sports. In this article, I want us to think about a few different factors that would prove bodybuilding is not any more dangerous than other professional sports.
I know there will be people out there who want to dispute whether or not bodybuilding is even a sport. I, myself, have even debated this. At the end of the day, bodybuilders are athletes, they train, and they compete on a stage. Is it more like a pageant than a sport? Possibly, but for the sake of this article, I want to group bodybuilding and professional sports under one umbrella.
This article will break down all of the similarities and aspects to prove my point that bodybuilding isn’t any more dangerous than other professional sports, including football and rugby, which are incredibly physical sports.
The Training Aspect
It doesn’t matter if you play football, baseball, soccer, basketball, [fill in the blank with the sport of your choice], bodybuilding and other professional sports all train hard – there’s no denying that fact.
Football players lift heavy to get stronger and to be able to take the physical abuse of the sport. Basketball players train hard and heavy for explosive movements. All of this is similar to bodybuilding in that they train with extreme intensity to help break down muscle fibers so they can grow and build stronger muscle fibers.
While professional sports all train for various reasons, there is an inherent danger to training with heavy weights. Just like bodybuilders can tear a muscle when in the gym, all professional sports assume the same risk – there are no exceptions.
The Drug Aspect
News flash, ALL professional sports have athletes that use drugs and anabolics to improve their performance (bodybuilders do it to enhance their physiques). Steroids, anabolics, SARMS, and illegal substances that will enhance performance and endurance (yes, even cyclists and tennis players use such products) are all used. As one would assume, they need to be caught in order for it to hit the news. Not all athletes get tested, and almost all professional sports have a random testing protocol for athletes.
If you have been following sports and news revolving around athletics as a whole, over the years, you would have heard golfers, baseball players, tennis players, cyclists, MMA fighters, and more in the news about their drug tests coming back with something in their system. While they claim a “supplement” they used was tainted, they are merely using the supplement industry as a scapegoat to hide their drug use (which honestly has been played out).
Now, I’m not here to say every player in professional sports needs to be tested weekly or monthly, but the drug aspect is real, and it’s in play with all professional sports. Does it make the playing field unfair that some athletes are using and abusing, which would enhance their performance? Sure. But you would be surprised just how many professional athletes are using some sort of drug to increase performance – even some of your favorite athletes.
The Injury Aspect
Touching on what was mentioned earlier, we already established the danger associated with training. On top of that, you see athletes every week getting injured while in competition. Some injuries are major injuries that sideline them for months (such as the whole season) while others are minor and can be rehabilitated to get them back in action in as little as a few weeks or even days.
Football players are hobbling and being carted off of the field after a hard hit. Baseball players are pulling muscles and injuring their throwing arms. Soccer players suffer from lower-body injuries after planting their foot wrong and turning an ankle or colliding with another athlete in midair going after a ball. Golfers are injuring their hips, knees, or backs. Injuries plague all professional sports.
Bodybuilding really doesn’t have any competition dangers other than the fact that they are incredibly dehydrated, which could become life-threatening depending on the severity of their condition and the fact that they could (and many do) cramp up during the competition. Additionally, there is a chance (a small chance) that bodybuilders could tear a muscle while hitting poses.
Looking at the Whole Picture
When you look at everything mentioned above, there really is no difference between all professional sports out there in terms of danger. People seem to look at only one aspect (the drug aspect) and somewhat demonize the sport of bodybuilding because of it and assume there are more risks and dangers.
Bodybuilders DO tend to abuse and use drugs more than other sports in order to get as big as they do, but regardless, the dangers are still there with other sports like football and basketball and the athletes who use them. Could the heavy anabolic use shorten the life of a bodybuilder? Maybe. But no athlete in professional sports is immune to injury or the dangers associated with their sport.