Trauma Nurse, NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist, and lifting champion Lisa McKnight is all about injury prevention. Through dynamic movements, proper form, and good nutrition, Lisa shares how people can maintain their health and fitness over the years, setting up for healthy aging.

Inspired by an active lifestyle while studying abroad in Nagoya, Japan, Lisa dove into fitness during her junior year of college. Beginning with running 5ks, she quickly moved on to triathlons, marathons, and even ultra marathons. However, in 2015 after discovering Olympic Weightlifting, a style of lifting that involves successfully bringing a heavy-weighted barbell from the ground overhead with competitions divided by weight classes, Lisa knew she had found her sport.

After receiving her Master’s Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Memphis, Lisa worked in cardiac rehabilitation and then as a personal trainer at numerous gyms before becoming a trauma nurse at Regional One Health. “It’s always something different every day. You never get bored,” says Lisa.

When it comes to workouts, Lisa values quality over quantity. The Olympic lifter works out about three times a week while clocking in at least 10,000 steps during hospital days.

Last year, after experiencing some nagging right shoulder pain, Lisa was surprised to discover she had a pretty substantial rotator cuff tear, revealed by an MRI done at Campbell Clinic by an orthopedic surgeon and shoulder specialist, Dr. Brolin.

Poor posture and thus comparable mechanics when she first entered the sport had led to a slow tear over time. Determined to still compete in the Arkansas Strong Man this past October, Lisa decided to push off shoulder surgery by a few months.

Dr. Brolin designed a physical therapy regimen that helped Lisa strengthen the surrounding tissue and muscles. She then went on to win Strongest Woman, Middle-Weight Division.

“Getting that bar over your head is technically challenging and exciting.”

Not her first rodeo, Lisa had won Women’s Novice a few months prior at the Strong Man on Beale. In February, Lisa returned to Campbell Clinic to undergo surgery and has taken the past several months to gradually build back up muscle, despite some initial pains.

“People often think they shouldn’t use their muscles when something is hurting, but you want to get those muscles moving to increase blood flow to the area, improving circulation and alleviating pain.”

She stresses the importance of preventative care as a crucial investment in one’s long-term health. “With aging, especially among women, we lose muscle and bone mass, which become harder to build up over time because of decreases in estrogen and testosterone.” Without optimal nutrition, however, the body cannot fully benefit from these workouts.

Nutrients are needed to heal the micro tears and breaks our muscles and bones experience when we exercise, allowing them to rebuild stronger. Nutritional intake also affects the body’s ability to heal from injury and illness, which becomes increasingly harder to recover from with age.

Lisa’s goals for the upcoming year have pivoted to focus less on Olympic Weightlifting and more on Strong Man, a strength-based event that includes dynamic movements such as Sandbag to Shoulder, Husafell Stone Carry, and Keg Lifting, to name a few.

Excited for her future with Strong Man, Lisa is not deterred by any setbacks. Preventative care and an open mind are the true heavy lifters.

For more information visit or call 901.759.3111

By Shlomit Ovadia
Photo by Daniel Scruggs