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How Olympic weigthlifters develop from the age of 9 to the age of 17

Summary of a study looking at weightlifting total, Sinclair total, and countermovement jump height in youth girls and boys at national level.

Who

130 youth weigthlifters who competed in the 2018 USAW Youth National Championships aged between 9 and 17 years (USA).

Design

Data available for the USAW Youth National Championships participants who also tested their countermovement jump.

Outcome measures

  • countermovement jump height (CMJH) [cm]
  • Sinclair total and best total [kg]

Main results

How Olympic weigthlifters develop from the age of 9 to the age of 17

  • No sex differences were detected until the age of 14. Lifting total and Sinclair total were similar between girls and boys until the age of 14, after that time boys lifted significantly more.
  • Boys have experienced a steep increase in weightlifting total between the ages 12-13 and 14-15 years (probably caused by other factors than body mass increase), while girls did not.
  • Countermovement jump can be a general indicator of weightlifting performance (Sinclair total)
  • 1cm increase in countermovement jump relates to an increase of 1.8 - 4 in Sinclair total. Also, male youth weightlifters can expect an additional increase of 0.3 - 1.5 kg in Sinclair total for every 1cm increase in countermovement jump and an increase of 1 year in age.

Take home message

For a clinician & coach
Girls and boys improve at similar rate until the age of 13, but from the age of 14 boys improvement rate speeds up. In male youth weightlifters a countermovement jump can be used to predict potential improvements in Sinclair total, especially in older ages.
For a parent
Girls and boys improve at similar rate until the age of 13, but from the age of 14 boys improvement rate speeds up.
For an athlete
Girls and boys improve at similar rate until the age of 13, but from the age of 14 boys improvement rate speeds up.

Original article

Mizuguchi S, Cunanan AJ, Suarez DG, Cedar WE, South MA, Gahreman D, Hornsby WG, Stone MH. Performance Comparisons of Youth Weightlifters as a Function of Age Group and Sex. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology. 2021 Sep;6(3):57.

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