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How to assess clean performance?

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Summary of an article analysing various measures and their correlation with clean performance in Olympic weightlifting.

Who

8 (4 females, 4 males) competitive (at the regional and national level) Olympic weightlifters (UK).

Design

Repeated measures experimental study:

  • 3 testing sessions
  • 3 sets of 1 clean at 90% of 1RM
  • 1-minute rest between sets

Outcome measures/tests

  • inter- and intra-day reliability
  • 70 variables
  • measured during 3 phases of clean lift:
    • W1 - weighting 1 (first pull)
    • UW - unweightling (transition)
    • W2 - weightling 2 (second pull)

Main results

How to assess clean performance - infographic

  • 11 variables had good to excellent reliability (out of 70 analysed) and a strong correlation with a clean performance at 90% of 1RM. Seven of the variables included the W1 phase of the lift.

  • 2 groups of variables:

    • temporal force (5 variables)
      • W1 average resultant force - the best reliability and almost perfect correlation to clean performance
    • bar power (6 variables)
      • average bar power of W1+UW - the highest intra-day reliability
      • bar peak power and average power of UW to peak bar hight (PBH) - the highest inter-day reliability
  • performance of W1 determines clean performance at 90% of 1RM (7 variables)

  • Weightlifting variables:

    Variables
    Temporal force
    W1 vertical impulse
    W1 average vGRF
    W1 average resultant force
    UW average resultant force
    W2 average resultant force
    Bar power
    Peak power
    Average power from lift off to W1 end
    Average power of W1 and UW
    Average power of lift off to most rear
    Average power of lift off to PBH
    Average power of UW to PBH
    Reliability
    Variables
    Temporal force
    W1 vertical impulse
    excellent
    W1 average vGRF
    excellent
    W1 average resultant force
    excellent
    UW average resultant force
    excellent
    W2 average resultant force
    excellent
    Bar power
    Peak power
    excellent
    Average power from lift off to W1 end
    excellent
    Average power of W1 and UW
    excellent
    Average power of lift off to most rear
    excellent
    Average power of lift off to PBH
    excellent
    Average power of UW to PBH
    excellent
    Correlation to clean performance
    Variables
    Temporal force
    W1 vertical impulse
    very strong
    W1 average vGRF
    strong
    W1 average resultant force
    near perfect
    UW average resultant force
    very strong
    W2 average resultant force
    very strong
    Bar power
    Peak power
    very strong
    Average power from lift off to W1 end
    very strong
    Average power of W1 and UW
    very strong
    Average power of lift off to most rear
    very strong
    Average power of lift off to PBH
    near perfect
    Average power of UW to PBH
    near perfect

Take home message

For a clinician & coach
The first weighting phase (W1; first pull) of clean has the most variables (7) that correlate to clean performance. Variables related to force and power were the most reliable and correlated the strongest to clean performance.
For a parent
Force and power during the first weighting phase (first pull) could predict clean performance.
For an athlete
Force and power during the first weighting phase (first pull) could predict clean performance.

Original article

Sorensen A, Chavda S, Comfort P, Lake JP, Turner A. Intra-and inter-day reliability of weightlifting variables and correlation to performance during cleans. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2022 Jan 12.

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