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Steve W. Thompson, MSc – PhD candidate, Sheffield Hallam University

Harry Banyard – Lecturer in Exercise and Sport Science, Swinburne University

Alan Ruddock – Physiologist and PhD Supervisor, Sheffield Hallam University

David Rogerson – Principal Lecturer and PhD Supervisor, Sheffield Hallam University

Andrew Barnes – Senior Lecturer and Director of Studies, Sheffield Hallam University


PURPOSE: To investigate the reliability of pooled and individualised load-velocity profiles (LVP) in competitive Olympic Weightlifters using the power clean and back squat exercises.

METHODS: Ten competitive weightlifters (mean ± SD; age: 25.0 ± 5.6 y; body mass: 73.6 ± 13.9 kg; stature: 169.6 ± 6.6 cm) completed baseline one repetition maximum assessments in the free-weight power clean (PC) and back squat (BS) (1RM: 103.0 ± 22.8 kg; 154.4 ± 33.8 kg, respectively). Three LVPs consisting of incremental protocols (PC: 40-100% 1RM; BS: 30-100% 1RM) with mean (MV) and peak (PV) velocity, measured via a linear-position transducer were completed; each separated by 48-96 hours. Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), coefficient of variation (CV), standard error of the estimate (SEE), linear regression (r), repeated measures one-way ANOVA (p < 0.05) and effect sizes (d) were used to assess the reliability of the load-velocity relationship for pooled and individualised data. High reliability was defined a priori as: ICC >0.7; CV < 10%; d < 0.2.

RESULTS: MV and PV were highly reliable in PC across all sessions (ICC = 0.97-0.98) and relative loads (ICC = > 0.7; CV = < 10%). Strong ICCs for pooled data (0.98-0.99) and relative loads ( > 0.7) were evident for BS, but with large between-participants variation (MV: 8.72% - 27.04%; PV: 9.93% - 30.71%) (Figure 1). Stronger relationships were found for load and MV (BS: r = 0.95; SEE = 0.09 m.s-1; PC: r = 0.87; SEE = 0.08 m.s-1) than PV (BS: r = 0.81; SEE = 0.22 m.s-1; PC: r = 0.81; SEE = 0.16 m.s-1) in the pooled data. Individualised LVPs were stronger in MV (BS: r = 0.98-1.00; SEE = 0.02-0.06 m.s-1; PC: r = 0.87-0.99; SEE = 0.02-0.06 m.s-1) and PV (BS: r = 0.96-1.00; SEE = 0.03-0.11 m.s-1; PC: r = 0.85-1.00; SEE = 0.02-0.10 m.s-1) than the pooled LVPs (Figure 1).Within-participant variation for 95-100% 1RM was > 10% in BS MV. 1RM data was not statistically significantly different between sessions (p > 0.05, d = ≤ 0.08).

CONCLUSIONS: Performing LVPs across a range of submaximal loads met our criteria for high reliability in the PC, but not the BS (CV > 10%). Nevertheless, the criteria were met when utilising individualised LVPs in BS and PC, suggesting that load-velocity characteristics and neuromuscular recruitment differ across individuals, despite sample homogeneity. MV was more reliable than PV in both lifts, signifying greater stability across concentric muscle actions. Large within-participant variation was found at 95-100% 1RM in BS MV, potentially due to greater reliance on the mechanical and elastic properties of muscle at heavier loads.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: LVPs can be used for assessing load-velocity relationships and practitioners can be confident that changes in LVPs are unlikely to be due to test-retest error. Individualised LVPs using MV should be utilised for PC and BS. When profiling BS, submaximal loads of up to 90% are recommended to reduce variability in the data.


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