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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2022 April;62(4):476-84

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.12140-1


language: English

Impacts of squat attempt weight selection and success on powerlifting performance

Robert J. HOWELLS 1, Jemima G. SPATHIS 1, Joshua PEARSON 1, Christopher LATELLA 2, 3, Joel M. GARRETT 1, Patrick J. OWEN 4, Daniel J. van den HOEK 1

1 School of Behavioral and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health Science, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Australia; 2 Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research (CESSR), School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia; 3 Neurophysiology Research Laboratory, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia; 4 Deakin University, School of Exercise and Nutrition Science, Geelong, Australia

BACKGROUND: To date, there is no evidence to support the optimal competition strategy for success in powerlifting competitions. The purpose of this study was to analyze powerlifting (PL) competition data to assess the relationship between squat attempts, the success of each lift attempt, and weight increase between attempts, with winning.
METHODS: The analysis from ‘raw’ Powerlifting Australia sanctioned competitions held between 2008 and 2019 included 10,672 individual competition entries (males: N.=6617, females: N.=4055). We reported Cohen’s d, statistical significance, 95% confidence intervals and the univariate odds of winning an event. Factors were assessed by separate simple logistic regression and reported as an odds ratio.
RESULTS: Overall, first squat attempt weight for those who won was on average 7.0 kg greater (P<0.001, d=0.14 [0.10, 0.18]) than for non-winners. In the total sample, athletes selected opening attempts which were an average of 92% of their achieved maximum on the day with 93.5% of competitors improving on this weight in subsequent attempts. Winners had a 0.5 kg (P<0.001, d=0.10 [0.06, 0.14]) greater absolute increase in weight between first and second lift attempts than non-winners. Overall, ~68% of winners successfully lifted their third attempt weight compared to ~64% of non-winners (P<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: A powerlifting athlete’s odds of winning a competition overall are significantly increased by selecting a larger opening squat attempt weight than competitors and completing the attempt successfully. The opening squat may be one of the most important lifts during competition.

KEY WORDS: Sports; Muscle strength; Athletes; Athletic performance

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