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Lower Extremity Biomechanics During Weightlifting Exercise Vary Across Joint and Load

Kipp, Kristof1; Harris, Chad2; Sabick, Michelle B3

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181da780b
Original Research

Kipp, K, Harris, C, and Sabick, MB. Lower extremity biomechanics during weightlifting exercise vary across joint and load. J Strength Cond Res 25(5): 1229-1234, 2011-The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of load on lower extremity biomechanics during the pull phase of the clean. Kinematic and kinetic data of the 3 joints of the lower extremity were collected while participants performed multiple sets of cleans at 3 percentages: 65, 75, and 85% of 1 repetition maximum (1RM). General linear models with repeated measures were used to assess the influence of load on angular velocities, net torques, powers, and rates of torque development at the ankle, knee, and hip joint. The results suggest that the biomechanical demands required from the lower extremities change with the lifted load and to an extent depend on the respective joint. Most notably, the hip and knee extended significantly faster than the ankle independent of load, whereas the hip and ankle generally produced significantly higher torques than the knee did. Torque, rate of torque development (RTD), and power were maximimal at 85% of 1RM for the ankle joint and at 75% of 1RM for the knee joint. Torque and RTD at the hip were maximal at loads >75% of 1RM. This study provides important novel information about the mechanical demands of a weightlifting exercise and should be heeded in the design of resistance training programs.

Author Information

1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan; 2Department of Allied Health, Western New Mexico University, Silver City, New Mexico; and 3Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho

Address correspondence to Dr. Kristof Kipp,

© 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association