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Test: Please Critique This Study!

McBride, J.M., T. Triplett-McBride, A. Davie, and R.U. Newton. A comparison of strength and power characteristics between power lifters, Olympic lifters, and sprinters. J. Strength and Cond. Res. 13(1):58-66. 1999.

TakeIn a 1999 study at Southern Cross University in Australia, researchers compared the strength and power of power lifters, Olympic lifters, and sprinters. Using the smith machine squat, countermovement jumps and jump squats they found that the power lifters were as strong as the Olympic lifters and sprinters but scored significantly lower in tests for power and explosive performance (4). In some instances, the power lifters even performed worse than the control group (group that had no weight training background) in explosive testing!

In contrast, Olympic lifters use both standard resistance exercise techniques, which include heavy load, slow velocity movements and explosive type lifts such as the snatch and clean and jerk in their training (4). The Olympic lifters were comparable in strength to the power lifting group, were stronger than the sprinters and were the most powerful of all three groups. The sprinters recorded the highest jump heights which would make sense as their training focuses on similar characteristics of the vertical jump: low resistance (bodyweight), explosive, high-velocity movements (sprinting) (4). Sprinters may jump the highest, but are they truly the most powerful?

Currently, the highest recorded vert of olympic lifters is Diaconu, at 42, and most of the others were ranging from 32-39. these are olympic and world medalists. that is no where near the upper eschalon of even college basketball players or college wide receivers. it should be noted i could not find charts for vertical jumps of running backs, but i would suspect is is somewhere near wide receivers. college athletes in their respected sports were able to average higher than the most elite olympic weight lifters, and even they outperformed the most elite power lifters. an interesting fact is the highest vertical jump ever recorded for a collegiate basketball player was micheal wilson of memphis, who’s vertical was 54 inches, a complete foot higher than the highest olympic lifter currently

[quote]MikeShank wrote:
Using the smith machine squat, countermovement jumps and jump squats they found that the power lifters were as strong as the Olympic lifters and sprinters but scored significantly lower in tests for power and explosive performance (4). [/quote]

they make it sound like the sprinters are as strong as the powerlifters! i doubt that is the case. seems biased and misleading to me. Also, what are these tests for power and explosive performance? based on their selection of the smith machine squat, i would expect something equally dumb.

I would like to see some 400lb powerlifters try a vertical jump though :smiley:

The actual study would be interesting to read up on. Im guessing this is the summary?

World class sprinters are strong as hell, don’t be fooled. I’ve been told Maurice Greene squats over 600.

Wow, where to start???

1.Were those running the study by chance Oly proponents?
2. Smith Machine squats? Why not leg extensions, the bullworker, or the butt blaster?
3. What classification, age, bodyweight, etc were each subgroup?

Unless you are doing controlled, comparable movements with athletes of the same weight class and qualification, this is meaningless propaganda for Oly lovers.

Get Siders and Hamman or the Iranian Super, Oscar Chapin and Wade Hooper, the Russian or georgian oly and Pl teams, the chinese gril superheavy and Becca Swanson. Dat might look a LITTLE BIT different.

Most studies are done to prove the authors point, which they have decided ahead of time. Then the experiement is designed and the data interpreted. High level oly lifters are great athletes, but they are not faster than sprinters or maximally stronger than Powerlifters. At the highest level they have the ability to accelerate submaximal weights better than everybody or anybody else, even the lower ranked oly lifters.

Why not test safety squat bar squat, long jump, vertical jump, shuttle run, incline press, 40 and 100 meter dashes, trap bar DL? Give the groups 3 weeks to learn and practice the lifts?

Nobody wants to do that for both cost reasons and the data would wreck the NCSC theories.


NOTE: i am not trying to attack any sport’s athletes above, only the study writers

To play devil’s advocate…

It could seem accurate to me, but inadvertantly accurate. Correct me if i am wrong, powerlifting is kind of a orphan sport. Since it doesn’t have very large cash prises etc., most people who do it aren’t necessarily the most gifted strength athletes (not to say that powerlifters aren’t gifted athletes). Most of the PLers i have known got into the sport after their football careers stopped. If there were more PLers who started with PL early, this would be different. This is in contrast to sprinters, who do have cash prises (especially in europe), and have a lot more people compteting than in PL. Same with OLers (outside of the US of course). Generally, the more people to do a sport, the stiffer the competition.

However, even with this in mind, this study sucks. smith machines are a poor measurement device in a technical setting (besides being a worthless mvmt, ihmo). The problem is that each of those three types of athletes squats differently, so it is really hard to be fair to each group (especially if one considers the PL gear issue, which i don’t want see brought up again). The other issue is the matching weight classes issue…All in all, the study is a good flamewar starter, but not much else.

(NOTE: i am not trying to attack any sport’s athletes above, only the study writers)

Get the entire article to read.

My main complaint with it was the sample of the various athletes was not very accurate.

Was any power output equation measured?

I mean, of course lifters would not jump higher, they weigh twice as much! But if they weigh alot more and jump “just” 5-10 inches less, I’d say they’re more powerful no?

We seem to forget that a vertical jump can’t be accurately measured here. You have 3 classes of atheletes with sigificantly diferent specificity in their performance and training. It’s an impossible experiment to say the least. There are issues with power to weight ratios, the degree of CNS training, fiber recruitment and type of fibers conditioned (fast vs. Slow), not to even mention individual genetic differences and predispositions.

I would only buy stock in what those studies say if they were done on identical twins in different sport disciplines or had a HUGE sample group with data spanning a decade or so.

the vertical jump test did not take into account bodyweight. sprinters are featherweights compared to oly lifters and powerlifters. power to weight ratio would have been interesting.

considering that the powerlifting squat is wider then the oly squat i would not expect powerlifters to have a good vertical at all unless they significantly trained with a narrow stance. Powerlifting is about leverage.

laters pk