Is the Optimal Load for Maximal Power Output During Hang Power Cleans Submaximal?

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: The optimal load for maximal power output during hang power cleans (HPCs) from a mechanical perspective is the 1-repetition-maximum (1RM) load; however, previous research has reported otherwise. The present study thus aimed to investigate the underlying factors that determine optimal load during HPCs. Methods: Eight competitive Olympic weight lifters performed HPCs at 40%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, 95%, and 100% of their 1RM while the ground-reaction force and bar/body kinematics were simultaneously recorded. The success criterion during HPC was set above parallel squat at the receiving position. Results: Both peak power and relative peak power were maximized at 80% 1RM (3975.7 [439.1] W, 50.4 [6.6] W/kg, respectively). Peak force, force at peak power, and relative values tended to increase with heavier loads (P < .001), while peak system velocity and system velocity at peak power decreased significantly above 80% 1RM (P = .005 and .011, respectively). There were also significant decreases in peak bar velocity (P < .001) and bar displacement (P < .001) toward heavier loads. There was a strong positive correlation between peak bar velocity and bar displacement in 7 of 8 subjects (r > .90, P < .01). The knee joint angle at the receiving position fell below the quarter-squat position above 70% 1RM. Conclusions: Submaximal loads were indeed optimal for maximal power output for HPC when the success criterion was set above the parallel-squat position. However, when the success criterion was defined as the quarter-squat position, the optimal load became the 1RM load.

Takei is with the Graduate School of Sport Sciences, and Hirayama and Okada, the Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Japan.

Takei (seiichiro@fuji.waseda.jp) is corresponding author.
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