View Full Version : Summary of replies re: weightlifting kinematics request

John Barden
06-17-1994, 08:06 AM
Dear BIOMCH-L subscribers:

Some time ago (my apologies for the delay) I posted the following

I am currently involved in assessing some of the kinematic parameters
involved in the Snatch and Clean and Jerk lifts. To this point I have
focused primarily on bar trajectory, vert. bar vel. and a number of rel.
and absolute joint angles (trunk, thigh, hip and knee). I am looking for
comparative data and/or suggested references of studies which have
examined weightlifting kinematics. I have not yet done much looking for
info. (I am beginning my search with the list) but I do have the Soviet
Sport Science Reviews which have provided some useful comparisons.

I welcome all suggestions and would like to hear from others who have
been involved in similar investigations. I almost forgot, I am looking
at the "sagittal" plane kinematics of the lifts, 2D analysis. Thanks in
advance. If there seems to be enough interest and responses I will post
a summary to the list.

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Here is a summary of the responses I received to this request. My thanks
to all those who took the time to respond. The information has been very

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two references on weightlifting which come to mind are:

Enoka, R.M. (1979). The pull in Olympic weightlifting.
Medicine and Science in Sports, 11, 131-137.

Enoka, R.M. (1988) Load- and skill-related changes in segmental
contributions to a weightlifting movement. Medicine and Science in
Sports and Exercise, 20, 178-187.

You may also be interested in:

Burgess-Limerick, R., Abernethy, B. & Neal, R.J. (1993). Relative
phase quantifies interjoint coordination. J. Biomech. 26, 91-94.

which describes the methods we have been using to describe manual
lifting of an industrial nature.

This research (my Ph.D.) examines the normal pattern of coordination
of lower limb joints during self-selected lifting (i.e., the way
people lift when not told what to do). We have found that this
pattern involves a deviation from synchronous coordination of the
knee, hip and lumbar vertebral joints which has the functional
consequence of reducing muscular effort. I believe the pattern
exhibited by weight lifters is qualitatively similar and I would be
interested in your comments based on your data from weightlifters.

To elaborate: Self-selected lifting from a normal standing position
to pick up a load at floor level and place on a shelf at shoulder
height involves first flexion of the ankle, knee, hip and lumbar
vertebral joints to lower the hands to grasp the load, and then
extension of the joints as the load is lifted. While flexion and
extension occur at the same time, they do not occur occur in
synchrony and the pattern of deviation from synchrony is consistent.
Rapid knee extension occurs in the early part of the lifting
phase. Rapid hip extension is delayed slightly and rapid extension of
the lumbar vertebral joints is delayed substantially. This pattern of
interjoint coordination has a number of functional consequences.
During the early lifting phase (when load acceleration is greatest)
the lumbar vertebral complex is flexed by about 45 degrees, and
remains relatively static. The trunk extensor musculature is thus
lengthened and not shortening rapidly, and thus is relatively strong.
Similarly, estimation of the length changes of the biarticular
hamstrings (using equations based on cadaveric data) revealed that
the consequence of rapid knee extension during early lifting is that
the onset of rapid hamstring shortening is delayed, thus maintaining
the strength of the hamstrings early in the lifting phase.
In addition, the relatively isometric contraction of the biarticular
hamstrings (in concert with cocontraction of the monarticular knee
extensors) allows the hamstrings to act as a tendon and thus
(paradoxically) the monoarticular knee extensors conribute to hip
extension during early lifting.

The data supporting these statements is presented in a paper recently
accepted by Human Factors viz: Burgess-Limerick, R., Abernethy, B.,
Neal., R.J., & Kippers, V. (in press). Self-selected manual lifting
technique: Functional consequences of the interjoint coordination.
Human Factors.

The expected date of pulication of this paper is June 1995, so if
you (or anyone else) are interested in more details before then I'd be
happy to forward a copy of the manuscript.

Robin Burgess-Limerick robin@hms01.hms.uq.oz.au
Department of Human Movement Studies
The University of Queensland

__________________________________________________ ______

Robin Burgess-Limerick robin@hms01.hms.uq.oz.au

Department of Human Movement Studies
The University of Queensland 4072

Ph. +61 07 365 6817 Fax +61 07 365 6877
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From: Kim Daneen Barber

I remember reading research on what you are looking for, so I will go back and
try to find where it was. I also wanted to say Hi. I am from Regina, but
finishing off a master's degree here at the University of Oregon. I will try
to recall where I read the info.

Kim D. Barber, ATC
internet kbarber@oregon.uoregon.edu

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From: pklein@resulb.ulb.ac.be (Paul Klein)

Dear John,

Unfortunately I can give you no information on weightlifting. But I am
highly interested mainly with two parameters during weightlifting: the angle
of lumbar lordosis and secundo the angle of knee flexion together with the
hip flexion angle (both synchronized).
Maybe, after you get some information you could help me find or provide some
Good luck!

* Klein Paul Ph.D. *
* Institut for Physical Therapy and *
* Rehabilitation *
* Free University of Brussels *
* CP 168, Avenue P. Heger, 28 *
* 1050 Brussels, Belgium *
* *
* Phone 32-2-6502470 Fax: 32-2-6502473 *
* pklein@resulb.ulb.ac.be *

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Try the following:

Hakkinen et al. (1984). Biomechanical changes in the olympic weightlifting
.... Scand.J.Sports.Sci.6(2):57-66.

Garhammer, (1976). Biomechanical analysis of .... In Biomechanics of Sports
and Kinanthropometry, Eds: F.Landry and W.A.R.Orban. Symposia Specialists
Inc. (Int. Congress of Phys Activity Sciences, Quebec City, July 11-16,
1976) pp.475-484.

Enoka (1979). The pull in Olympic weightlifting. Med.Sci.Sports Exerc. 11(2

Garhammer (1985). Biomechanical profiles of Olympic weightlifters. Int. J.
Sports Biomech. 1:122-130.

Burdett (1982). Biomechanics of the snatch ... Res. Q. 53(3):193-197.

Kauhanen et al. (1984). A biomechanical analysis ... Scand. J. Sports Sci.

Connan et al. (1979). Biomechanical analysis of ... Proc. Int Congress of
Biomech, Warsaw 1979. In:Biomechanics VII-B pp.313-321. Eds Morecki,
Fidelus, Kedzior and Wit.

Garhammer (1980). Power production by... Med.Sci Sports Exerc. 12(1):54-60.

The latest one where you can find many references of Garhammer:

Garhammer (1991) A Comparison of maximal Power outputs ... Int.J. Sport
Biomech. 7:3-11.

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From: "Ronald Fredrick Zernicke"

Check with John Garhammer, at California State University Long
Beach, in California. John has done a fair amount of work in this
area. Some of his work was published in Med Sci Sports Exerc.


Ron Zernicke

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From: david.wilson@eng.ox.ac.uk

Dear Dr. Barden

The D.Phil. thesis of J.J. Collins (1991 or 1990) from the University of
Oxford, Dept. of Engineering Science, has a section about knee loading in
weightlifters based on a sagittal plane kinematic analysis. I don't know if
this work has been published in a journal or not-a database search under his
name for the years 1989-1993 should turn it up if it exists. If you have no
luck, E-mail me and I'll copy the relevant chapter of the thesis from the

Dave Wilson
Dept. of Engineering Science
Univ. of Oxford

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From: Michael Feltner

I suggest you look for work conducted by the following individuals:

John Garhammer
Jeffery Lander
Tom McLaughlin

They have conducted investigations and have published numerous
papers related to weightlifting.
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Michael Feltner

Dept. of Sports Medicine & Physical Ed.
Pepperdine University
Malibu, CA 90263 USA

(Office) 310 456-4312
(FAX) 310-456-4426

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From: Grant Shaffner

A chap named Kevin Brown, a graduate student in the Dept. of Mechanical
Engineering at M.I.T., has done some interesting work on applying the
kinematics and kinetics of human weightlifting to mechanical robots. He
has published a paper on this. I thought the reference might be appropriate.

For more info, contact:

Prof. H. Asada, MIT, (617) 253-6257

Hope it's useful.


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From: "Daniel P. Ferris"

Dear John,

In reply to your request for information on Olympic weightlifting
biomechanics, I can only suggest that you try to contact John Garhammer at
California State University-Long Beach. I do not have his E-mail address
or phone number, but he could definitely help you in your search. He has
published numerous studies relating to the field.

Dan Ferris
Human Performance Laboratory
University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL
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From: Deborah King


I am writing in response to your query to biomech-l concerning weightlifting
kinematics. For the last few years the United States Olympic Committe
(sport science and technology division) has repeatedly performed
kinematic and ground reaction force studies on the US resident team at
the Olympic Training Center. I don't remember all the variables they
are interested in a few are - timing of peak acceleration of the bar with
hip extension, inequality/equality of left and right ground reaction
forces, and barbell trajectory. There are two people you could
contact: Dr. Sarah Smith, biomechanist, Sport Science and
Technology, USOC, One Olympic Plaza, Colorado Springs, CO 80909,
(719) 578-4516 or Scott (I can't remember his last name) at
Converse USA, (biomechanics lab) in Massachusetts. I don't
happen to have his phone, but he should be on the biomech-l
list of subscribers. He worked at the USOC as a research assistant
(as did I) and was in charge of the weightlifting studies.

Hope this helps,

Deborah King
WSU Inst. for Rehab. Res and Med.
Dayton, OH 45324
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From: Mike Whittle

Dear John:
A few years ago, I looked at knee joint mechanics during a clean-
and-jerk lift. The reference is:

Computerised analysis of knee moments during weightlifting
Whittle MW, Sargeant AJ, Johns L
Biomechanics XI-B eds. G. de Groot, A.P. Hollander, P.A. Huijing,
G.J. van Ingen Schenau. Amsterdam: Free University Press, 1988

One thing to watch out for in this type of study is that during the "squat",
forces are transmitted through the soft tissues at the back of the thigh and
calf, as well as through the knee mechanism.

I hope this information is of use to you.

With best wishes,

Mike Whittle, MD, PhD
Cline Chair of Rehabilitation Technology
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
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Thanks again to all who responded. I hope this info. can be of benefit
to someone else.

John M. Barden
Sport Science Coordinator
Faculty of Physical Activity Studies
University of Regina
Regina, Saskatchewan
S4S 0A2 Canada
Internet: barden@max.cc.uregina.ca
Bitnet: barden@uregina1.bitnet
Ph: (306) 585-4698
Fax: (306) 585-4854