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Study examines effects of training programs for weightlifters

Contributed • Updated Jan 12, 2018 at 7:51 PM

In the weeks leading up to a major competition, weightlifters will bank considerable hours in the weight room. Some athletes may choose to spend those final weeks doing more intensified training, while others may elect to taper their training volume in anticipation of a big competition.

What effect do these different approaches have, not only on the body, but for peak performance?

Those are questions Dr. Caleb Bazyler at East Tennessee State University hopes to have a better answer for through a new study conducted by the Center of Excellence for Sport Science and Coach Education.

“Both the intensified training approach and the reduced training approach have been studied before, but we are specifically interested in the physiological and performance changes that occur among elite athletes,” said Bazyler, an assistant professor in the Clemmer College of Education. “Our goal is to understand how they peak for competition.”

According to Bazyler, previous studies have shown that when weightlifters participate in intensified training, increases in biochemical markers of training stress have been observed, along with decreases in weightlifting performance.

The reduced training approach appears to yield an opposite response with an increase in performance and a lowering of certain biochemical markers.

“There have been studies which have monitored weightlifters during intensified and reduced training programs but have not compared these programs during competition preparation. This study, however, will focus on a group of athletes who are all preparing for a national competition,” he said.

Bazyler and his team will investigate the differences between these two approaches relative to a normal training regimen by measuring serum markers of training stress as well as jumping performance in high-level weightlifters.

Dr. Michael Stone, professor of Sport, Exercise, Recreation and Kinesiology, is a co-investigator of the study, which is funded by the Research and Development Committee at ETSU. In 2012, the university was designated as an official U.S. Olympic Training Site for weightlifting. Several students have competed successfully at national and international competitions.

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