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Traditional Weight training vs Olympic weightlifting

Researchers compare the effects of two major styles of training on jump height, joint stability and muscle activation.

Researchers at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece recently published a study looking at how different styles of resistance training can effect muscle involvement and activation. It is known that power training, as is done in Olympic weightlifting has many positive effects on vertical height and muscle activation speed. The effects of this style of training was compared to traditional (slow and controlled) weight training.

A group of 26 subjects were assigned randomly to 3 groups. They were a control group (no training), the OL group (Olympic weightlifting) or to the WT group (weight training). All the men were in good health and averaged 20 years of age, and 85kg. They were all experienced with at least 1 year of general resistance training, but none had any significant training or experience in either OL or WT.

The groups trained in their respective format 3 days per week for 8 consecutive weeks. Before and after the experimental period, an EMG was used to record several training parameters during the jumps squat, a counter-movement jump and drop jump. They included: power, max height, vertical stiffness and muscle activity in the biceps femoris and rectus femoris (hamstring muscles).

The results showed that muscle activation increased in both experimental groups. The OL group showed greater and more stable improvements of the knee joint. They also showed a higher vertical jump height measure.

The researchers concluded that Olympic weightlifting should be used more often in training to improve knee joint muscle activation for improved performance.


Arabatzi, F, and Kellis, E. 2012. "Olympic weightlifting training causes different knee muscle-coactivation adaptations compared with traditional weight training." Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 26(8). 2192-2201.

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