The Effect of developing joint mobility and flexibility on the technical mastery of young weightlifters

M. Leshko, CCCR

Tiiazhelaya Atletika 1976

Translated by Andrew Charniga

A comparative analysis of the weightlifter’s motor activities shows that technical mastery in weightlifting is conditioned to a great extent by joint mobility and flexibility. This interconnection is most obvious in the snatch if one performs the more progressive squat style method. Consequently, our interest in the effect of joint mobility and flexibility on the technical mastery of young weightlifters in the snatch.

How is technique evaluated?

From the available criteria of assessing technique (L. N. Sokolov, 1966; A. V. Chernyak, 1966; R.A. Roman, 1968; I. P. Zhekov, 1969) we selected the Chernynak criteria as the most popular. The author discovered that the height of lifting in the pull and the height necessary for fixation of the barbell in the squat position diminished with the rise in sport mastery.

Therefore, we assumed that if we included special exercises for developing mobility and flexibility in some groups of joints into the training of young weightlifters this would accelerate the growth of technical mastery and improve results. At the same time we felt that special development of mobility and flexibility would not adversely affect strength.

* The source of this article came from the Chekoslovakian journal “Trainer”, 2:1975

On the basis of these suppositions we set the following goals: to study and compare the improvement in technical mastery and the results in the squat snatch and the strength increase in the most important muscle groups for two groups of weightlifters. One of the groups performed exercises for shoulder hip knee ankle and vertebral mobility. The results were determined by a pedagogical experiment over the course of six months with ten weightlifters. We divided the athletes into control and experimental groups. The differences between the groups in height weight and age were statistically insignificant.

The complex of exercises for joint and vertebral mobility were performed at the end

The weightlifters trained 3 – 4 times per week with the same training program (with the exception of the special exercises).  At the beginning and end of the experiment we collected data of the results and technical mastery in the snatch, required strength indicators for the weightlifters and data of the development of the fundamental muscle groups. We used the results in the clean and jerk and the static pull (with a dynamometer) as our strength indicators. The height of lifting (the absolute and relative to the sportsman’s height) and the depth of the squat position which we obtained with a 24 frames per second “Pentaflex” video camera were our indicators of technical mastery.

We employed statistical calculations to analyze the data.

A comparison of the first and second measurements of the sportsmen from both groups allowed us to determine the affect of including the mobility exercises on results. (Table 1).

Table 1. Fundamental Characteristics of Technical Mastery

Group Ht. cm,x Ht. cm,σ Ht.relative,x Ht. Relative σ time to enter squat,x time to enter squat,σ
1st meas. 119.4 6.48 0.685 0.047 0.750 0.067
2n d meas. 108.5 4.74 0.620 0.032 0.680 0.066
1st meas 114.6 3.76 0.650 0.035 0.697 0.080
2nd meas 105.8 4.76 0.604 0.032 0.604 0.090

It was obvious that as a result of the experiment the technique of both groups improved; consequently, the height of lifting and the time of the squat under both diminished. Was this improvement significant and by how much? It should be noted that in only one case was there a reliable difference between the first and second measurements and this was the time to descend into the squat position.

Furthermore, we need to turn attention to the fact that all of the indicators of the first measurement in the sportsmen in the experimental group were better, consequently, there less room for improvement.

For the most part we found there was a significant decrease in the descent time into the squat position for the experimental group, which cannot be overstated. We discovered that the acquisition of a specific reserve of joint mobility allows one to confidently, safely and more quickly assume the squat position.

On the whole we can say that including exercises for joint mobility and flexibility helps to increase the rate of improvement of technical mastery. However, within the context that only one indicator in the experimental group improved significantly the coefficient was comparatively high in the control group, the inclusion of exercises for mobility and flexibility did not seem to be very effective. Nevertheless, we recommend that this training for young lifters.

From the standpoint of sport training you have to bear in mind exercises for developing mobility and joint flexibility on effect the increase in results in the snatch. This effects the increase in strength.

The data of the indicators at the beginning and end of the experiment in both groups is presented in table 2.

Table 2. Statistical characteristics of the studied indicators

Measurement group Snatch Snatch C&J C&J Static strength, kg  
    mean σ mean Σ mean σ
1st experim. 62.7 7.18 67.50 1.77 168.75 10.84
  control 70.25 2.17 77.50 6.37 172.5 17.50
2nd experim. 65.00 5.00 71.88 2.59 177.5 21.61
  control 78.12 4.25 83.12 4.89 192.5 26.12

It is obvious from the table that the growth of sport results and the statistical indicators of strength in the experimental group were not lower than in the control. Consequently, additional exercises for developing mobility and flexibility in the joints did not have a negative effect on the development of strength.

In order to assess the affect of the mobility and flexibility exercises we looked at the difference between the arithmetic means of the control and experimental groups at the beginning and end of the experiment. We found that in the second measurement (after the experiment) the significance of the differences between the means increased; which is indicative of a greater increase for the sportsmen in the experimental group.

So, additional exercises for the development of mobility and flexibility in the joints facilitates improvement of technical mastery, improvement of results and increasing static strength. This allows us to recommend similar exercises for young weightlifters.