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St Mary's Research Confirms Weightlifters Should Start Light

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St Mary's Research Confirms Weightlifters Should Start Light

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New research from the MSc Strength and Conditioning Science programme at St Mary’s University’s, Twickenham supports the theory that starting with lighter weights is a more effective approach to weightlifting. The 20-week pre-test/post-test experiment examined the wave loading training technique, and showed that by using lighter initial weights, weightlifters could achieve equal improvements in strength as those starting with heavier initial weights. The study, which was completed by Paul Wood as part of his MSc in Strength and Conditioning, saw two cohorts of 17 experienced resistance-trained men perform two training sessions each week. Each group increased the weight in a cyclical fashion, with one group starting with lighter weights. At the end of the trial, all participants experienced a significant improvement in their bench press performance, with no difference found between the two groups. The findings, which were published in the Biology of Sport in May 2016, supports an existing school of thought, that weightlifters should ‘start light’ if they are using a progressive wave loading technique, as the same performance improvement can be gained with the exertion of less effort. Programme Director of the MSc in Strength and Conditioning Dr Dan Cleather, said, “Paul’s research was a rare achievement – a training study of long duration involving a large number of subjects. The value of this approach is reflected in the fact that this study is able to provide insight that is of practical value to athletes.” The full study can be downloaded for free here.
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