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Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2006, 20(4), 861-866

2006 National Strength & Conditioning Association


ANTHROPOMETRIC AND PERFORMANCE VARIABLES
DISCRIMINATING ELITE AMERICAN JUNIOR
MEN WEIGHTLIFTERS
ANDREW C. FRY,I DRAGOMIR CIROSLAN,^ MARY D. FRY,I CHRISTOPHER D. LEROUX,I
BRIAN K. SCHILLING,* AND LOREN Z. F. CHIU*
'Human Performance Laboratories, The University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee 38152; ^U.S.A. Weightlifting,
U.S. Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909.
ABSTRACT. Fry, A.C, D. Ciroslan, M.D. Fry, CD. LeRoux, B.K.
Schilling, and L.Z.F. Chiu. Anthropometric and performance
variables discriminating elite American junior men weightlift-
ers. J. Strength Cond. Res. 20(4):861-866. 2006.The purpose
of this study is to identify physical and performance variables
that discriminate elite American junior-aged men weightlifters
from nonelite performers. Using a cross-sectional design, mul-
tiple discriminant analysis was used to determine field tests
identifying elite male junior weightlifters. Young men who were
participants (n = 115) at the Junior National and Junior Olym-
pics Weightlifting Championships volunteered as subjects (mean
SD age = 14.8 2.3 years). Elite weightlifters in = 20) were
identified as the top 17.5% of national-level competitors when
weightlifting performances were adjusted for body mass using
the Sinclair equation. All other weightlifters were classified as
nonelite in = 95). Test batteries were performed immediately
upon completion of a national-level weightlifting competition.
Variables measured included easily-administered field tests of
physical dimensions and body composition, muscular strength
and power, flexibility, and gross motor control. The resulting
regression equations correctly classified 84.35% of the
weightlifters as elite or nonelite. Five variables significantly con-
tributed to the discriminant analysis (Wilks A = 0.6637392, x^
= 44.880, df = 5, p < 0.0001, adjusted R^ = 0.67). Body mass
index accounted for 23.13% of the total variance, followed by
vertical jump (22.78%), relative fat (18.09%), grip strength
(14.43%), and torso angle during an overhead squat (0.92%). The
use of these 5 easily administered field tests is potentially useful
as a screening tool for elite American junior men weightlifters.
KEY WORDS, talent identification, strength, power, flexibility,
body composition
INTRODUCTION
m
he sport of weightlifting is one of the most pow-
erful athletic activities in the sporting world.
Consisting of the snatch lift and the clean and
jerk lift, these activities generate some of the
greatest levels of power (W) measured in sports (15, 25).
The distinctive comhination of muscular strength, mus-
cular power, flexibility, kinesthetic awareness, and lifting
technique necessary for successful weightlifting perfor-
mances results in a unique physiological profile (25).
To facilitate the development and production of suc-
cessful weightlifting athletes, it is helpful to identify
those individuals who inherently possess some or all of
the desired characteristics that contribute to elite weight-
lifting performances. Other sports have developed various
protocols to achieve similar results (6, 19, 32, 38). For
several decades, several countries with strong weightlift-
ing traditions have developed testing protocols to identify
potential elite weightlifters (3, 22, 26, 29, 31, 35). Recent
efforts to identify potential weightlifting talent have also
been made in the United States by numerous individual
coaches (K. Pierce, J. Coffee, M. Cohen, and D. Snethen,
personal communications, 1995).
Past weightlifting talent identification efforts have of-
ten required a considerable number of test items, sup-
porting personnel, technology, and time (6, 22, 26, 31, 35,
L. Jones, personal communications, 1995). Most situa-
tions, however, are not conducive to such an extensive
and sometimes redundant test battery. Future weightlift-
ing talent programs must be developed that require little
equipment and small amounts of time, can be adminis-
tered by a small number of testers, and are easily inter-
preted. In general, it would be helpful to develop a
weightlifting talent identification test battery that would
provide the most information using the fewest number of
simply-administered field tests. Therefore, the purpose of
the present investigation was to identify what physical
and performance tests would provide such information re-
garding potential future weightlifting talent.
METHODS
Experimental Approach to the Problem
A simple discriminant function analysis was performed to
determine which physical and performance variables sig-
nificantly predict whether an individual is an elite or non-
elite weightlifter.
Subjects
Male athletes participating in either the U.S.A. Weight-
lifting Junior National Championships or the Amateur
Athletic Union Junior Olympics Weightlifting Champi-
onships during 1 year served as subjects for this investi-
gation (n = 115). All subjects had previously met or ex-
ceeded the qualifying weightlifting standards set for each
competition and age group, and represented approxi-
mately the top 8.6% of all registered junior-aged Ameri-
can men weightlifters registered as athletes at the time
of the study. Group characteristics (expressed as mean
SD) included age = 14.8 2.3 yrs, height (Hgt) = 165.5
11.7 cm, and body weight (BW) = 63.3 15.6 kg. All
subjects signed an informed consent document as ap-
proved by the Institutional Review Board at the Univer-
sity of Memphis, and those subjects under 18 years of age
obtained parental or guardian approval for participation
in this project. Prior to any other testing, each subject
completed a weightlifting history questionnaire, includ-
861
862 FRY, CIROSLAN, FRY ET AL.
TABLE 1. Descriptive characteristics and weightlifting per-
formances for elite (n = 20) and nonelite (n = 95) junior-age
male weightlifter groups (mean SD).
Variable
Body weight (kg)
Relative fat (%)
Body density (g-ml~O
Fat weight (kg)
Fat-free weight (kg)
Body mass index
(kg-m-2)
Months trained for
weightlifting
Days trained-wk"'
IRM (kg)*
Snatch
Clean
Jerk
Clean and jerk
Back squat
Front squat
Bench presst
Elite
67.3 10.4
6.4 2.9
1.084 0.006
4.5 2.5
63.7 8.4
24.1 3.2
36.7 20.1
5.3 1.9
96.6 14.8
124.5 20.4
121.2 20.4
121.6 20.4
172.9 87.6
142.9 30.2
110.6 29.9
Nonelite
62.3 16.5
10.3 7.1
1.075 0.016
6.8 6.1
55.0 13.2
22.3 4.3
31.7 22.0
4.3 1.6
62.1 23.9
82.0 30.6
78.0 80.6
78.5 29.6
109.7 52.0
88.9 37.7
73.4 31.6
* IRM = 1 repetition maximum (best performances in either
training or competition).
t Bench press: elite, n = 20; nonelite, n - 84.
ing previous and current competitive performances and
typical training habits and routines. Descriptive and
weightlifting data are listed in Table 1.
The best competitive weightlifting performances for
each subject were determined from the total kilograms
lifted for both the snatch lift and the clean and jerk lift.
Most of these performances occurred at the competitions
where this investigation was being carried out. Best per-
formances for some subjects occurred at prior competi-
tions, and were verified with the records of U.S.A.
Weightlifting, the national governing body. Because the
subjects represented a wide range of body weights that
would infiuence the amount of weight that could be lifted,
all weightlifting performances were corrected for body
weight using the Sinclair formula (33). This validated for-
mula is specific to weightlifting, and is updated every 4-
year Olympic cycle based on the current world records for
each weight class. Using the body weight-adjusted
weightlifting performances, the subjects whose perfor-
mances were in the top 17.5% were classified as elite (n
= 20), and all remaining subjects were classified as non-
elite (n = 95). The elite group represented approximately
the top 1.5% of all registered junior-aged American men
weightlifters registered as athletes at the time of the
study, or 1 in every 67 junior men weightlifters. Weight-
lifting performances for the elite group are approximately
64% of the current world records for junior-aged men, and
are 81.1% of the current Junior World Championships
qualifying total.
Physical and Performance Tests
All testing was performed after all weightlifting compe-
tition was completed for each subject. The following test
battery was then administered in the order listed.
Grip Strength. A Takei Kiki Kogyo hand grip dyna-
mometer (Country Technology, Inc., Gays Mills, WI) was
used to determine hand grip fbrce (N). The dynamometer
was adjusted for each subject's hand size, and grip
strength was determined using the method described by
Clarke (8). Two trials were administered, with the high-
est force of the 2 measures recorded.
Body Composition. A Lange skinfold caliper (Cam-
bridge Instruments, Cambridge, MA) was used to deter-
mine skinfold thicknesses (10 g constant pressure-mm-^).
The Jackson-Pollock generalized skinfold equation for 7
sites (20) was used to estimate body density (g-mhO, and
the Siri equation (34) was used to determine relative fat
levels (%). From these data, fat mass (FM) and fat-free
mass (FFM) were also determined.
Anthropometric Measures. Body weight (kg) was de-
termined with a certified digital scale used for official
weigh-ins for each competition. Height (cm) was deter-
mined using a wall scale and a Broca plane with the head
held in the Frankfort plane (17). Each subject was mea-
sured while in stocking feet. Body mass index (BMI) was
calculated as BW/Hgt^ (27), and was used as an indicator
of body type. Body segment dimensions were measured
using a wall scale or a broad-blade anthropometer and
easily recognizable anatomical landmarks. Leg length
was determined by measuring the height of the greater
trochanter (5), and torso length (including the head) was
determined by subtracting leg length from Hgt (5). Other
segments measured included arm length, forearm length,
upper limb length, hand length, tibial height, and thigh
length (28). To permit comparison of individuals of differ-
ent stature, segmental lengths were expressed as per-
centages of Hgt. Based on suggestions in the weightlifting
literature (22), forearm length-arm length and thigh
length-tibial height ratios were also calculated using ab-
solute measures (cm).
Jump Tests. A standing vertical jump (VJ) test was
administered using a Vertec vertical jump tester (Sports
Imports, Columbus, OH). Two trials were taken using an
arm swing action, a countermovement, and no steps (18).
The difference between standing reach and vertical jump
reach was calculated as VJ height. Lower body power (W)
was estimated from body mass and vertical jump height
using both the Harman equation (18) and the Lewis equa-
tion (10). Two trials of a standing long jump test were
then administered using arm swing, a countermovement,
and no steps (2). The Matorin jump test was also per-
formed (3). This test involved a twisting action during a
vertical jump. Performance was measured as degrees of
rotation attained by each subject while in the air. This
jump test was performed on a wooden platform marked
every 10 of rotation. The Matorin jump test has been
previously suggested as a test for muscular power, gross
motor control, and kinesthetic awareness (3).
Range of Motion. Shoulder fiexibility was assessed
with a meter stick and a wooden dowel. Each subject
grasped the dowel with a biacromial-width grip while ly-
ing in a prone position. Keeping the nose in contact with
the ground, the subject then fiexed the shoulders to a
maximum height from the ground. The maximal height
at which the dowel could be statically held was recorded
in centimeters (16). Relative shoulder fiexibility was also
determined, adjusting for each subject's arm length (16).
Hip and lower back range of motion were determined us-
ing a sit and reach box and standard sit and reach test
procedures (35). The best of 2 trials was recorded for each
of these range of motion tests.
Overhead Squat Flexibility.. The overhead squat is a
movement peculiar to the sport of weightlifting. As an
VARIABLES DISCRIMINATING ELITE WEIGHTLIFTERS 863
exercise, it involves holding an Olympic barbell overhead
using a wide grip. The individual then performs a full
squat, including both lowering to the lowest position and
returning to a standing position (37). Not only is this an
assistance exercise for the sport of weightlifting, but it
also mimics the bottom position during a snatch lift (9).
Both of the competitive lifts in the sport of weightlifting
(i.e., snatch, clean and jerk) require the capacity to per-
form a full squat while holding the barbell either over-
head or on the anterior portion of the deltoids, thus re-
quiring appropriate flexibility. For the purpose of the pre-
sent study, each subject performed an overhead squat
while holding a wooden dowel. The dowel was etched with
markings similar to those found on an Olympic barbell to
facilitate an appropriate-width grip. Each subject per-
formed this test in their stocking feet, and were video-
taped while holding the bottom position for 5 seconds.
Video analysis included the following measures: the
shank (center of rotation of the knee to the lateral mal-
leolus) angle relative to horizontal, the thigh (greater tro-
chanter to the center of rotation of the knee) angle rela-
tive to horizontal, the torso (center of rotation of the
shoulder to the greater trochanter) angle relative to hor-
izontal, the internal angle of the knee, the internal angle
of the hip, and the angle of shoulder flexion from the an-
atomical position. All measures were recorded in degrees.
Although most of the tests administered are very stan-
dardized and well recognized assessments, test-retest re-
liability on the specific subject pool used in the present
study could not be obtained. To counter this potential
problem, all testers were throroughly trained and famil-
iarized with proper test administration prior to actual
data collection. Additionally, all tests were administered
by the same tester to avoid intertester errors.
Statistical Analyses
All data are presented as mean SD. Based on previ-
ously suggested indicators of weightlifting performance
(3, 14, 15, 22, 25, 26, 29, 31, 35, 36), 31 different variables
were measured or calculated for use in the present inves-
tigation. These variables were grouped as follows accord-
ing to the types of data they represent, with variables
included in the stepwise discriminant analysis (see next
paragraph) indicated by *; (a) body composition and type:
body weight, height, body density, relative fat*, fat mass,
fat-free mass, and body mass index*; (b) muscular
strength: grip strength*; (c) relative segmental lengths
and segmental ratios: arm length*, forearm length, hand
length*, tibial height, leg length, thigh length, upper limb
length, torso length*, forearm length-arm length ratio*,
and thigh length-tibial height ratio*; (d) jumps: vertical
jump height*, peak vertical jump power (Harman), mean
vertical jump power (Lewis), standing long jump distance,
and Matorin jump degrees of rotation*; (e) range of mo-
tion: sit and reach distance*, absolute shoulder flexibili-
ty*, and relative shoulder flexibility; (f) overhead squat:
relative shank angle*, relative thigh angle, relative torso
angle*, internal knee angle, internal hip angle, and
shoulder flexion angle.
To avoid unacceptable shared variances, common
zero-order correlation coefflcients (r^) were determined
for each separate variable group. Fourteen easily ob-
tained variables with low shared variances were included
in a stepwise discriminant analysis. Because of the lack
of scientific data on weightlifting talent identification.
TABLE 2. Performance test results for elite (n = 20) and non-
elite {n = 95) junior-age male weightlifter groups (mean SD).
Variable
Vertical jump (cm)
Vertical jump power
Mean power
Peak power
Standing long jump
(cm)
Matorin jump (de-
grees of rotation)
Grip strength (kg)
Sit and reach flexi-
bility (cm)
Shoulder flexion (cm)
Relative shoulder
flexion
Elite
69.7 11.1
(W)
1,218,1 218,6
4,909,3 831,5
263,4 21,6
557,9 197,7
52,5 8,1
36,5 9,0
55,6 12,8
68,5 15.9
Nonelite
51,5 12,8
964.8 303,1
3,569,4 1,113.7
212,7 34,3
436,9 155.0
42,2 11,1
31,6 8,7
48,1 13,6
60,5 16,9
TABLE 3. Physical dimensions and proportions of elite (n =
20) and nonelite (n = 95) junior-aged male weightlifter groups
(mean SD),*
Variable
Relative arm length
Relative forearm
length
Relative hand length
Relative tibial height
Relative leg length
Relative thigh length
Relative total arm
length
Relative torso length
Forearm length-arm
length ratio
Thigh length-tibial
height ratio
Elite
21,8 1,0
16,4 0,6
11,1 0,4
25,9 1,6
52,1 2,2
26,3 1,7
48,2 1,1
73,7 1,7
0,79 0,03
1,02 0,11
Nonelite
20,7 0,8
16,4 0,9
11,0 0,5
27,0 1,6
52,0 1,7
24,9 2,0
48,1 1.5
75,1 2,0
0,79 0,09
0.93 0,11
* Relative lengths are give as percentages of height. Total arm
length = arm length + forearm length + hand length; torso =
torso length + head length.
and the exploratory nature of the present study, a hier-
achical analysis was not practical. The selection of the 14
variables for inclusion in the discriminant analysis re-
sulted in approximately 8 subjects per variable, thus re-
quiring the use of an adjusted R value (30). A discrimi-
nant analysis using the Wilks A was performed to deter-
mine the ahility to discriminate between the elite and
nonelite subjects using the 14 selected variables (p <
0.01). Based on these results, predicted group classifica-
tions were calculated, and proportional chance criteria
were calculated from the percentage correctly classified
to determine whether the predicted classifications were
significantly different from chance. The percentage ex-
plained variance for those variables significantly contrib-
uting to the multiple-discriminant equation was deter-
mined from the p scores.
RESULTS
Tahles 1-4 list the variables (mean SD) describing both
the elite and nonelite groups of junior-aged male weight-
lifters. The 14 variables selected for inclusion in the dis-
criminant analysis exhibited low shared variances, as ex-
hihited by their common zero-order correlation coeffi-
864 FRY, CIROSLAN, FRY ET AL.
TABLE 4. Kinematic data for overhead squat test for elite {n
= 20) and nonelite ( = 95) junior-aged male weightlifter groups
(mean SD).
Variable Elite Nonelite
Relative shank angle
Relative thigh angle
Relative torso angle
Internal knee angle
Internal hip angle
Shoulder flexion
58,3 5,3
19,9 15,6
63,0 9,7
47,0 13,7
51,9 12,1
220,1 19.1
59,4 6,9
12.1 11.9
54,0 10,3
49,4 13,2
45.2 13,8
233,6 20,0
* All measurements are given in degrees. Relative angle is the
angle between the segment and the horizontal. Shoulder flexion
is degrees of rotation from anatomical position.
cients (see Table 5). The only exception to this was the
shared variance for BMI and relative fat levels (r^ =
0,80). Despite the shared variance, both of these variables
were included in the multiple discriminant analysis, he-
cause BMI is an indicator of heing overweight and is not
necessarily an indicator of relative fat content (7). Dis-
criminant functions were calculated from a stepwise mul-
tiple discriminant analysis (Wilks A = 0.664; x^ = 44.88;
df = 5; p < 0.0001; adjusted i?^ = o.67). Five variahles
significantly contributed to the resulting regression equa-
tion, which correctly classified 84.35% of the suhjects (see
Table 6). This is significant when compared to the pro-
portional chance (p < 0.05). No holdout sample was used
to verify the validity of the classification, and therefore
the value of 84.35% may he somewhat inflated. The dis-
criminant function coefflcients indicated t hat of the
84.35% explained variance, group classiflcation was ex-
plained hy BMI (23.13%), VJ (22.78%), relative fat (% fat;
18.09%), grip strength (14.43%), and relative torso angle
for an overhead squat (5,92%) (see Table 7). The following
regression equation was derived for classifying athletes
into the elite and nonelite groups.
D = -6.556609 + 0.2067(BMI)
+ 0,0698899(VJ[cm]) - 0.1019065(% fat)
- 0.05057251(grip[kg]) + 0.0225579(torso angle)
where D is the group classiflcation score.
Group centroids were calculated for determining pre-
dicted group classiflcations (see Table 6), and a cutoff val-
ue for D of 0.60203 was determined for differentiating the
elite and nonelite groups (23). When maximal values for
the elite group were included in the regression equation,
a D of 4.29 was ohtained.
DISCUSSION
Many of the performance data for hoth the elite and the
nonelite groups indicate a high percentile ranking (e.g.,
>90%) for these athletes when using normative data de-
rived from North American physical education classes
and fltness programs (2, 4, 8, 16, 21). Although not part
of standard fltness hatteries, results for the overhead
squat test were in agreement with previous squat kine-
matic data (11). This is not surprising, because all of the
athletes had to attain national qualifying standards for
weightlifting hefore they could participate in the study.
As a result, only those individuals with considerable ath-
letic capahilities were part of the subject pool for this in-
vestigation. The levels of training and weightlifting per-
formance for the athletes in the present study were sim-
ilar to those of elite American junior-aged weightlifters
t hat have previously heen studied (13, 24).
Of particular interest are the 5 variables t hat have
been identifled as contributing most to the correct clas-
sification of elite male junior weightlifters: body mass in-
dex, vertical jump height, relative fat, grip strength, and
torso angle during an overhead squat. These variables
represent measures of body build, lower body power, body
composition, muscular strength, and flexibility and kin-
esthetic awareness. Empirically-derived test batteries
used by various weightlifting coaches in the United
States have considerable overlap with these 5 variables
(K. Pierce, J. Coffee, M. Cohen, and D. Snethen, personal
communications, 1995). Test batteries developed for
weightlifting programs in other countries also include
measures of lower body power (22, 35), muscular strength
(35), and flexibility and kinesthetic awareness (35), and
indices of hody weight and height (35).
The regression equation used for estimating group
classification was 84.36% correct. Although over 15% of
the variance was not accounted for by the variahles mea-
sured in the current study, it has been pointed out t hat
many factors are likely to contribute to elite sports per-
formance (6); thus, the unexplained variance is not un-
reasonable. Only 1 elite weightlifter was incorrectly clas-
TABLE 5. Common zero-order variances (r^) of variables selected for inclusion in the discriminant analysis,*
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
0,12
0,03
0,16
0,07
0,01
0,01
0,03
0,03
0.04
0,01
0,02
0.08
0,49
_
0,00
0,08
0,04
0,00
0,01
0,04
0,01
0,06
0,07
0,01
0,80
0,02

0,02
0.00
0,04
0,01
0,01
0,00
0,03
0,10
0,00
0.00
0,00

0,08
0,10
0,05
0,03
0,01
0,42
0,01
0,00
0.13
0,01

0.01
0,01
0,04
0,02
0,05
0,01
0,01
0,05
0,01

0,12
0,10
0,01
0,20
0,02
0,00
0,02
0,03

0.01
0,00
0.03
0,06
0.00
0.00
0,02

0,14
0,05
0,00
0,00
0,04
0,00
0,01
0,00
0,00
0,01
0,01
0,02
0.00
0,12
0,15
0.03
0,02
0,00

0,00
0,00 0,00
* 1 = relative fat; 2 = relative torso angle; 3 = forearm length-arm length ratio; 4 = vertical jump height; 5 = Matorin jump; 6
= sit and reach; 7 = shoulder flexion; 8 = torso angle; 9 = shank angle; 10 = grip strength; 11 = relative arm length; 12 = relative
hand length; 13 = thigh length/tibial height; 14 = body mass index.
VARIABLES DISCRIMINATING ELITE WEIGHTLIFTERS 865
TABLE 6. Classification results for predicted group member-
ship.*
No.
Actual group of Cases
Predicted membership
Elite Nonelite
Group
centroid
Elite 20 19 (95.0%) 1 (5.0%) 1.52948
Nonelite 95 17 (17.9%) 78 (82.1%) -0.32542
* 84.35% of subjects correctly classified (p < 0.01).
sified as a nonelite weightlifter (5% of the elite group),
whereas 17 nonelite weightlifters were incorrectly clas-
sified as elite weightlifters (17.9 % ofthe nonelite group).
Such disparity is acceptable because it is preferable to
incorrectly identify an athlete as having elite weightlift-
ing potential than to miss identifying a potentially elite
weightlifter. This gives the benefit of the doubt to an in-
dividual. The weighting of importance of each of the 5
selected variables is supported by the weightlifting sci-
entific and coaching literature, which has indicated the
importance of lower body power (3, 14, 15, 22, 25, 26, 29,
31, 35, 36), body build (3,12, 22, 25, 26, 29, 31, 35), mus-
cular strength (3, 22, 25, 26, 35), and fiexibility and kin-
esthetic awareness (3, 22, 26, 35).
It is difficult to compare these data to reports from
weightlifting programs in other countries. In many cases,
not enough information is provided concerning the meth-
ods of measurement, which could greatly affect the re-
sults (22, 29, 31). What can be observed is that different
attempts to identify potential weightlifting talent have
focused on similar types of measures. Previously reported
talent identification test batteries and weightlifting data
have included or suggested tests for vertical jump (14,15,
22, 35, 36), standing long jump (22), relative fat (31), in-
dices of height and weight (31, 35), and various segmental
dimensions and proportions (22, 31). Where possihle, it
appears that the data collected in the present investiga-
tion are comparable to previous reports, but as mentioned
before, direct comparisons are not possible. It has been
suggested that some measures of lower-body segmental
proportionality are not stable through the developmental
years, and thus would not be good candidates for talent
identification purposes (1). It should be noted, however,
that none of the anthropometric measures were signifi-
cant discriminators in the present study.
Success in many different sporting activities would
most likely be dependent in part on muscular strength
and power and on body type and composition. As a con-
sequence, those responsible for talent identification for
other sports might also be interested in these character-
istics. However, the inclusion of measures specific to
weightlifting in the regression equation, such as torso an-
gle and a high BMI, makes the resulting test battery
TABLE 7. Standardized discriminant function coefficients.
Variable
Body mass index
Vertical jump
height
Relative fat
Grip strength
Torso angle
Total
Function
0.87031
0.85699
-0.68102
-0.54332
0.22294
Percentage of
total variance
27.42
27.00
21.45
17.11
7.02
100.00
Percentage
of explained
variance
23.13
22.78
18.09
14.43
5.92
84.35
unique to this sport. Many of the measured variables
were not selected for inclusion in the discriminant anal-
ysis, or were not significant contributors to the regression
equation for predicted group classification (e.g., relative
segmental lengths, standing long jump, and Matorin
jump). Although previous data suggest that these vari-
ables may be related to weightlifting performance, their
contributions were apparently accounted for by 1 or more
of the 5 selected variables.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
Elite weightlifting performance in junior-aged males was
associated with BMI, lower body power, relative fat lev-
els, grip strength, and torso angle when performing an
overhead squat. Performance on these variables correctly
classified 84.35% of the competitors at national champi-
onships as either elite (top 20%) or nonelite (bottom 80%).
It is suggested that these tests can be used for weight-
lifting talent identification purposes. The regression
equation derived from the discriminant analysis identi-
fies the cutoff between the elite and nonelite groups. Such
treatment of the data is capable of identifying the top 1%
ofthe subject population studied, thus identifying relative
talent pools similar to programs in other countries (35).
Each of the tests selected can be easily applied in a field
setting, and provides practical insight on future weight-
lifting talent. It can he clearly demonstrated that much
valid information may be garnered from only a few simple
field tests. Previously suggested test batteries have in-
cluded many different tests, some of which were redun-
dant in nature. For example, some test batteries have in-
cluded up to 3 different jump tests, all of which provided
essentially the same information (i.e., lower body power).
The 5 tests recommended in the present study all identify
different variables that are important to weightlifting. By
minimization of the number of different tests required,
test administration is tremendously simplified.
As an example of the applicability of such testing, a
follow-up group of junior-aged men in = 502) were tested
by coaches at 3 different sites across the country to ex-
amine the practicality of such a test administration, as
well as the ability to develop an appropriate scoring sys-
tem for talent identification purposes (unpublished data).
Based on the results of the present study and on previ-
ously developed age-adjusted normative data for the 5
tests included, 14 young men were identified as having
high levels of weightlifting potential. This group repre-
sented approximately 1.0% ofthe entire pool of American
junior-aged men weightlifters. Considering that 0.5% of
American junior-aged men weightlifters have met or ex-
ceeded the qualifying total for the Junior World Cham-
pionships, based on the most recent data from U.S.A.
Weightlifting, this permits the identification of a select
group of potential elite athletes. Additionally, the local
coaches were notified of all scores for each ofthe test sites
for possihle follow-up recruitment for the sport of weight-
lifting.
Obviously, the results ofthe present study are specific
to the sport of weightlifting. Although many of the char-
acteristics measured may be important contributors for
high-level performance in a variety of sports, these re-
sults may not necessarily transfer. Finally, it must be
pointed out that regardless of the test battery adminis-
tered, any talent identification project must also include
a program for recruiting and training individuals identi-
fied with potential for high level performances.
866 FRY, CIROSLAN, FRY ET AL.
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Acknowledgments
The author would like to thank Howard Cohen, Michael Cohen,
and Dennis Snethen, for their support and cooperation with data
collection for this project. Appreciation is extended to Lyn Jones
for providing background information, and to Leo Totten and
Brian Derwin for follow-up testing. Thanks is also extended to
the individuals who assisted with the data collection; Leigh
Ramsey, Scott Chochon, Andrew Austin, Benton Wilbanks,
Amanda Powell, Thomas Pickering, Gary Royals, and Mark
Watts.
Address correspondence to Dr. Andrew C. Fry, afry
memphis.edu.