The Relationship Between Physical Characteristics and Maximal Strength in Men Practicing the Back Squat, the Bench Press and the Deadlift

Int J Exerc Sci. 2020 Feb 1;13(4):281-297. eCollection 2020.


This study was designed to quantify the relationships between physical characteristics and maximal strength in the back squat, the bench press and the deadlift on powerlifters and football players. Eighteen male junior drug-tested classic powerlifters and seventeen NCAA Division II American football players' anthropometric measurements were taken to compare them with maximal strength results from either a powerlifting meet or testing from their supervised strength and conditioning program. Pearson's bivariate correlations analysis revealed (statistical significance was set at p<0.05) that individuals with a greater (Wilks points) back squat, generally presented a higher Bodyweight (BW) (r=0.37), Body Mass Index (BMI) (r=0.45), Bodyfat Percentage (BF%) (r=0.36), Hip (r=0.41), Waist (r=0.35) and Torso (r=0.41) Circumference (C), Hip C/Height (r=0.46), Waist C/Height (r=0.39) and Torso C/Height (r=0.45) ratios. The individuals with a greater bench press generally presented a higher BMI (r=0.37), Lean Body Weight (LBW) (r=0.36), Hip C (r=0.39) and Hip C/Height ratio (r=0.39). On the other hand, individuals with a greater deadlift were generally older (r=0.34), shorter (r=-0.41), had shorter thighs (r=-0.52) and trunks (r=-0.36), smaller Thigh Length (L)/Height ratio (r=-0.44), Waist C/Hip C (r=-0.41) and Thigh L/Lower Leg L (r=-0.53) ratios, but a higher Lower Leg L/Height ratio (r=-046). The results of this study should be utilized by strength and conditioning coaches to deepen their comprehension of their athletes' physical characteristics in order to help them develop strength through their advantages. Further research should focus on evaluating how physical characteristics affect performance in different squat, bench, and deadlift stances.

Keywords: Body composition; anthropometry; conventional deadlift; sumo deadlift.