National Strength and Conditioning Association Position Statement on Weightlifting for Sports Performance

J Strength Cond Res. 2023 Jun 1;37(6):1163-1190. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000004476. Epub 2023 Mar 22.


Comfort, P, Haff, GG, Suchomel, TJ, Soriano, MA, Pierce, KC, Hornsby, WG, Haff, EE, Sommerfield, LM, Chavda, S, Morris, SJ, Fry, AC, and Stone, MH. National Strength and Conditioning Association position statement on weightlifting for sports performance. J Strength Cond Res 37(6): 1163-1190, 2023-The origins of weightlifting and feats of strength span back to ancient Egypt, China, and Greece, with the introduction of weightlifting into the Olympic Games in 1896. However, it was not until the 1950s that training based on weightlifting was adopted by strength coaches working with team sports and athletics, with weightlifting research in peer-reviewed journals becoming prominent since the 1970s. Over the past few decades, researchers have focused on the use of weightlifting-based training to enhance performance in nonweightlifters because of the biomechanical similarities (e.g., rapid forceful extension of the hips, knees, and ankles) associated with the second pull phase of the clean and snatch, the drive/thrust phase of the jerk and athletic tasks such as jumping and sprinting. The highest force, rate of force development, and power outputs have been reported during such movements, highlighting the potential for such tasks to enhance these key physical qualities in athletes. In addition, the ability to manipulate barbell load across the extensive range of weightlifting exercises and their derivatives permits the strength and conditioning coach the opportunity to emphasize the development of strength-speed and speed-strength, as required for the individual athlete. As such, the results of numerous longitudinal studies and subsequent meta-analyses demonstrate the inclusion of weightlifting exercises into strength and conditioning programs results in greater improvements in force-production characteristics and performance in athletic tasks than general resistance training or plyometric training alone. However, it is essential that such exercises are appropriately programmed adopting a sequential approach across training blocks (including exercise variation, loads, and volumes) to ensure the desired adaptations, whereas strength and conditioning coaches emphasize appropriate technique and skill development of athletes performing such exercises.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Performance*
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Muscle Strength
  • Resistance Training* / methods
  • Weight Lifting