n International SportMed Journal - Comparing thigh muscle cross-sectional area and squat strength among national class Olympic weightlifters, power lifters, and bodybuilders

Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1528-3356



Few studies have compared anthropometric characteristics among national class athletes from different resistance training disciplines, such as Olympic Weightlifting (OL), Power Lifting (PL), and Bodybuilding (BB).

The purpose of the current study was to determine if significant differences exist in the relationship between thigh muscle cross-sectional area and back squat strength among national class athletes from the sports of OL, PL, and BB.
Fifteen national class athletes were assessed for back squat strength, mid-thigh circumference, and mid-thigh skinfold from which total thigh cross-sectional was estimated. A series of One-Way ANOVAs and Pearson Product Moment Correlations were used to compare groups and assess the relationship between variables.
The OL (200.18 + 25.16kg) and PL (205.45 + 17.28kg) groups were significantly stronger than the BB (160 + 16.80 kg; p < 0.05) group. However, mid-thigh skinfold thickness (p = 0.36), mid-thigh circumference (p = 0.87), and estimated thigh cross-sectional area (p = 0.34) were not significantly different between groups. Thigh muscle cross-sectional area was weakly correlated to back squat strength in the OL (r = .42) and PL (r = .12) groups, but moderately correlated in the BB (r = .70) group.
Thigh cross-sectional area was of relatively minor importance in determining back squat strength for the OL and PL groups, despite these groups being significantly stronger than the BB group. Specific training protocols will elicit different outcomes with regard to muscular hypertrophy that may or may not contribute to a functional increase in back squat strength.

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