Research Topic

Understanding & Improving Performance in Strength Sports

About this Research Topic

Strength sports like Olympic weightlifting appeared around the 19th century and have since grown considerably. Nowadays, a plethora of different sports fall under the category of “strength sports” with Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting and strongman being among the most popular. Despite the name implying ...

Strength sports like Olympic weightlifting appeared around the 19th century and have since grown considerably. Nowadays, a plethora of different sports fall under the category of “strength sports” with Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting and strongman being among the most popular. Despite the name implying “strength” being the main performance outcome, many strength sports test a multitude of physiological capabilities in combination to maximal strength (e.g., anaerobic capacity, power, muscular endurance). The popularity of strength sports has been on the rise in the past decade, with competitions and participants reaching all-time highs. Participation in some of the biggest powerlifting federations in the USA has increased almost tenfold in the last 5 years. Similarly to powerlifting, the sport of strongman has also been rapidly growing with its “World’s Strongest Man” event reaching approximately 220 million views in 2019.

Despite the rise of strength sports in popularity, there is currently very little scientific evidence available around the training and nutritional methods of strength sport athletes. The available scientific evidence that strength sport athletes and coaches often have to rely on involves training interventions with recreationally trained participants, something that limits the applicability and practical implications of the studies’ findings to trained athletes. Further research in the context of strength sports, especially investigating the effects of different training methods on different performance outcomes, will not only allow for better practical recommendations for high-level and amateur strength athletes but may also have practical implications for recreationally trained individuals.

The aim of this Research Topic is to collect manuscripts that attempt to directly investigate any aspect of strength sports. In particular, we encourage submissions with a particular emphasis on intervention research, considering that this is an area where evidence is lacking. Likewise, manuscripts that attempt to investigate any of the different factors that may affect performance in strength sports are of great interest.

Examples of these factors include:
• Physiological responses to acute/chronic exercise or nutritional interventions in strength sport athletes
• Biomechanics of strength sport athletes (e.g., powerlifters, strongmen)
• Nutritional strategies/interventions used by/with strength sport athletes
• Psychological strategies/interventions used by/with strength sport athletes to enhance performance
• Training practices used by strength sport athletes

Aside from directly investigating the effect of different training interventions on strength sports performance, gaining valuable insight regarding the training practices of strength sport athletes and coaches will also be of great practical value to the strength sport community.

We would like to acknowledge that Patroklos Androulakis-Korakakis (Solent University, Southampton, United Kingdom) acted as a Topic Coordinator and has contributed to the preparation of the proposal of this Research Topic.

Inclusion criteria for non-strength sports populations:
If examining the application of strength sports training practices in other populations (e.g. noncompetitive, other sports, clinical populations) then the authors should make this clear and note the rationale for examining their application in populations outside of the strength sports. For otherwise healthy populations but currently not engaged in strength sports – it would be preferable if authors are also able to describe the prior training experience of the population.

That aside, the following criteria must be met:
Inclusion of at least one of the powerlifts (SQ, BP, DL) or Olympic lifts (C&J, SN) in the intervention and as a pre/post 1RM/RM/muscle endurance test.

Note: The above would apply to any strongman related event (eg: Atlas stones, farmers walk, Yoke carry etc).

Intervention outcomes related to strength sports performance:
1RM strength in the powerlifts/Olympic lifts – application to: CrossFit, Powerlifting, Strongman, Olympic weightlifting
RM strength in the powerlifts/Olympic lifts – application to: CrossFit, Powerlifting, Strongman, Olympic weightlifting
Muscle endurance in the powerlifts/Olympic lifts – application to: CrossFit, Strongman


Keywords: Strength, Powerlifting, Strongman, Resistance Training, Nutrition


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

28 February 2021 Abstract
31 August 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

28 February 2021 Abstract
31 August 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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