ABSTRACT: Androulakis-Korakakis, P, Gentil, P, Fisher, JP, and Steele, J. Comparison of isolated lumbar extension strength in competitive and noncompetitive powerlifters, and recreationally trained men. J Strength Cond Res 35(3): 652-658, 2021-Low-back strength has been shown to significantly impact performance in a plethora of sports. Aside from its effect on sport performance, low-back strength is strongly associated with low-back pain. A sport that heavily involves the lower-back musculature is powerlifting. This study looked to compare isolated lumbar extension (ILEX) strength in competitive and noncompetitive powerlifters, and recreationally trained men. Thirteen competitive powerlifters (CPL group; 31.9 ± 7.6 years; 173.4 ± 5.5 cm; 91.75 ± 18.7 kg), 10 noncompetitive powerlifters (NCPL group; 24 ± 3.5 years; 179 ± 4.8 cm; 92.39 ± 15.73 kg), and 36 recreationally trained men (RECT group; 24.9 ± 6.5 years; 178.5 ± 5.2 cm; 81.6 ± 10.0 kg) were tested for ILEX. Isolated lumbar extension strength was measured at every 12° throughout subject's full range of motion (ROM) and expressed as the following: "strength index (SI)" calculated as the area under a torque curve from multiple angle testing, average torque produced across each joint angle (AVG), and maximum torque produced at a single angle (MAX). Deadlift and squat strength were measured using 1 repetition maximum for the competitive and noncompetitive powerlifters. The following powerlifting characteristics were recorded for the competitive and noncompetitive powerlifters: primary deadlift stance, primary squat bar position, use of belt, use of performance-enhancing drugs, and use of exercises to target the lower-back musculature. Significant between-group effects were found for subject characteristics (age, stature, body mass, and ROM). However, analysis of covariance with subject characteristics as covariates found no significant between-group effects for SI (p = 0.824), AVG (p = 0.757), or MAX (p = 0.572). In conclusion, this study suggests that powerlifting training likely has little impact on conditioning of the lumbar extensors.
Androulakis-Korakakis, P., Gentil, P., Fisher, J. P., & Steele, J. (2021). Comparison of Isolated Lumbar Extension Strength in Competitive and Noncompetitive Powerlifters, and Recreationally Trained Men. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 35(3), 652–658. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000002722