Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)


Sport Physiology and Performance

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Brad DeWeese

Committee Members

Jeremy Gentles, Meg Stone, Larry Judge


Paralympic athletes (PA) appear to be more prone to chronic overuse injuries from daily wheelchair or crutch use. Over half of these injuries are shoulder related which can deleteriously impact quality of life. Adaptive powerlifters (AP) are a subdivision of Paralympic athletes and are at a higher risk for catastrophic injuries as compared to their counterparts, due to the compound of fatigue and lifting of maximal weights. For this reason, it is vital to have well-designed training plans for these athletes in order to preserve quality of life and maximize performance in competition. Unfortunately, there is a lack of literature on training adaptive athletes for performance. The purpose of this dissertation is to collect and analyze monitoring data of a para-powerlifter preparing for competition over the course of a six-month macrocycle. Specifically, the intention is to 1) explore options in adaptive monitoring measures for the adaptive athlete community via para-powerlifting 2) analyze trends in the training process with such monitoring methods in fatigue and performance and 3) examine efficient and safe training methods and practices for para-powerlifting. The major findings of this dissertation are 1.) Hand grip dynamometry may be a valid monitoring tool used to gain clarity on neuromuscular fatigue within para-powerlifters. 2.) Barbell velocities may reveal trends in fatigue and recovery over the course of a training cycle for para-powerlifters. 3.) Para-powerlifters and para-athletes training for upper-body power development should likely perform bench press using a strap to secure them to the bench for enhanced stability. The significant and consistently increased force outputs the added stability enables the athlete to utilize may bring more pronounced training adaptations towards their goals. This dissertation is exploratory in nature and much more research needs to be done to give the adaptive athlete population adequate information and tools for their long-term success and safety.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.