Preparing for a National Weightlifting Championship: A Case Series

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Preparing for a national weightlifting championship: A case series. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2019—This study aimed to characterize psychological, physiological, and performance changes of a high-level female (24.5 years; 53.8 ± 0.3 kg; 155.4 cm) and male (25.8 years; 92.7 ± 1.2 kg; 189 cm) weightlifter over 28 weeks while preparing for a national championship. Body mass, hydration, psychological inventories, serum biomarkers, vastus lateralis muscle cross-sectional area (CSA), and squat jump (SJ) performance were assessed weekly beginning 11 weeks from the competition date. Weightlifting performance goals were met for the female athlete (actual total = 159 kg) but not for the male athlete (actual total = 292 kg). Reductions in vastus lateralis CSA possibly took place the week leading into competition for both athletes. Both athletes reported positive recovery-stress states on the day of competition relative to baseline values. Fluctuations between steroid hormone concentrations and inflammatory markers were unpredictable and inconsistent for both athletes throughout the training program. Unloaded SJ height and rate of force development were the highest on competition day for both athletes. Based on these findings, it is possible for high-level male and female weightlifters to achieve and maintain peak preparedness 3–4 days before competition following a 1-week overreach and 3-week exponential taper, where training volume-load is reduced by half and intensity maintained or slightly increased relative to pretaper values. Furthermore, the short recovery and stress scale and SJ testing seem to be useful tools for sport scientists and coaches when monitoring high-level weightlifters preparing for competition.