The back squat and the power clean: Elicitation of different degrees of potentiation

Seitz, Laurent B., Trajano, Gabriel S., & Haff, G. Gregory (2014) The back squat and the power clean: Elicitation of different degrees of potentiation. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 9(4), pp. 643-649.

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  • To compare the acute effects of back squats and power cleans on sprint performance.


  • Thirteen elite junior rugby league players performed 20-m linear sprints before and 7 min after 2 different conditioning activities or 1 control condition. The conditioning activities included 1 set of 3 back squats or power cleans at 90% 1-repetition maximum. A 2 × 2 repeated-measures ANOVA was used to compare preconditioning and postconditioning changes in sprint performance.


  • Both the back-squat and power-clean conditioning activities demonstrated a potentiation effect as indicated by improved sprint time (back squat: P = .001, ES = –0.66; power cleans: P = .001, ES = –0.92), velocity (back squat: P = .001, ES = 0.63; power cleans: P = .001, ES = 0.84), and average acceleration over 20 m (back squat: P = .001, ES = 0.70; power cleans: P = .001, ES = 1.00). No potentiation effect was observed after the control condition. Overall, the power clean induced a greater improvement in sprint time (P = .042, ES = 0.83), velocity (P = .047, ES = 1.17), and average acceleration (P = .05, ES = 0.87) than the back squat.


  • Back-squat and power-clean conditioning activities both induced improvements in sprint performance when included as part of a potentiation protocol. However, the magnitude of improvement was greater after the power cleans. From a practical perspective, strength and conditioning coaches should consider using power cleans rather than back squats to maximize the performance effects of potentiation complexes targeting the development of sprint performance.

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ID Code: 96717
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1123/IJSPP.2013-0358
ISSN: 1555-0273
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Deposited On: 07 Jul 2016 23:07
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2016 04:57

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