Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2023) 22, 778 - 789   DOI:

Research article
Effects of Expertise on Muscle Activity during the Hang Power Clean and Hang Power Snatch Compared to Snatch and Clean Pulls – An Explorative Analysis
Stephan Geisler1,†, , Tim Havers1,†, Eduard Isenmann1,2, Jonas Schulze2, Leonie K. Lourens2, Jannik Nowak2, Steffen Held3,4, G. Gregory Haff5,6
Author Information
1 Department of Fitness and Health, IST-University of Applied Sciences, Dusseldorf, Germany
2 Department of Molecular and Cellular Sports Medicine, Institute for Cardiovascular Research and Sports Medicine, German Sports University, Cologne, Germany
3 Department of Intervention Research in Exercise Training, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany
4 Department of Sport and Management, IST University of Applied Sciences, Duesseldorf, Germany
5 School of Medical and Health Sciences, Centre for Human Performance, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Western Australia
6 Directorate of Psychology and Sport, University of Salford, Salford, United Kingdom
These authors contributed equally to this work.

Stephan Geisler
✉ Department of Fitness and Health, IST-University of Applied Sciences, Dusseldorf, Germany
Publish Date
Received: 06-08-2023
Accepted: 13-11-2023
Published (online): 01-12-2023

The purpose was to compare the electromyographic (EMG) activity of the Hang Power Clean (HPC) and Hang Power Snatch (HPS) with the Hang Clean Pull (HCP) and Hang Snatch Pull (HSP). Additionally, the influence of weightlifting expertise (beginner, advanced and elite) on EMG activity was analyzed. Twenty-seven weightlifters (beginner: n = 11, age: 23.9 ± 3.2 years, bodyweight: 75.7 ± 10.5 kg; advanced: n = 10, age: 24.8 ± 4.5 years, bodyweight: 69.4 ± 13.9 kg; elite: n = 6, age: 25.5 ± 5.2 years, bodyweight: 75.5 ± 12.5 kg) participated in this study. Participants performed two repetitions of HPC, HPS, HCP, and HSP at 50%, 70%, and 90% 1RM, respectively. The EMG activity of vastus lateralis (VL), gluteus maximus (GM), erector spinae (ES), rectus abdominis (RA) and trapezius (TZ) was recorded and normalized to the maximum voluntary isometric contraction (MVIC) of each muscle. There were significant differences in RA and ES EMG activity at 70% and 90% 1RM during HPC compared to HCP in the beginner group (p < 0.05, Hedges g = 0.50-1.06). Significant greater ES activity was observed in the beginner, advanced, and elite groups (p < 0.05, g = 0.27-0.98) during the HPS when compared to the HSP at 50-90% 1RM. TZ muscle activity was significantly greater at 50% and 70% 1RM in the HCP compared to the HPC in the elite group (p < 0.05, g = 0.61-1.08), while the beginner group reached significance only at 50% 1RM favoring HPC (p < 0.05, g = 0.38). Moreover, the EMG activity of the TZ during the HSP and HPS was significantly different only at 50% 1RM in the elite group and favored HSP (p < 0.05, g = 0.27). No differences were observed between the levels of weightlifting expertise. Based upon the results of this study, the overall pattern of EMG activity of the predominant muscles involved in HPC/HPS and the corresponding weightlifting pulling derivatives, apart from the stabilizing muscle (RA and ES), is similar at higher intensities (>70% 1RM) and expertise does not influence muscle activity.

Key words: Electromyography, weightlifting, expertise, motor learning, muscle recruitment, muscle excitation

           Key Points
  • There were no significant differences in vastus lateralis, trapezius or gluteus maximus muscle activity at higher intensities (> 70% 1RM) between the hang clean pull and the hang power clean or the hang snatch pull and the hang power snatch.
  • Muscle activity in the stabilizing muscles (M. rectus abdominis, M. erector spinae) is significantly different between pulling and catching weightlifting derivatives.
  • Regarding the level of expertise, there is no significant difference in muscle activity between beginners, advanced and elite weightlifters in any weightlifting derivative.
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