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The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of load on lower extremity biomechanics during the pull-phase of the clean. Kinematic and kinetic data of the three joints of the lower extremity were collected while participants performed multiple sets of cleans at three percentages: 65, 75, and 85% of 1-Reptition maximum (RM). General linear models with repeated measures were used to assess the influence of load on angular velocities, net torques, powers, and rates of torque development at the ankle, knee, and hip joint. The results suggest that the biomechanical demands required from the lower extremities change with the lifted load and to an extent depend on the respective joint. Most notably, the hip and knee extended significantly faster than the ankle independent of load, while the hip and ankle generally produced significantly higher torques than the knee. Torque, rate of torque development, and power at the ankle and knee joint were maximal at 85% and 75% of 1-RM, respectively, whereas torque and rate of torque development at the hip were maximal at loads above 75% and 85% of 1-RM, respectively. This study provides important novel information about the mechanical demands of a weightlifting exercise and should be heeded in the design of resistance training programs.

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This is a non-final version of an article published in final form in Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25(5). DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181da780b