Aspen E. Streetman1, Halle N. Brin1, Emily L. Mailey1, & Katie M. Heinrich1, FACSM

1Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas

Exercise that promotes strength, increased muscle mass, and movement competency is important for various reasons, including improved physical health, mental well-being, and quality of life. Powerbuilding (PB) is a form of exercise that blends powerlifting and bodybuilding movements to increase strength and improve movement competency. While PB is popular in gym settings, to our knowledge it has not been tested as an exercise intervention. PURPOSE: To understand how PB changes women's strength and movement competency after an eight-week PB intervention. METHODS: Eighteen women, age 27.9 ± 12.6, with no PB experience, participated in an eight-week PB intervention, meeting for one hour three times weekly. All intervention workouts were structured similarly, including a standardized warm-up, workout instruction, and PB-based workout. During weeks one and eight of the intervention, strength was assessed using a three-repetition maximum (3-RM) test in the squat, bench press, and deadlift. Movement competency was assessed pre- and post-intervention using the basic human movement screener, which was scored according to standard procedures. Means ± standard deviations were calculated for all data. All data were checked for normality using the Shapiro-Wilks test. Non-normally distributed data were analyzed with the Wilcoxon signed rank test, and normally distributed data were analyzed with paired-sample t-tests. Cohen's d effect sizes were interpreted as small (d = 0.2), medium (d = 0.5), and large (d = 0.8). RESULTS: Three-repetition maximums increased significantly for the squat (Z = -3.73, p < 0.001), bench press (Z = -3.73, p < 0.001), deadlift [t(17) = 7.31, p < 0.001; d = 1.72]), and three lift 3-RM total (Z = -3.72, p < 0.001). Participants’ basic human movement scores improved significantly from pre- (24.3 ± 3.5) to post-intervention (29.5 ± 2.5; [t(17) = 10.04; p < 0.001; d = 2.37]). CONCLUSION: An eight-week PB intervention significantly improved women's strength and movement competency. Promoting PB participation may help women maintain strength and movement competency across the lifespan improving their overall quality of life.

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