Isometric mid thigh pull (IMTP) is rapidly becoming the foundation strength test for athlete assessment globally. The athlete stands on the force plate gripping the bar as they would to perform a deadlift with knees and hips flexed, back straight and head up. The height of the barbell is adjusted so that it crosses the thighs at the midpoint between the hip and knee joints. When instructed the athlete pulls upward on the bar rapidly with maximal effort maintaining the effort until the force output starts to decline.
The mid-thigh position can be marked on the athlete prior to commencing the testing by locating the centre of rotation of the knee and hip joints, measuring the distance between the two, dividing this distance in half and then marking this point on the front (anterior) of each thigh.
The athlete is instructed to assume their preferred deadlift position self selecting hip and knee angles but at a depth such that the barbell is in contact with the mid thigh location. The height of the bar is adjusted up or down so that it crosses the thighs in the correct position.
Two different isometric strength testing racks are recommended:
- The Innervations isometric strength testing rig is designed to be highly portable for testing in the field. Composed entirely of carbon fiber with infinitely adjustable cargo straps, the rig weighs less than 2kg and packs down to 45cm x 10cm x 10 cm.
- The Fitness Technology IMTP Rack is designed so that the barbell can be moved up or down by 3 cm increments. One or two spacer sheets of 1 cm thickness can then be placed on the force plate to provide adjustment of barbell height to an accuracy of 1 cm. This is a VERY strong and stiff device and ideal for isometric strength testing in the weight room or laboratory.,
Once in position the trial can begin.
Instructions to the athlete are to pull upwards on the bar “as hard and as fast” as possible and to continue the maximum effort until instructed to relax.
The trial should be counted in with the instructions “3, 2, 1, GO!”
The force output is observed as it rises up to a peak and when it begins to decline as the athlete fatigues the instruction “Relax!” should be given. The duration of the maximum effort should be five seconds or less.