Isometric Mid Thigh Pull Setup Guide



  • The Isometric test is used to measure isometric strength for a wide range of muscle groups.  The most commonly used setup for this test type is the Isometric Mid-Thigh Pull.  The athlete stands still on the force plates grasping an immovable bar, and upon test initiation pulls as hard as possible for the duration of the test by trying to extend their hip and knee joints, pushing into the force plates


  • Adjust the bar height accordingly to the athlete’s lower body limb length
    • Body position should be comparable to the second pull position of the clean
    • Knee angles should be between 125-145 degrees
    • Hip angles should be between 140-150 degrees
    • A self-selected angle between the above recommended ranges is best practice in the applied setting
  • A clean grip with lifting straps, or an alternating grip without lifting straps should be used to ensure maximal force production is achieved and grip strength is not a limiting factor
    • Best practice is to standardize grip width, or measure grip width for each athlete to ensure test repeatability
    • In a research setting clean grip, lifting straps, and hands taped to the bar should be used 
    • In a practical setting, it may be more time efficient to have athlete use an alternating grip without straps
    • Either way, standardize the grip used between sessions (i.e. lifting straps or alternating grip)
    • Foot position should also be measured to ensure repeatability, however in an applied setting this may not always be feasible



  1. Have the athlete perform (3) 3-second sub maximal pulls at 1x50%, 1x75%, & 1x90% of perceived maximal effort
      • Allow for at least 60-seconds of rest between each pull.
      • These pulls can be completed on or off the force plates, if they are completed on the force plates a "tag" should be applied to indicate that these were not maximal pulls and are not included in the maximal pulls analysis
  2. Cue the athlete to step onto the force plates and perform a maximal pull
  3. Cue the athlete to remove all slack out of the bar, without pre-tensing the involved muscles
      • If you are using a rack for testing, ensure that the bar is snug against the hooks or pins
      • Bands may be attached above to hold the bar in place
  4. Cue the athlete to remain still during the quiet period, this ensures a proper system weight is recorded for the athlete
  5. Cue the athlete that the test is beginning and they have 3-seconds before they need to maximally pull
  6. Cue the athlete to “push their feet into the ground as fast and as hard as possible”
      • It is important to overemphasize pushing into the ground instead of pulling up on the bar, as research has showed this to be most effective
  7. Allow the athlete to pull for a period of 2-4 seconds before stopping
  8. Cue the athlete to remain still on the force plate until the trial is saved

A minimum of 2-trials should be performed in order to determine the athlete’s peak isometric force output. If after the second trial the athlete’s force output is higher than the first, the practitioner should have the athlete perform additional tests until the peak force output drops. This will ensure that the maximal force output was recorded for that day.


It is important to overemphasize pushing into the ground instead of pulling up on the bar, as research has showed this to be most effective. 


  • Strong verbal encouragement should be given by both the practitioner and teammates.
  • Research shows that verbal encouragement ensures maximal effort is achieved.
  • To ensure repeatability of testing conduct the test on the same day and time between testing session. This will ensure comparisons of data can be drawn and interpretations can be made.
  • Maximal force output is correlated to the readiness of the individual. If maximal force output is unexpectedly significantly lower than average, the practitioner should address the individual and training adjustments should be made. 


  • Comfort, Paul & Dos'Santos, Thomas & Beckham, George & Stone, Michael & Guppy, Stuart & Haff, Guy. (2018). Standardization and Methodological Considerations for the Isometric Midthigh Pull. Strength and Conditioning Journal. 41. 1.


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