T Nation

Are Oly's Really That Dangerous?

I’ve been practicing the olympic lifts (clean, snatch and push-press). I don’t have any 1on1 teaching in them, all my knowledge comes from here and a couple of other sites.

I practiced with that jump-shrug variation at first before practicing with just a bar.

The whole process before I was performing them with weights was about 3 weeks. I watched videos, read articles and practiced. Of course, I don’t have perfect or near perfect form, but I’ll probably get better with time.

Already, I’ve tested 1rm’s for the lifts without any problems or injury.

My question is, where does the danger lie? I’ve been performing them now with no supervision for about 4 weeks and no injuries, no problems.

[quote]Muppet wrote:
I’ve been practicing the olympic lifts (clean, snatch and push-press). I don’t have any 1on1 teaching in them, all my knowledge comes from here and a couple of other sites.

I practiced with that jump-shrug variation at first before practicing with just a bar.

The whole process before I was performing them with weights was about 3 weeks. I watched videos, read articles and practiced. Of course, I don’t have perfect or near perfect form, but I’ll probably get better with time.

Already, I’ve tested 1rm’s for the lifts without any problems or injury.

My question is, where does the danger lie? I’ve been performing them now with no supervision for about 4 weeks and no injuries, no problems.[/quote]

The danger lies in HIT nazis trying to justify their reliance on Nautilus machines.

It’s very demanding on your body so if used improper form, you’ll get screwed one day… Maybe, that’s why we don’t see old guys doing OLY lifts these days like powerlifters…

That’s just not true. There are master lifters out there who are Olympic lifting. The sport is much much smaller than powerlifting so the absolute # of master lifters is lower. Also powerlifting can be started at a later age a lot easier than O-lifting, although I’m not saying it can’t be done. The flexibility needed and power is the limiting factor. I train with two masters lifters. One who is over 60 and totals around 190 kilos in the 77 kg class.

I’ve been doing variations of them for over a year and have never injured myself. Arthur Dreschler discusses this topic at length in his Weightlifting Encyclopedia. Two of his points that I can recall of the top of my head are:

  1. You need to learn how to miss a lift before you start lifting heavy weight.
  2. Risk might be greater for those who have already built a lot of strength (on, for example, the PLs) before coming to O-lifting because the strength outstrips their coordination, flexibility, and familiarity with the lifts. I do not have any experience with this phenomenon myself; I am not strong enough that my strength is far beyond these other attributes.

[quote]Ross Hunt wrote:
I’ve been doing variations of them for over a year and have never injured myself. Arthur Dreschler discusses this topic at length in his Weightlifting Encyclopedia. Two of his points that I can recall of the top of my head are:

  1. You need to learn how to miss a lift before you start lifting heavy weight.
  2. Risk might be greater for those who have already built a lot of strength (on, for example, the PLs) before coming to O-lifting because the strength outstrips their coordination, flexibility, and familiarity with the lifts. I do not have any experience with this phenomenon myself; I am not strong enough that my strength is far beyond these other attributes.[/quote]

Good points, particularly #1. Good flexibility and experience (with regards to getting the hell out of the way of a heavy BB) are important. I’ve always been a little apprehensive, as I haven’t used bumpers and I lift in a commercial gym.

Unless you are working to compete at olympic lifting, you might want to use adjunct olympic movements that are a bit easier to learn and a bit safer, ie high pulls, snatch high pulls, etc.

You have to work at mastering your technique and you have to use the right equipment,such as an olympic bar that is designed for ballistic type lifting-trying to do the olympic lifts on a stiff power bar can lead to injuries. Most olympic lifting injuries are micro-repetitive in nature ( which can be true of lifting in general) and after years of stress can add up to some problems. I also stress the use of bumper plates do take some stress of the joints when returning the bar to the platform. Olympic lifting is fantastic, competed in it for years and continue to use the lifts in my training.

Keith

the only way i can explain it is its a lot easier to slip and mess up than powerlifts if u dont have the form mastered. and since u dont have a spot the chance of injury is greater.

The danger comes from not noticing the Barbie fitness instructor coming to tell you that OLY lifts are prohibited and “acidentaly” knocking her in the teeth with the bar.(My favorite variation of the “SIssy boy toe drop”)

La’
Redsol1

Be very careful with drop snatches if you’re not used to them, though. I had an amusing experience with them this morning…

   ... say no more.

Oly lifts are less forgiving of stupidity. They’re all momentum-based, and for a brief period, your body takes a fairly tremendous stress.

The path to injury is paved with testosterone. Generally someone will start with moderate loading and reasonable form. Then they’ll start jacking weight too early, before the technique and musculature matures. And then one day, they’ll miss a lift, contort themselves into some awful position, and attempt to finish it with all the wrong muscles groups. And they’ll get hurt.

You can do this curling. Hell, for that, humping the bar is the status quo. But for advanced lifts like the squat-snatch that require elastic joint flexibility and great timing, it’ll kill ya.

I’m for Oly lifts if you want to add spice to your workout, and you have the mental discipline not to fuck them up. I personally feel most would do better with the power variations.

DI

i think im olympically challenged. i cant push press as much as i can military press.

[quote]Ross Hunt wrote:
I’ve been doing variations of them for over a year and have never injured myself. Arthur Dreschler discusses this topic at length in his Weightlifting Encyclopedia. Two of his points that I can recall of the top of my head are:

  1. You need to learn how to miss a lift before you start lifting heavy weight.
  2. Risk might be greater for those who have already built a lot of strength (on, for example, the PLs) before coming to O-lifting because the strength outstrips their coordination, flexibility, and familiarity with the lifts. I do not have any experience with this phenomenon myself; I am not strong enough that my strength is far beyond these other attributes.[/quote]

Ross:

Excellent post! I agree completely.

Speaking as a USAW, I don’t feel there is a anything inherently dangerous about the oly lifts IF they are performed correctly. These lifts require precision and are a sport in and of themselves. Therefore, I’d agree, if you don’t have a coach at all times, you should stick to the supplemental lifts such as the pulls, power shrugs, and the power versions (meaning no front squat) of the lifts.

Ian King and Art Drechsler have videos that you may also want to check out.

Sorry to hijack. Since it has been brought up before, should athletes (non oly lifters) do OLY lifts.

As far as i can see
PRO:
-Develope Rate of force developement (RFD)
-Full body

CON:
-Technique can hold back progress
-Other ways to work on RFD that require less form (i.e. Dynamic Effort, Sport itself…)

This would make a great roundtable article, but until then…

[quote]:quarkthedark: wrote:
Sorry to hijack. Since it has been brought up before, should athletes (non oly lifters) do OLY lifts.

As far as i can see
PRO:
-Develope Rate of force developement (RFD)
-Full body

CON:
-Technique can hold back progress
-Other ways to work on RFD that require less form (i.e. Dynamic Effort, Sport itself…)

This would make a great roundtable article, but until then…
[/quote]

Quark: Good hijack. This touches on two questions I’ve been really interested in a for a while, namely:

Do the quick lifts develop the same qualities as speed lifts with bands?

Is there a difference in effect between increasing acceleration through the end of a movement (second pull) and pushing against increasing resistance through the end of a movement (bands)? It seems like there would be, but I am unsure.

I read a hyooooooooge debate about this (like 20 pages). Never really saw any definitive eveidence one was or another.

i can only do the power versions of the lifts because of my horrible flexibility particularly in the shoulder area when it comes to the snatch. plus i don’t have access to bumper plates or bending bars. i still get a training affect. laters pk

There is no definitive answer to the question on whether athletes should perform Olympic lifts.

Im my personal opinion, performing variations is pretty easy to teach and you can easily keep the weight light while you are programming.

Everyone has technique flaws. If you sat with an experienced Oly coach and watched the Olympics he or she could pick out technique errors.

On the same point, you could sit down with an experienced powerlifting coach, watch a meet, and pick out technique errors.

I agree that the question is a hard one, and very much a person to person basis. I think the real question that it boils down to is if the learning time is worth the payout later…

I really can see both sides to this, my clean form is horrible and i can only power clean 70kgx3 (bw 160lbs). Anything higher and i can’t catch it. My power snatch is the same way, i can get a double at 60kg but i haven’t been able to improve it in ~8 months. Spending more time on the powerlifts and p-chain in the last few months has correlated to better times for me (i sprint).

On the other hand, my fiancee has had no troubles with the oly lifts at all. In fact, if she doesn’t do them for any period in time, she notices the effect in her times.

As i said, it would make a great roundtable article…(hint hint)