T Nation

Do Not Drop the Weights!

This is what the sign read no more than ten feet from where I was doing my overhead squats. I had worked up to 155 and had put on the Oly plates just in case I missed my groove. Well I hit my groove and went for a few more reps which were completed with relative ease. I felt so good/worn, and it was my last set, I dropped the weights from above my head. It made a loud noise and bounced about three feet in the air, and I thought everything was okay until I went to take the weights off the bar. That is when I noticed that there was a hole in the floor. There is a slight depression on one one side and when stepped on, it drops lower another couple inches.

My question, and reason for posting, is what effect on the body does dropping the weights have as opposed to catching the weights?

For those who have used both methods when performing snatches, how does this effect your performance in the latter sets?

I would assume that the CNS would be affected and I am more at risk for injury, but what are the benefits of catching the weight?

Needless to say there was already a spongey depression, I just made another one right next to it.


Sounds like if the gym has rubber bumper plates they need to get a platform in there to use them on. That doesn't make much sense to have plates for o-lifts and then put up sign saying not to drop them.


Too much O lifting (and variations) in a commercial gym pretty much wrecked my back. Its not necessarily a CNS thing as it is eccentric load on your low back. My back issues have almost completely gone away since building a platform at my house and dropping the weights. I do almost nothing from the hang anymore. My USAW coach used to yell out "we are weightlifters, not weightdowners!"


I think it should be cycled just like any trainig parameter.


The question seems kind of pointless seeing as you don't have the proper equipment to drop the weights (bumper plates and lifting platform)

Yes dropping the weights reduces risk of injury and is less stress on the CNS.

However dropping weights without the proper equipment will lead to damaged equipment (or floors) and your ass getting kicked out of the gym


I heard Lynn Jones tell us at a camp once we're weightlifters, not weightlowerers. Same difference, both funny.


Why not?



Because it kills my back.

I only do work from the hang when I am concentrating solely on bar speed and second pull work. I won't usually work from the high hang, normally I work hangs from below the knee.

Typically it isn't the concentric that hurts, just the negative load when returning to the hang position.


I am a little disappointed that more people havnt responded, as i thought that many of us here at T-Nation are doing O-lifts. im wondering how many people actually drop the weights and if it is really necassary. Because i will find a way to drop them if i know that it is not good to catch them all the time or at all.


Why would you cycle "controling the weights as you put them down"??? If you have bumper plates, throw them the fuck down. If you don't, looks like you gotta controle them. This doesn't seem to be a problem with any other lift. From what I've heard, let me repeat "heard", some people say controling it makes your CNS stronger and more used to using the weights in that fashion, but all it did for me was hurt my shoulders.


If one is doing singles (or working up to singles) then yes dropping them is a good idea; however, why should one not change it up every once and a while?


You dropped the weight from above your head? Olympic lifters guide it to waist height then let it go. They dont drop it from above the head.


I think the biggest issue here is you damaging your gym's floor. That will probably not be fixed for a long while. I assume you were aware that you were not standing on an oly platform when you did it, and you knew it was not allowed. It would be cool if all gyms had platforms, but they don't. Specifically yours doesn't, so what are you even debating?

Your options are A) catch the weights, or B) don't do oly lifts at your gym.


Sorry for the long post. I am fortunate enough to have a facility near me to do O-lifts but I still have to go to World's once a week and this is what I have found over the years of primarily doing O-lifts. There is not supposed to be a negative on any O-lift. Wherever the lift stops is where you drop it. At the top of the snatch above your head, let it go. When you catch the clean and don't jerk it, let it go. If you are going to jerk it, then let it go at the top.

Don't ever lower anything down period. If you don't have any place to drop the weight then you have to go light and practice the safest and most energy sufficient way to lower the bar. In a snatch, when you finish, your hands are very wide.

You have three ways to lower it. 1) drop it. 2) let it go while holding on to it and let it crash into your thighs. 3) Or do the negative portion of a cuban press or muscle snatch (ouch) my shoulders hurt just thinking about it. I know a lot of us do the cuban press or muscle snatch but I doubt many of us can muscle snatch what we can actually snatch.

Lowering the clean 1) drop it. 2) release it while holding it and let it crach into your thighs. There is no other way. I wouldn't say don't do O-lifts at a commercial gym, but I would not try and lift any substantial amount of weight if you cannot drop it. If you have ever watched a meet, once the bar is over their head whether it is the snatch or C+J they let it go, they never lower it. When they workout they may not drop every single rep but they drop most.

If I have to do O-lifts at a commercial gym which I do on Sat's. I jerk from the rack or do a lot of drop jerks both in front and behind the neck. I go light and work on speed and technique. Those days I tend to do a lot of d-bell work. D-bell snatch, d-bell clean and jerk. You can release the d-bells much easier and they don't have to crash into your thighs and you don't have to drop them.

After a d-bell snatch you can do the negative portion of the side press, so you can use more of your body to lower it. On the C+J you can do a negative of a d-bell press and release the d-bells off to the side of your thighs. My workouts are based around O-lifts and I do at least some variation of the snatch and C+J every workout. This is what I have found to be the best ways without hurting yourself. Hope this helps


If they are not doing maximal weights they will lower it and do more reps, but when they are going for a maximal effort at a meet or even when they train and are close to there 1 RM they never lower the weights. Send a post to Dan John and get his thoughts on the subject.


Well, you can't just drop them from overhead position. Referee can say that's it's not a good lift, so you have to be careful. But you also don't lower them. there just has to be contact between arms and a bar untill the later is around the waist level, then you can simply drop the bar.


They either catch it or guide it to waist height THEN drop it. They dont drop it from above the head.


Thanks for the posts. I actually work at this gym, and the whole flooring where the free weights are needs to be redone because there are depressions in random places all over. This is all part of my masterplan to convince the owner that we need to build a platform. I also do some for of O lift every workout. I agree that the lowering phase with dumbells is easier.


Change what up? It's not part of the lift. It won't help you at all in competition, so why stress it if you don't have to? That's like saying, "I'm going to slowly put the dumbells down gently after I finish my over head presses" instead of just throwing them down. I honestly doubt it will help much.


If you can drop the weights down, do submax sets for up to 3 reps. Also, you can lower the weight after jerking it..check out the dimas video floating around here. He uses some shoulder strength to slow the weight down just a bit and then just before the weight lands on the rack, he raises up on his toes so when the weight hits the rack, his heels will drop and help absorb the landing. I haven't learned the part with the heels.

On snatches and cleans, as you lower the weight (without any muscular tension to slow it) bend your legs to a quarter squat and let the bar bounce on your quads to absorb it, then you can let it fall with a touch of slowing (like the negative of a deadlift). It won't be completely quiet, but won't crash as much. Actually, if you have bumpers, once the bar has bounced on your thighs, you probably can just drop it from there.