T Nation

Do Olympic Lifters Train Powerlifting?

Is it necessary for oly lifters to train primarily like a powerlifter, and then secondarily do some plyo’s and technique work?

I ask this because max strength is apparently the base quality of all athletic endeavors, and the only way to train it is through powerlifting?

Or do some oly lifters ONLY do oly lifting, and therefore, oly lifting increases their max strength?

I am not an olympic lifter or research it much so this could be wrong but from John Broz it seems they only do oly lifts + squat and once in a great while do a deadlift or a bench. I am sure someone will give you a better answer soon.

As an oly lifter the only deadlifts I have seen my teammates do is to pick up the bar before doing lifts from the hang…

[quote]alternate wrote:
Is it necessary for oly lifters to train primarily like a powerlifter, and then secondarily do some plyo’s and technique work?

I ask this because max strength is apparently the base quality of all athletic endeavors, and the only way to train it is through powerlifting?

Or do some oly lifters ONLY do oly lifting, and therefore, oly lifting increases their max strength?[/quote]

I train like a marathon runner because it’s good for my heart and I’ll live forever. Coincidently from this I can somehow FS 191kg. I have a strong heart from the 80miles a week for a big FS.

Koing

[quote]alternate wrote:
Is it necessary for oly lifters to train primarily like a powerlifter, and then secondarily do some plyo’s and technique work?

I ask this because max strength is apparently the base quality of all athletic endeavors, and the only way to train it is through powerlifting?

Or do some oly lifters ONLY do oly lifting, and therefore, oly lifting increases their max strength?[/quote]

Olympic lifters do not train like powerlifters. Technical work on the competitive Oly lifts and variations to address weaknesses in them is the base of most olympic lifters training. They train the squat/front squat as an assistance lift to the C & J, not as their primary exercise focus. They do not deadlift very frequently. And they certainly don’t usually bench.

Work on the oly lifting is what primarily drives their oly numbers up. The motion is too complex and too technical to be addressed by other exercises, save variations of the competitive lifts or say push pressing/jerking.

Oh, I assumed that oly lifters would spend most of their time grinding out max back squats and deadlifts in the 1 rep range because max strength is the most important attribute. And just before their competition they might throw in some light plyo work like jump squats to improve speed because speed is not as important as max strength.

Would an oly lifter actually improve his max strength just by doing oly lifts? Or is it only his speed he is improving?

[quote]alternate wrote:
Is it necessary for oly lifters to train primarily like a powerlifter, and then secondarily do some plyo’s and technique work?[/quote]

No.

[quote]alternate wrote:
I ask this because max strength is apparently the base quality of all athletic endeavors, and the only way to train it is through powerlifting?[/quote]

Depends on how you’re using the term max strength. While getting stronger will increase performance in nearly all (if not all) athletic endeavours, there comes a time in the vast majority of those sports when you get diminishing returns from strength work. You think putting a marathoner in the gym to increase their 1RM is going to have a positive effect on their marathon time?

[quote]alternate wrote:
Or do some oly lifters ONLY do oly lifting, and therefore, oly lifting increases their max strength?[/quote]

You will find that any olympic lifter worth his salt will employ at least some assistance exercises on top of the core lifts (snatch/clean and jerk variations). Primary among these are squats, both front and back. Some programs/philosophies employ more strength assistance exercises at a higher volume or intensity than others. Mostly depends on one’s personal opinions as to how to produce the best olympic lifter.

[quote]alternate wrote:
Oh, I assumed that oly lifters would spend most of their time grinding out max back squats and deadlifts in the 1 rep range because max strength is the most important attribute. And just before their competition they might throw in some light plyo work like jump squats to improve speed because speed is not as important as max strength.[/quote]

Speed is at least as important (if not more important) in the o-lifts as max strength. This is because the driving force behind the lifts is power, not strength. Power is strength applied quickly. Ergo you need to be strong AND fast, you can’t be one at the expense of the other or else your performance will suffer. Also, the strength and power required in the olympic lifts is sufficiently position-specific that grinding out back squats and deadlifts will not make you stronger or more powerful in the positions you are in during a snatch or clean and jerk.

[quote]alternate wrote:
Would an oly lifter actually improve his max strength just by doing oly lifts? Or is it only his speed he is improving?[/quote]

The olympic lifts will make you more powerful, and while I do believe they help a little with strength as well the stimulation in that regard is not enough to produce any sort of appreciable progress. Even the infamous “Bulgarian” system had front squats. Most programs I’ve seen have front squats, back squats, and some form of pulls. Maybe this is because you can probably count on one hand the number of lifters in North America who have hit that tipping point of diminishing returns as far as getting stronger for the olympic lifts, I don’t know. For the vast majority of us (and I think anyone posting on this board) continuing to get stronger is a good thing, so long as you’re seeing gains in the olympic lifts from that strength.

If any of your comments on speed were in relation to speed under the bar and not speed of the bar, well, I’d say that’s a lot harder to train, and short of doing tons of work from the high hang and high blocks I’m not sure how to improve it significantly.

/ramble

It’s a strength sport. That is all I bother to say. If some of you are fascinated by speed and technique, try golf instead.

[quote]Wrah wrote:
It’s a strength sport. That is all I bother to say. If some of you are fascinated by speed and technique, try golf instead.[/quote]

^ One of the people who would probably prescribe more assistance work trying to get the lifter stronger. Different strokes.

I think TheJonty covered just about everything there is to cover lol.

[quote]Wrah wrote:
It’s a strength sport. That is all I bother to say. If some of you are fascinated by speed and technique, try golf instead.[/quote]

haha, could be argued that golf is a strength sport in the same way any sport is a strength sport because everyone needs to get stronger, and max strength will always be the limiting factor in any sport…?

Weightlifting is a strength sport, no arguing with that. If anyone is not trying to increase their strength levels then they aren’t doing it right. Sure some elites who are front squatting triple bodyweight might ease up on the strength work but it’s safe to say that no one reading this will be anywhere close to that level

Having said that powerlifting is not the way to build the strength required to lift heavy weights in the Olympic lifts. The squat is very important, although it is not a competition lift. The object isn’t to get the strongest squat, it’s to get the strongest squat that carries over to the lifts. I think this is an important distinction.

I definitely think the oly lifts themselves HELP build the strength required, but accessory work is needed in virtually all cases. A powerlifter who is squatting 200kg but only cleaning 100kg isn’t going to get much strength benefit from the lifts, but an oly lifter with a 200kg squat and cleaning 160kg is going to benefit imo

Power lifting is a strength sport. Oly requires some strength, but is a power sport. Two different things two different training requirements. Try grinding out a clean the way you do a max deadlift and you will be pop your shoulders and limbs.

This is common sense, otherwise powerlifters would be the best Oly lifters in the world. Why would you even ask this question.

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
Power lifting is a strength sport. Oly requires some strength, but is a power sport. Two different things two different training requirements. Try grinding out a clean the way you do a max deadlift and you will be pop your shoulders and limbs.

This is common sense, otherwise powerlifters would be the best Oly lifters in the world. Why would you even ask this question.

[/quote]

Yes, but surely powerlifters COULD be world-class oly lifters if they just spent a couple of weeks doing plyo work to peak?

They have that massive base quality of maximal strength that oly lifters don’t have, and all they need to do is convert some of it to speed.

So, powerlifters could become world class oly lifters with very little additional training, but oly lifters would need a lifetime of re-training to become world class powerlifters - and even then would probably fail - because you can’t convert speed to strength because strength is the a more fundamental quality than speed.

Is that correct?

Powerlifting and strongman are for those who are too weak for weightlifting.

@alternate are you nuts? Shane Hamman was a powerlifter who squatted 1000lbs raw easy. Then he started olympic lifting and his never won a gold medal. Don’t even compare a powerlifter to an olympic weightlifter. In powerlifting you can round your back for deadlifting and squat 1000lbs with suit on. Try that in olympic lifting few flaws in technique you will never succeed.

[quote]Wrah wrote:
Powerlifting and strongman are for those who are too weak for weightlifting.[/quote]

Haha, I thought it was totally the reverse.

If you saw someone heaving up 1-arm dumbbell rows using all the momentum they could, you’d call them too weak to complete the lift properly.

[quote]alternate wrote:

[quote]Wrah wrote:
Powerlifting and strongman are for those who are too weak for weightlifting.[/quote]

Haha, I thought it was totally the reverse.

If you saw someone heaving up 1-arm dumbbell rows using all the momentum they could, you’d call them too weak to complete the lift properly.[/quote]

The example you provide reveals that you are deeply confused about the nature and goals of (olympic) weightlifting, powerlifting, and bodybuilding.

Dumbbell rows are not a contested movement and are used primarily for purposes of hypertrophy, secondarily perhaps for conditioning. The “proper” execution of a lift is determined by the purpose for which the lift is performed. Powerlifters most assuredly use “momentum” in their competition lifts to their advantage just as weightlifters do. They would be fools and failures not to. For bodybuilders, the story is often, but not always different. For more on this topic, consult the archives on this site. It is chock full of intelligent discussion of how to perform exercises and the determinants of proper form.

On the question of the carry-over between weightlifting and powerlifting, there is far less than many people think. To the untrained eye, a clean pull and a deadllift look almost identical, but they are in fact fundamentally different. For a trained athlete, deadlifting does relatively little to prepare an athlete to clean or snatch. The mechanics of the movements differ substantively.

A quick look would tell an intelligent observer that the sports have very different demands. The number of cross-over champions is quite small, and at the elite level today is all but non-existent. This would not be the case were the sports more or less interchangeable.

At the same time, it is useful to recall that powerlifting grew out of weightlifting. Weightlifters frustrated by the multiple demands of weightlifting wanted to establish a “purer” way to test strength, and therefore started the sport of powerlifting. So the sports are directly related to each other. Going back further, one will note that at one time bodybuilding and weightlifting were closely related and pursued by the same people, often simultaneously. That changed with increasing competitiveness and specialization.

[quote]alternate wrote:

[quote]Wrah wrote:
Powerlifting and strongman are for those who are too weak for weightlifting.[/quote]

Haha, I thought it was totally the reverse.

If you saw someone heaving up 1-arm dumbbell rows using all the momentum they could, you’d call them too weak to complete the lift properly.[/quote]

That could be said about anything really. Dynamic lifting is all about creating momentum ie movement. Using your arms while you run is not cheating, for example.

[quote]Wrah wrote:
Powerlifting and strongman are for those who are too weak for weightlifting.[/quote]

The demands of the sports are fundamentally different. Each also has its own allure. You can’t call one group of elites “stronger” or “weaker” than another as it is pure speculation and a comparison of apples and oranges, really.