T Nation

Olympic Lifts and Getting Big


#1

I feel like high pulls have helped me put on a fair amount of size. Do you think they can be a more useful tool for building muscles than the olympic lifts and why? Is it because of the increased weight you can generally use or because its possible to do, relatively, high rep sets than may be safe with the oly lifts?


#2

[quote]lotsi81 wrote:
I feel like high pulls have helped me put on a fair amount of size. Do you think they can be a more useful tool for building muscles than the olympic lifts and why? Is it because of the increased weight you can generally use or because its possible to do, relatively, high rep sets than may be safe with the oly lifts?[/quote]

It’s because of multiple factors.

  1. The average Joe can use more weight while loading the muscles more. In simpler movements you can better focus on fully contracting certain muscles. It’s much easier to fully contract the traps in a high pull than in a snatch. Furthermore in a full snatch fully contracting the traps (bringing the shoulders as high as possible) isn’t really something you are trying to accomplish because that slows down your descent under the bar (it makes you “hang with the pull”). In the 60-80s (and before that) the technique that was being used focused on fully utilizing the traps, but not the modern one.

  2. When you do sets of pull from the hang or even blocks you have a phase of intense eccentric action. After you are done pulling, the bar is lowered fast and it “pulls down” on the traps. This could be described as an explosive or ballistic eccentric action and will lead to more mechanical muscle damage than any other type of muscle action. This can have a significant effect on muscle hypertrophy. On a side note, Olympic lifters from the 60s and early 70s lowered their weight back down after each rep; they didn’t drop it. That’s because they didn’t have bumper plates. That lowering down of the bar contributed to giving them better physiques than guys today.

  3. You can do more reps while maintaining proper form.


#3

Thanks. And thanks again for introducing me to high pulls.

[quote]Christian Thibaudeau wrote:

[quote]lotsi81 wrote:
I feel like high pulls have helped me put on a fair amount of size. Do you think they can be a more useful tool for building muscles than the olympic lifts and why? Is it because of the increased weight you can generally use or because its possible to do, relatively, high rep sets than may be safe with the oly lifts?[/quote]

It’s because of multiple factors.

  1. The average Joe can use more weight while loading the muscles more. In simpler movements you can better focus on fully contracting certain muscles. It’s much easier to fully contract the traps in a high pull than in a snatch. Furthermore in a full snatch fully contracting the traps (bringing the shoulders as high as possible) isn’t really something you are trying to accomplish because that slows down your descent under the bar (it makes you “hang with the pull”). In the 60-80s (and before that) the technique that was being used focused on fully utilizing the traps, but not the modern one.

  2. When you do sets of pull from the hang or even blocks you have a phase of intense eccentric action. After you are done pulling, the bar is lowered fast and it “pulls down” on the traps. This could be described as an explosive or ballistic eccentric action and will lead to more mechanical muscle damage than any other type of muscle action. This can have a significant effect on muscle hypertrophy. On a side note, Olympic lifters from the 60s and early 70s lowered their weight back down after each rep; they didn’t drop it. That’s because they didn’t have bumper plates. That lowering down of the bar contributed to giving them better physiques than guys today.

  3. You can do more reps while maintaining proper form.[/quote]


#4

Love SGHPs. I discount my own perception of size gains, because of confirmation bias, but I heard it from too many others in the short time I had used them to not value them. I also like the muscle snatch and walk, and also the push press. I am struggling how to use all of them in a weekly or longer plan because I really enjoy using them all.


#5

Any thoughts on using Trap Bar for olympic liftingesque moves? Like trapbar squat jumps, or even highpull?


#6

[quote]-Sigil- wrote:
Any thoughts on using Trap Bar for olympic liftingesque moves? Like trapbar squat jumps, or even highpull? [/quote]

A squat jump isn’t an Olympic lifting-like move. But it’s a good drill… if you want to improve power. It will have a minimal impact on muscle mass though.

High pulls with a trap bar doesn’t work, the arms aren’t folding in the proper direction. Explosive trap bar low pulls work.


#7

[quote]jp_dubya wrote:
Love SGHPs. I discount my own perception of size gains, because of confirmation bias, but I heard it from too many others in the short time I had used them to not value them. I also like the muscle snatch and walk, and also the push press. I am struggling how to use all of them in a weekly or longer plan because I really enjoy using them all.[/quote]

I have just started (~3 weeks) doing CT’s Layer System approach. I absolutely love this method of working out. It can be done very quickly with minimal rest, I am pushing my PR’s each and every workout and with the HDL/Extended Sets layer and the Speed/Pump layer I am completely depleting my glycogen stores in my muscles. Plus, the next day I am reminded which muscle group I hit, which I missed from my last few programs I was on.

My workouts through the week are generally as follows:
Incline Bench
Snatch Grip High pull
REST
Decline Bench
Front squat
REST
Clean and Press

My first week I was doing a second day of High Pulls rather than the clean and press, but the clean and press has always been missing from my workouts so I figured I would add it in…and it is a tough day to get through.

One of these days if I have anything left in the tank I’ll finish with some light biceps/back workouts if I feel they didn’t get hit hard enough.

High pulls will be a staple in my workouts for a long time to come.