T Nation

Olympic Lifts for Athletes, Debate

I need to make a solid routine, and know what I’m doing each time I’m in the gym, so getting my exercises sorted out.

I was thinking of adding the hang clean or cheat curls/reverse-grip hang clean.

So here’s the arguments (quotes from articles they have each wrote, or questions answered on elitefts/defrancostraining.com):

Joe Defranco:You can make any lift can be fast, it’s about the load on the bar.

Jim Wendler:Any lift can be fast,but the O-lifts have to be fast.

Joe Defranco and Kelly Bagget both agree on: If you do the O-lifts once, you can spot out the weak muscles, work on these muscles through other exercises like squats.

Kelly Bagget:A guy who squats big, can hang clean more than someone who hang cleans a few sessions a week, cos of the muscles involved in the squat carry over to the exercise.

So that’s what top coaches think, whats your opinions?

It’s going to depend on what exactly you want them to do for you.

That said, it’s hard to go far wrong taking Kelly Bagget’s advice.

I’m really not seeing the dilemma here. Powercleans are good. Squatting big is good. Do both.

I don’t see any arguments

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
I don’t see any arguments[/quote]

My point is, some coaches don’t think they should be trained- and the squat is the big one.

Others think that you can’t be explosive without o-lifts, and that they can’t be beat for athletes.

The thing that matters the most is how the lifts will translate into your performance. If you are already competent in the olympic lifts, you should feel free to use them. If not, I would do plyometrics, speed squats, speed deadlifts, kettle bell swings, medicine ball throws, and etc. The reason for this is if you are not doing the olympic lifts with proper technique, you won’t get the full effect of the lifts that you are looking for, and you could get injured.

As Otep pointed out, you shouldn’t neglect your strength.

[quote]OooahhhCANTONA wrote:
Airtruth wrote:
I don’t see any arguments

My point is, some coaches don’t think they should be trained- and the squat is the big one.

Others think that you can’t be explosive without o-lifts, and that they can’t be beat for athletes.[/quote]

I don’t have a bias either way, and I believe that the more tools a coach has in his tool box, the better off he will be. It just depends on the situation. Some coaches can effectively teach the olympic lifts. Others will turn to other forms of dynamic effort training for various other reasons (not competent with the olympic lifts, don’t have enough time to teach, not enough supervision for each athlete during a training session, and etc.) The main point that I am trying to get at is there are coaches that get great results without using olympic lifts, and there are coaches that get results using olympic lifts.

I would go with what I felt most competent with because I would want to start getting better right off the bat.

[quote]OooahhhCANTONA wrote:
Airtruth wrote:
I don’t see any arguments

My point is, some coaches don’t think they should be trained- and the squat is the big one.

Others think that you can’t be explosive without o-lifts, and that they can’t be beat for athletes.[/quote]

I haven’t seen any good strength coaches that think either lift is bad or ineffective, the argument against the various lifts is primarily based around the ability of the client to learn proper technique within the time frame that you have to work with him.

Some people just aren’t coordinated for certian lifts, if you have to spend a month working with him on technique before he can use a weight that would help his speed then you’ve just wasted 31 days doing something that has absolutely no carryover to his sport. The plus side is once he learns how to do it, he can use it for the rest of his life. Problem is now you can say you only helped his vertical an inch in 8 weeks, and the next coach can say i helped him 10" in 8 weeks. I doubt he will mention that he wouldn’t have been able to do it without him spending 4 weeks with you last year first.

DeFranco points out that he gets better results without Ols as he is often limited in time working with his athletes. The limited time “wasted” on technique can be better spent developing power. In his case it is bang for your buck.

We need to separate here “explosive power” as best expressed by a jump, max squat etc and OLs which display speed strength which is “controlled acceleration”. The ability to apply controlled acceleration through the OLs mimics the throws. Most throwers use OLs (though exceptions have occurred). If your sport involves complex controlled acceleration rather than explosive power (coming out of a “linemans stance”) OLs should help in the long term and be part, not all of the tools used.

Each athlete needs to determine what they need.

As for people (not here) waxing lirical on the triple extension and how Ols are a must for tennis players etc, I will not comment.

Last point is that there are other exercises and methods that can develop athletism other
than westside and OLs. Not saying they are better, but there are others.

There are lots of ways to get there, never be a slave to dogma.

[quote]OooahhhCANTONA wrote:
I need to make a solid routine, and know what I’m doing each time I’m in the gym, so getting my exercises sorted out.

I was thinking of adding the hang clean or cheat curls/reverse-grip hang clean.

So here’s the arguments (quotes from articles they have each wrote, or questions answered on elitefts/defrancostraining.com):

Joe Defranco:You can make any lift can be fast, it’s about the load on the bar.

Jim Wendler:Any lift can be fast,but the O-lifts have to be fast.

Joe Defranco and Kelly Bagget both agree on: If you do the O-lifts once, you can spot out the weak muscles, work on these muscles through other exercises like squats.

Kelly Bagget:A guy who squats big, can hang clean more than someone who hang cleans a few sessions a week, cos of the muscles involved in the squat carry over to the exercise.

So that’s what top coaches think, whats your opinions?[/quote]

Add the hang cleans, and hang snatches. Dont add the cheat curls/reverse-grip hang cleans, it would be a complete wast of time

This is a very original debate.

Have seen Ricky Bruch (WR discus circa 1972) on video, - would probably have won Beijing in his Prime) “power curl” close to 180 kgs (396lb) and Oerter (OG gold Discus 56-68)used to power curl 300lbs as one of his exercises during his comeback in the 70s.

Me…would never touch them, but obviously some pretty good athletes thought they were okay.

many ways to get there.

Dan John likes the power curl too i think. At least i think it said that on his interweb.

Maybe the reason olys were incorporated into the training of other strength/power athletes is their long history.They have been around competitively for well over a hundred years,after some long dead snobs figured they were their idea of showing agility and strength in a contest. Then people saw that some of these folks could jump high etc. although it was not necessarily caused by the lifts just like basketball does not make one grow tall. But perhaps they thought that it’s easier to stick with them than try to reinvent a wheel. Just like people fantasize about mystical powerlifting figures of past ages and are so inspired to bench or deadlift.

Is there any difference between doing similar lifts with awful technique as opposed to doing similar lifts with great technique for a non-weightlifter? In both cases,the practitioner would eventually figure to go fast and employ the prime movers of the body. Being a good weightlifter is useless for a thrower or jumper etc.

There is some research which indicates that the speed of lifting does not affect the rate of force development very greatly,although it skews towards the quick ones. That research is of course disputed.

I figure olympic lifts are good if you can do them with reasonable technique. I “feel” that a lot of the athletic benefits of olympic lifts come from descending fast underneath the weight.
I don’t have any proof aside from the fact that most other lifts don’t force you to do such an explosive descent.

That said, I’d favour box squats with bands for an athlete, since it has the benefits of a fast eccentric as well as the loading of a squat. Plus it’s simpler. To perform Olympic lifts properly requires strength, skill, good body awareness, balance, above average flexibility, and enough muscle on your shoulders to rack the bar without cutting the circulation off to the brain. That puts it in the too hard basket for most athletes.

I still think they should be done, but not as hard, heavy and often as some people seem to think you should.

The debate issue here is time.

If you have time to work with a great coach who can help both with technique and deficiencies, the OLs, IMO are the way to go for athletic development.

However, if time is a factor and one doesn’t have much time to devote to leaning technique, etc, I think getting stronger in the big 3 and strengthening those deficiencies goes pretty far with athletic development.

[quote]Donut62 wrote:
This is a very original debate.[/quote]

lol 98% of threads run in cycles.

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
Donut62 wrote:
This is a very original debate.

lol 98% of threads run in cycles.[/quote]

I swear I’ve seen that posted before…

i just started using hang cleans and hang snatches for shotput, the snatches are the best but i love both, helps with shoulders and traps alot for shot as well as that quick BOOM to explode, i think they are good

It’s your choice.

Yes, Olympic Lifts need to be fast. So do Box Jumps.

The Russians did the research. The Top 3 lifts with the best correlation for raising one’s Snatch and Clean & Jerk are…

The Power Snatch
The Power Clean
The Squat

So if your sport is Weightlifting, you better be busting your ass at raising your training weights in those lifts.

But that’s weightlifting. What’s YOUR sport?
If it’s Discus, maybe it’s the power curl. If it’s Shot-Put, maybe it’s the Push Jerk.

Even Loui Simmons, someone who doesn’t use any Olympic lifts to train his athletes, reccomends the Push-Jerk to Shot-Putters because in his observation “The Higher the Push-Jerk, the farther the throw.”

Whether you believe Lou’s opinion about the Push-Jerk’s carry-over to the Shot-Put or not, the point remains the same. YOU need to find the lifts that will give you the maximum carryover to your sport.

So what is the lift with the maximum carryover for your sport?

Don’t worry. I took the liberty of looking at your post history. You’re a sprinter. So let’s do some goddamn thinking out loud. I’m no sprinting expert, but let me have my fun and tell me what you think of my ideas.

There are at least two types of training you need to do in the gym. The first type is building raw, explosive power from a dead stop.

Stuff like Hang Power Cleans, Hang Power Snatches, Deadlfits, Weighted Chins, Box Squats, Box Jumps, All sorts of Medicine Ball Throws, Broad Jumps, and Vertical Jumps.

Maximal Effort Training will be best for this stuff. The Higher your Max Hang Snatch or Max Box Squat, the more carryover to your start off the blocks. Think about it. Increasing your 1RM in the Hang Snatch would have more carry-over than increasing your 5RM, wouldn’t it?

Then there’s training your body to preserve and utilize the stretch-reflex in your muscles. Stuff like Free Squats, Bench Press, Depth Jumps, Romanian Deadlifts, Dumbbell Rows, and Lunges.

Train exercises like these with higher reps than you would the first group of exercises. And train them after you train any exercise that falls into the 1st category. Do challenging sets that last as long as a 100m or 200m race.

This will train you to continue producing large amounts of force as you sprint, because most of the time the person who wins the sprint is the one who doesn’t slow down.

Example Workout:

Medicine Ball Throw OR Hang Power Snatch
Standing Broad Jump OR Hang Power Clean
Box Squat OR Free Squat
2-Board Press OR Push Press
Weighted Chin OR Dumbbell Row
45’ Back Raise OR Good-Morning

Go down the list and pick. You don’t have to pick just 1 column. Just lift some weight!