T Nation

Olympic vs. Power

Whats the difference between “olympic” cleans & snatches and Power cleans and snatches? As an athlete(football & lacrosse) which ones should I be doing?

Olympic lifts are done with the technique
that allows the most possible weight to be lifted. The resulting techinique also has the bar lifted the least distance possible, with the lifter “diving” beneath the bar to as great an extent as possible. In other words, the bar is accelerated upwards, does not reach anything remotely like an overhead or shoulder high position, but the lifter dives beneath it and “catches” it in a deep squat.

While if you had the opportunity to be trained properly in the Olympic lifts, you might like them and like having them in your training, the power versions are probably of more value in your case.

While the weight lifted is somewhat less,
the distance lifted is greater, so the work
is at least as much and may be greater, and the speed and acceleration required I would think is as much or more.

They are essentially the same thing. The difference is the range of motion. An “Olympic” clean or snatch would be considered a full movement. Whereas, a power clean or snatch is not a full movement. When doing power cleans or snatches, you don’t need to drop all the way under the weight to complete the movement. As an athlete, both come in handy. But a full-range of movement is usually best.

Power lifts are done with much less of a dip than squat lifts. With power lifts you have to pull a lot higher (which is why you have to use less weight), & do only about a 1/4 squat under, while with squat lifts, you don’t pull as high & do a full squat. For sports, I think you’re better off doing power cleans & power snatches because you’ve got to be more explosive (the bar has to go faster).

Sorry Drax, but I’ll have to disagree with you that power movements are “more explosive” than full movements. With a power snatch for example, the squat is not full so the load lifted is less, equalling more power produced (both from less distance moved and less weight lifted). The reason that most team use the power movements, is that they are easier to teach and learn. As far as which movements would benifit football and lacrosse, they both will. Try doing some of each and see what you find most benifical. There are some excelent descriptions of these exercises in the back-issues of this site. Best of luck.

Do both OL and power clean and snatches. They both have their (functional) benefits. The OL are more difficult to learn but beneficial.

Thanks alot for the replies. How exactly would you execute a power clean as opposed to a clean and jerk? Are there any websites that would show how to do this? Thanks

The difference between the power clean and the clean and jerk (lets assume a power clean and jerk) is that you are finished with the power clean once you have racked it on the delts. The jerk is just the simultaneous push of the weight up as the body descends and the arms lock out. Regarding good information on how-to’s of O-lifting, look for a book by Arthur Drechsler. I think the title is the encyclopedia of weight lifting. Somebody else may know the exact title or a better book.

The power versions of the snatch and the clean begin from the floor. The lifter uses the hips , legs, calves and traps to drive the bar up as far as possible. The lifter then 1/4 squats under the bar and catches the bar on the chest (for PC) or overhead (for the PS). On the Oympic versions, the lifter drops into (actually pulls into because the lifter drops faster than gravity would allow) into a full squat position with the weight at either chest or overhead. I believe that the power generated for the “power” versions (i.e., w/t) is greater than the “olypmic” versions but I cannot recall for sure. The full Olympic version require a great deal more skill and athleticism.