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Powerlifting vs. Olympic lifting

I am at a crossroads here. I’ve been using a modified powerlifting program for wrestling for the past year. But lately, I’ve been hearing stuff about Olympic lifting being much better sport-specific wise. I’ve been hearing how powerlifting just increases maximal strength (useless), but how OL increases explosive strength (useful). What the hell is the difference?!?!? Can someone please tell me the difference between explosive strength and maximal strength??? In my mind, strength is strength. I’m just really trying to get the best program I can for my sport. Thanks


jV Askem’s site is the best source of info on this. He advocates a mixed type program for general athletics. I think he’s right. His site is at Olympus.net and is called “Cable Bar Guy”

I would do a mixed program too. All these lifts have value in wrestling. Bench, Squat, DL, and BB and DB cleans, snatches and overhead presses. Don’t let anyone tell you that the bench press is not important in wrestling btw. No lift in sports is important to the exclusion of any others though.

ummm, Get “The Science and Practice of Strength Training” or “Supertraining.” There are all kinds of forms of strength hybrids, but the primary forms Strength are-- Maximal, Power (explosive), and endurance. My moderately educated guess, is that you will want to do a modified OLing program, (obviously as a wrestler, as you close into season, you must raise your stamina over that which you would need if you were just an Olympic Lifter). Also include some excercise for your Upper body Prime movers (push and pull) since modern OLing neglects this area.

This is a rather large topic and whether strength or power is of greater importance is dependant on your sport. To define it simply Maximal Strength (Fmax) is the most weight you can lift regardless of the time to complete the lift. Force is defined as F = mass x acceleration. for any object you attempt to lift, you must overcome gravity (which accelerates all objects at 9.8 m/s^2). When you train your maximal lifts you are training the maximal force – the bar moves somewhat slowly.

Power is the rate of force development. There are two equations which are used to measure Power. (1) P = Force x Velocity; and (2) P = Work / Time. These two equations actually say the same thing since Work = Force x Distance and Velocity = distance / time Therefore Force x Velocity = Work / time.

Powerlifting is somewhat of a misnomer since it is actually a test of limit strength or Fmax. Olympic lifting trains power -- or the rate of force development. In most sports, the ability to generate force rapidly is critical to success. This is one of the reasons why Olympivc lifting (or variations thereof) are so good for many sports which require a high rate of force development.

Other than the Westside Barbell Method, most powerlifting approaches do not develop Power (also referred to as speed-strength or strength-speed depending on which is more important).

An excellent resource on the internet to learn more about sports training and how to develop maximal strength and power is the drsquat site or you can join Dr. Siff’s Supertraining egroup on yahoo.

Some good books are "Power: a Scientific Approach" by Hatfield, "The Science and Practice of Stength Training" by Zatsiorsky and "Supertraining" by Siff and Verkoshansky. Bompa's Serious Strength is a good (albeit) flawed primer on the effect and methods of the different types of training.

Pure Limit or maximal strength, the type that powerlifting builds, is a measure of the maximum force that you can exert. The trouble is, powerlifting is the only sport where maximum force is actually measured. In all other sports and movements there is usually not enough TIME to exert maximal force. So to increase performance you need to be able to show as much force as possible in as little time as possible. In other words you want to keep your ability to apply speed with force close to the level of absolute force Although limit strength is a solid foundation to all other types of strength there are other things to consider. The definition of explosive strength is maximum force/ time(you want time as short as possible and force as high as possible)
So yes, olympic lifts and their variations help to teach your body how to mix speed in along with your strength and this will help you carry your strength over into other sports.