Friday, July 25, 2008

Olympic Lifts: Bad or Good?

The Olympic Lifts (OL’s), namely the Clean and the Snatch, get a bad wrap a lot of times. They are feared and frowned upon by many professionals including some doctors and physical therapists. There is also a concern among the general population along with parents worrying that their kids are going to hurt themselves performing the OL’s in a high school weightlifting program.

The OL’s are second to none in producing power development in athletes. Here is where some of the confusion and problems stem from:

1. Coaches/Trainers teaching the lifts incorrectly – This is the number one problem. The OL’s are incredibly coaching intensive. When the lifts are done correctly, they are extremely safe and VERY effective. But, they become a train wreck quickly when they are being coached by someone who does not fully understand the purpose and technique.

2. Not knowing who to do them with – The OL’s aren’t meant for everybody. They should mostly be performed with athletes but even that doesn’t qualify the use of the lift. Extremely tall athletes (basketball) or athletes with a past history of back problems should avoid them and choose one of the many alternatives.

3. Not knowing where to place them in a training session– You must understand the demands and purpose of the OL’s. They are used for power development and require a large central nervous system demand. Because of this, they should be placed at the beginning of a workout, after a warm up, before strength training.

You can see how many would confuse these as dangerous…………Because they are, in the WRONG hands!! A four year old with a chainsaw is dangerous too.

The girl in the video has some pretty good technique. So for the Olympic Lifting "purists" that watch it and start nit picking away........Don't try to pick fly sh** out of pepper :-) and realize that using the OL's to develop power for an athlete is different than using the OL's to make an Olympic Lifter.

Note: If your child is attending Newberg High School, they are in great hands with my good friend Coach Baumholtz.