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Modifying Exercise Technique: It’s OK To Be Inefficient

The Olympic lifts and their variations are a popular tool with strength and conditioning coaches.  The lifts train the entire body, involve exerting force against the ground, involve the bar moving at 2-4 meters per second, and require the athlete to generate 20-50 watts of power per kilogram of body weight (which is the highest power output of free weight exercises).  Besides those reasons, these lifts teach the application of strength – in other words, they teach and individual how...

The Olympic Lifts Are Only A Tool

Strength and conditioning coaches come from a variety of athletic background and all have unique histories with training.  Just like with everyone else, it’s not unusual for a strength and conditioning coach to become myopic when it comes to how they train athletes, particularly when they have a background in a strength sport like weightlifting or powerlifting.   The Olympic lifts (the snatch, clean, and jerk) and their variations is an area where strength and conditioning coaches can be inflexible...

Classic Article: What Makes A Weightlifter Elite?

weightlifting

The things that make one an elite weightlifter are fascinating to study.  In 1984 Kauhanen et al published a study looking at 13 Finnish weightlifters.  Seven of the lifters were elite lifters, being national champions and record holders and six were district-level weightlifters (see the table below to see the differences in their lifts).  The intent of the study was to see if the differences in their performances could be explained by how they performed the lifts.   Elite District...

Power Output and the Power Clean

The Olympic lifts and their variations are used extensively in the conditioning of athletes. This is because they are a ground-based, total-body exercise that develops power against resistance. While competitive weightlifters and other athletes both use these lifts for training, they approach these lifts differently. The competitive weightlifter is training to lift as much weight on these lifts as possible. Other athletes use these lifts to enhance their power production. With that in mind, it makes sense to focus the...

Classic Article: Individualized Training of Olympic Lifters?

Olympic weightlifting

The training of Olympic lifters is always fascinating to many people that are interested in strength and conditioning because it is very different from how bodybuilders approach training. It’s not unusual for Olympic lifters to squat, clean, snatch, and jerk four to six times a week. This works against most traditional approaches to bodybuilding, which would want several days of rest before performing a given lift again. The training of great Eastern European Olympic lifters has also been interesting for...