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Olympic Lifting and Sports: An Evolutionary Tale

Last week I published a blog about a study that at least suggested that we may not need to catch the bar to get the optimal benefits from the Olympic lifts. I got a lot of emails, messages, and comments about that study. So, I figured I’d put my thoughts together about this.   Let me start with a confession, I began as a really arrogant Olympic lifting believer. In college I was a 70-kg lifter who could clean and...

Olympic Lifts: Maybe We Don’t Need To Catch The Bar…

The Olympic lifts and their derivatives are widely performed in the strength and conditioning of athletes. They involve exerting force against the ground, rapid movements, high power outputs, and are total body efforts. However, they require a great deal of technique and take a long time to master. As a result, some coaches have moved to exercises like jump squats and partial movements like the pull that do not require a catching phase to reduce the technical demands.   One...

Squats and Shoes: Don’t Drink the Kool Aid Yet

I started out competing and coaching Olympic lifting. Way back when, it was ingrained in all of us that we needed to get special Olympic lifting shoes to be successful in the sport. These shoes have very hard soles that are a little higher than normal shoes. The idea being that normal shoes are something you would sink into when performing the Olympic lifts or squats, so they should be avoided.   A recent study in the Journal of Strength...

Power Training: What If There Is No “Best?”

Power, the ability to generate force quickly, is important to every sport. As a result, it’s something that coaches focus on with the training of their athletes. The approaches to the training of power are pretty broad, from using slow strength training all the way to performing plyometrics and everything in-between. Regardless of the approach used, the vertical jump is one of the most frequently used tests to evaluate an athlete’s power.   Teo et al, in the Journal of...

You Don’t Need To Do Everything At Once

As a coach, it’s difficult sometimes to understand that you cannot do everything that you want to with your athletes. There’s never enough time in the day. Good coaches eventually learn to determine what is most important and then prioritize it in training.   This is especially true in the strength and conditioning field. There are so many exercises, tools, and schools of thought that it is difficult to determine what is most important and to prioritize it. For example,...