Is Olympic Weightlifting Strength Training?

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10 thoughts on “Is Olympic Weightlifting Strength Training?”

  1. This article seems like pure speculation with a bunch of weak arguments and no evidence. It also seems like his main goal here was to sound smart by being super verbose.

    1. One of the greatest strength coaches of all time and you bash him because his vocabulary is perhaps better than your own? Mark has clearly identified a few potential issues with American Olympic Lifting and does not claim to have proof of anything, but instead offers clues as to why everyone else around the world competing in olympic lifting is doing better in the sport.

      1. Greatest strength coaches of all time? Who has he coached? He says, or has said himself he deals mainly with beginners, and leaves coaching athletes to people with experience doing that.

        Since when does being a gym owner with no experience coaching athletes make one a great strength coach?

  2. I have to disagree with the above comment and agree with Mark R. He gives mainly anecdotal evidence but that doesn’t mean that he is wrong.Oly lifting simply doesnt display enough muscle tension to increase strength regularly for anyone but gifted (think Bulgarian ) lifters. That is why a lot of good lifters in the past high pulled max lifts off blocks. One can always pull off blocks more than one can clean and snatch to the same height so higher muscle tension is created therefore pulls off blocks can actually make one stronger whereas the conventional lifts may not. Also remember that low muscle tension is developed in the ol. lifts because of a slow first pull .The actual explosion occurs in the second pull after the transition phase.
    Here in the UK our best lift is 207 kg set by Giles Greenwood in 2002 .This is good for an average bloke but at least 40kg short of coming near to an oly medal. Coincidentally Giles never did heavy pulls off boxes which due to their ‘static overcome by dynamic ‘nature can help one display huge amounts of explosive force.Do not forget force is equal to mass times acceleration.ie strength is a product of maximal strength and high rate of force development .This is one of Newton’s laws of mechanics.British and American lifters and could benefit from employing the conjugate sequence system that the Russians popularised Which hasthe ability to raisemaxstrength in less than perfectgenetic specimens. The person above needs to read the book The Science And Practice of Strength Training by Zatsiorsky and read about the value of ‘concurrent ‘periodisation as practised by Russian hammer thrower Bondarchuk etc…If the lifters did lots of maximal pulls off different boxes from say below the knee and half way up thigh then from the power position ….and lots of maximal front and back squats presses and jerks whilst strengthening other weaknesses then they would have a better chance of winning .The above commenter needs to look at the training of Paul Anderson.He could Squat over 900lbs and was the world champ. Oly. Lifter. This is found in the Weightlifting Encyclopedia by Arthur Dresler.If he worked on his technique more he could have got even better at the clean and jerk and snatch.he was known for his explosive speed as well as his brute strength.

    1. Our (UK) best clean & jerk currently is 210kg by Delroy McQueen in the 105kg class. I hold the 105+ record but it’s less than the 105kg record. That has always irritated me. Delroy has gone on to be a very good powerlifter. I used to do very heavy (for me) “Olympic shrugs” as my coach used to call them (a sort of hang pull from halfway down the thighs) and also worked hard on snatch grip deadlifts and used to think eccentric snatch grip deadlifts helped. Also was a fan of heavy pulling – well, not a fan exactly but I did a fair bit of it. I was aware that I wasn’t strong enough (best deadlift was 250kg, best back squat was 232.5), trained hard to rectify it but didn’t make the progress that I would have liked. I just don’t think I was talented enough to reach the top level.
      Not sure I agree that training the deadlift is all that important – I had more or less the same clean as Delroy and another team mate of mine Karl grant but they both deadlifted much more than me. If you deadlift in the same style as you clean then once you’re past the knees it’s easy and if you deadlift differently from your clean it’s not specific. For this reason I’d favour partial pulls to knee height as it never does any harm to be strong off the floor. The quicker you can move the weight in the first pull, the less the finish has to do. I do think heavy assistance exercises to get stronger are valuable.
      I think it boils down to the talent pool. It’s worth remembering that Andrew Davies and Dave Morgan were world class in the 80′s for GB and their records don’t stand because they were reset with the new weight classes, not because they were bettered. Davies did 195, 225 in the 110kg class. We need a bit of luck (or a lot more lifters) for more like them to turn up.

  3. There should be little contention that PL’s are usually stronger in a bench press than O lifters and that both groups will usually win at their own specialty. A fault I find with O lifting is that the press was dropped rather than reformed in 1972. There sure are faults with PL however! All BP’s should be done so-called “raw” as gear unnaturally adds leverage and maybe also by increasing blood pressure, the muscles can contract with more force. If I had my way every PL would have to squat in this manner—no knee wraps, no squat suits. Start with bar down LOW in a power rack. Go into LOW squat position, spotters roll or load the bar onto his shoulders, he STARTS in a PINNED position, five second pause, rise on clap signal. That would have the O lifters running away from the PL’s in squat, since PL’s are notoriously weak rump to ankles, because they never cover this weak range! Instead of cussing me, TRY a limit squat done this way because pal you aren’t nearly as strong as you think down below. It’ll take 45% of your so-called squat, which is just a glorified partial. There is a need for PL vs O lifter contest using strictly judged tests known to all. The O lifters will win in the DL. This site is biased, bias is apparent in its URL. I’m not biased—I stated PL is stronger in the chest. But back and legs, I doubt it. In upper body strength, still ring gymnastics is the dark horse; and tends to be flawed, because it favors lighter (weaker) legs.

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