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Dave Van Skike
05-29-2009, 10:07 AM
From Elitefts this AM. Food for thought.



Many people subscribe to the belief that the only way to lift explosively is through Olympic lifting. When performed with sound technique, Olympic lifts are great for building explosive power. Many elite athletes efficiently use Olympic lifts. Louie Simmons at Westside Barbell has advocated a speed day using the dynamic method of training with weights at 50–60 percent of one’s max. However, he still puts maximum force on the bar.

Dr. Fred Hatfield, co-founder of the International Sports Science Association (ISSA) and author of numerous books on training, devised compensatory acceleration training (CAT.) In layman’s terms, CAT is lifting with maximum force but with a submaximal load, usually 60–80 percent of a 1RM. Hatfield held several world records in the squat in the 1980s, including a 1014-lb squat at a body weight of 255 lb in the over 45 years of age division. Rarely would he go over 800 lbs in training, but he would put maximum force into the bar.
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If properly implemented, the use of Strongman events in a football training protocol is a superior method for an average or elite athlete to develop explosive power using triple extension exercises. Olympic lifts can be tedious and take years to execute properly. Eastern block Olympic lifters, routinely the best in the sport, begin training as early as age five. With technique being a critical component, most high school kids learning to Olympic lift correctly must start off using just the bar or a broomstick. They never develop any strength or explosive power. In some cases, athletes are prematurely given the green light to go heavy and often get injured in the process. Olympic lifts must be broken down and analyzed microscopically and therein lies the problem. This teaches athletes to concentrate more on form than on attitude and the amount of weight they can or should be using.

Strongman training encourages athletes to be aggressive, focusing on “kicking butt” rather than perfecting technique, which is similar to a game situation. Very few high school football players are “fired up” to do Olympic lifts, but most do look forward to and enjoy Strongman training. These training techniques allow athletes to focus on being aggressive. Too much aggression in Olympic lifting will destroy technique.

According to Bob Jodoin, strength coach and ISSA master trainer, “With stone lifting, you start with your knuckles on the ground and finish at triple extension. The loads and leverages are different, however, and this plays well into the concept of dynamic, real world training. Good stone lifting technique emulates the perfect football tackle.”

Does a snatch emulate a perfect tackle? Triple extension of the hips, knees, and ankles trains a football player to put maximal force into the ground in a shorter period of time. Is the best way to train this triple extension with a barbell or variously shaped Strongman objects? Football opponents move and are all shaped differently, making Strongman training more relevant. If done in a team setting, Strongman training gives athletes a chance to compete and gives coaches a chance to coach as they would in a game without having to break down every small detail.
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“It’s like game day every time we do it,” says Ken Mannie, head strength and conditioning coach at Michigan State University, speaking about team Strongman workouts. “It puts pressure on the players and forces them into truly competitive situations—more than weight room sessions and scripted workouts ever could.”

“It’s irregular lifting, which makes it closer to football movements than ordinary weight training. It makes the body perform when it’s not in a perfect line, so tendons and joints get stronger. And just like in football, a player is forced to use his whole body,” argues Mike Golden.

Compare the starting position in a tire flip and the starting position in a clean. The tire flip starts with the shoulders on the tire, the feet shoulder width apart, the chest over the tire, and the back arched, similar to a four-point stance. As the athlete lifts the tire up and gets triple extension, he will push the tire downward as hard as possible like a bench press. This mimics extending an opponent on to his heels and pushing him to the ground. An athlete gets triple extension with a clean, but even if the athlete jerks the weight, it is not nearly as sport specific as the triple extension of pushing over a heavy tire.

I could give other examples of the biomechanical superiority of Strongman training, but world renowned strength coach, Joe DeFranco says it best: “The beauty of Strongman training is that there’s no one way to perform the exercises. Athletes usually end up improvising to complete the event. The tire doesn’t always flip over the same way. The sled doesn’t always glide easily over the surface. The awkwardness of these events builds true ‘functional’ strength from head to toe. This enables the athlete to strengthen muscles that are nearly impossible to strengthen with traditional training.”

Olympic lifting is great for developing competitive Olympic lifters and for some elite athletes. However, Olympic lifting fails to duplicate the movements in football in any true way, and the risk to benefit factor is extremely great. Strongman training is very similar to actual football movements and will build legitimate transference strength. Strongman training develops every type of strength. In a future article, I will expand on other Strongman training techniques—not just triple extension ones—that will help your football players.

Garrett Smith
05-29-2009, 10:41 AM
Interesting...but as so often, the author turns it into an "either/or" argument, when a sensible combination may be best...

Dave Van Skike
05-29-2009, 10:49 AM
Interesting...but as so often, the author turns it into an "either/or" argument, when a sensible combination may be best...

fair enough...his argument would be better if he focused on training economy and the fact that there is no "right' way to manipulate the SM implements.

Jacob Rowell
05-29-2009, 11:42 AM
I never played football. I was what you might call "skinny" or "unathletic" most of my life. Perhaps still?
From an implementation standpoint, the article makes perfect sense. I can imagine telling a group of 16 year old kids "See that heavy shit over there? (Pointing to keg, log, axle, or stone) Let's see who can shoulder it/put it overhead first" works better than discussing the intricacies of oly.

But.. in terms of training effectiveness, I'm not sure I ever get close to reproducing the speed or power when in shouldering a stone, sandbag, keg, or racking a log as I do with a clean or power clean. At near max weights, I attempt a slow, incomplete triple ext, and then begins the death march as I roll said object up my torso.

Maybe squats aren't appropriate for football because I'm not able to ask the big fellow across from he if he could kindly sit squarely on my shoulders so I can squat him properly? hah.

No doubt, SM movements could round out a solid S&C program, teach guys to apply force in less than ideal situations. But to replace o-lifting?

Jamie Crichton
05-29-2009, 11:47 AM
For training athletes, I agree 100% that more simple movements are better. There's no debate; the olympic lifts are hard to learn and this takes time. Athletes in sports like football, rugby or whatever will gain more benefit from exercises that don't take long to learn. Removing the limiting factor of 'skill necessary to correctly perform the lift' means that you can ramp the weight up to where 'pure strength' becomes the limiting factor and thus gives you a training effect.

As to whether one style is better than the other in general terms, I agree with Garrett, it is a pointless debate. Why not use both? It obviously depends on your goals. Ultimately the body doesn't know whether it has to lift a barbell, a tyre or anything else. Explosive contraction is trained regardless.

I like variety in my training because my sport is crossfit, so I try to make use of strongman, olympic lifting, powerlifting, gymnastics etc to give me broader athleticism. So for me it is about choosing the movements that I feel will give me most carry-over to all other disciplines. Doing the olympic lifts will make me stronger at the olympic lifts and also benefit strongman and crossfit. Doing strongman will make me better at strongman and crossfit, but is less likely to improve my olympic lifts.

It makes sense for me to perform the high-skill movements often, as I get carry over to other things. Strongman, powerlifting etc is good for variety and to increase all-out strength, but if I can potentially realise improvement in these without training them, I then have more time to train other exercises (which require more practice, such as the olympic lifts).

Likewise, gymnastics are likely to improve other aspects of fitness due to the incredible strength they build. But you just aren't going to get good at gymnastics without training it.

So it seems logical, to me at least, that you perform the exercises which give you greatest carry-over to ALL other things, as well as that thing itself.

Does that make sense?

Garrett Smith
05-29-2009, 12:18 PM
More food...
http://www.sandbagfitnesssystems.com/pdfs/Oddliftingfor_the_masses.pdf
Odd objects are also fantastic medium for training explosive work. Exercises such as Olympic lift variations and throws make odd objects such a valuable tool for training. What keeps coaches from using such great lifts such as the snatch, clean, and jerk is knowing that their clients do not possess the flexibility to perform the lifts well. This is especially true in case of the wrists for cleans. With using sandbags and kegs, this problem is eliminated as anyone can quickly learn how to perform a safe and effective clean or snatch in just minutes. Don’t be mistaken though, Olympic lifts are not just for athletes. Everyone needs to learn how to move fast, have a stronger posterior chain, and increase body coordination.
http://www.biggerfasterstronger.com/uploads2/StrongmanTraining.pdf
The Downside of Strongman Training
As with any new training method, BFS believes that coaches should look with a skeptical eye at strongman training before including it in workouts as auxiliary exercises. Playing devil’s advocate, here are some of our concerns.
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SAFETY. Not only must athletes be trained to safely practice and spot strongman exercises, coaches must address the fact that there can be a high risk of injury with some of these events – especially tire flipping, in which there is the possibility of the tire falling back on the athlete, or injuring the biceps when improper flipping technique is used. Just ask Gagné.
“I work with a lot of high-level athletes in hockey and football, and there’s a great enough risk of injury with those sports that I don’t want to risk injuring them in the off-season with strongman training. Only if an athlete has an adequate base in Olympic lifting would I consider performing these movements, and I wouldn’t perform them year-round.” In fact, Gagné says that despite his own skill in the exercise and his knowledge of proper warm-up techniques, he almost snapped a biceps tendon while practicing the exercise. Art McDermott agrees.
Coach McDermott, owner of the Poliquin Performance Center in Boston, is one of the foremost experts in the world on strongman training and is writing a book on the subject. Says McDermott, “There are too many people using strongman techniques without proper training. It would be like my mom trying to show someone Olympic lifting — you can expect the worst to happen!”
...
Does Strongman Training Work?
One of the most vocal advocates of strongman training is Allen Hedrick, strength coach at the Air Force Academy, who has been implementing strongman training with his athletes for the past five years, starting with water-filled barrels, then tractor tires and logs. On a brief visit to the Academy this summer I saw an impressive arrangement of heavy tires, kegs and other strongman apparatus. Says Hedrick, “We use this type of training to supplement our emphasis on barbells and dumbbells, not as a replacement.”
The rationale for including this type of training is that Hedrick believes that the resistance is active, compared to the static exercises performed with barbells. One example he provides is the water-filled barrels. As the barrel is lifted, the water shifts and makes the activity unstable. Although there is little scientific research available at present to evaluate the effectiveness of the active resistance of strongman training compared to the static resistance of barbells, Hedrick believes that in sports such as football, this type of training would be more sport specific because athletes encounter active resistance in the form of opponents.
“The ability to demonstrate maximal 1-rep strength is only important in the sports of Olympic lifting and power lifting. In football – and most if not all other sports functional strength is more important than 1-rep barbell strength. Having my athletes bench press or squat with a keg may not be the best way to increase their ability to demonstrate max 1-rep strength with a barbell, but I believe it does build a higher level of functional strength.”
Hedrick also believes that such training has resulted in fewer injuries, citing that only two of their players required knee surgery this year.
Although there are many proponents of strongman training, it does have its critics. One is Mario Greco, an accomplished strength coach from Canada who has worked with many world-class sprinters and professional hockey and football players. Coach Greco believes that strongman training is not the panacea of athletic enhancement.
“The duration that most of these exercises are performed makes it impractical to use them for maximal strength training,” says Greco. “You don’t perform a farmer’s walk or a tire flip for one rep, so the recruitment of the fast-twitch motor units cannot be as high as you’re able to achieve in conventional weight training. I also see little value in this type of training for improving agility or running speed, and for that matter the skills that are required for football linemen. In football, linemen are continuously driving through with their legs, and they are reacting to the actions of their opponents. If you really want to get more sport specific, have offensive linemen practice speed bag work and defensive lineman practice grappling or wrestling drills.”
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Another strength coach who challenges the idea of sport-specificity is Paul Gagné. Gagné’s client list includes two of the best golfers in the world, Michelle Wie and Michael Campbell; Olympic champions in figure skating; and over 100 athletes in professional hockey and football. Says Gagné, “One problem with saying that strongman training is sport specific is that the grips used often depress neuromuscular activity. With a barbell or a dumbbell you are always able to apply the precise amount of tension you want because your hands are closed. If you flip a tire, your hand is open, which reduces the neuromuscular activity. For sport-specific training, I would rather rely on complex neuromuscular exercises such as the Olympic lifts. So I would say that if you want to train the energy systems, strongman training is fine; but there are limitations to applying strongman training to sports."

Good stuff, IMO.

Jacob Rowell
05-29-2009, 12:25 PM
I love training SM, but the BFS article you posted Garrett seems spot on.

Makes a good point about grip if I understand it correctly.

Dave Van Skike
05-29-2009, 01:12 PM
The BFS article takes pretty safe road. be careful, be skeptical, don't throw the babay out....Also, I have a strong desire to disregard anything that includes the following words.

CNS
Fast twitch fibers
motor units
neuromuscular
modal domain

Given that the article is about football, it is safe to assume that we are not contemaplating how SM will make you a better olympic lifter, croquet player, gymnast or taxpayer...but a football player? Yes.

Here are some other observations.


Olympic lifiting is really time consuming.
Anyone can get injured doing a movement wrong, You can really do this in a spectacular way with a heavy odd object.
Training with odd objects explosively will make you really tired.
Olympic lifing is all about doing it the right way,
SM is all about finding a way that works for you.
A lineman has more in common with a superheavy wrestler than a super heavy weightlifter.
Anyone who can power clean double bodyweight is pretty strong and pretty fast for their size.
Joe DeFranco trains his guys pretty much straight up Westside PL/ SM and consistently prepares absolute monsters.

Jamie Crichton
05-29-2009, 01:48 PM
Time to be really annoying and say that the take-away point is, there's more than one way to get strong and fast.

The one issue that has only just been picked up on, is that strongman movements are just as capable of injuring an athlete as anything else. I don't where this idea has come from, that flipping a tyre or whatever is somehow safer and won't increase risk of injury. That is absolute nonsense.

Furthermore, odd object lifting often requires technique. To say that you can lift a keg or a tyre etc anyway you like is wrong. That's no different to explaining the power clean by saying 'just pick it up to your shoulders'. Rounded backs, etc, it's going to be ugly and probably do more harm than good.

The useful thing about barbell lifts is they teach an athlete to move properly by making the moving of weight as efficient as possible. If you know how to brace, keep a straight back and drive through the heels in a DL, then when you come to pick up a sandbag or keg you will be in a better position to do it without injury. If you just take people with no idea how to lift and get them to pick up a heavy bag or tyre, it's going to be a sorry mess.

Arien Malec
05-29-2009, 01:53 PM
I call bullshit on an article that implies that oly lifting is inherently unsafe without a bazillion years of training and in preference people should be lifting odd objects with maximum aggression with little emphasis on technique and training.

I'm just really fucking tired of people anywhere that spend more energy hating on system X than spreading the love of system Y, whether X and Y be oly lifters, powerlifters, strongman trainers, Crossfitters. Vegetarians are fine to hate on, however.

Dave Van Skike
05-29-2009, 02:17 PM
Arien,

I'm not sure the safety of Oly lifts or "hating" is what the author is talking about.....

However, how often are these lifts performed properly in a high school group setting or even a college one? Not very often. The risk of injury is high, and the amount of weight lifted is often a fraction of what the athlete could use in some of the traditional power movements

This comes close, but inherently unsafe isn't really the question. Lifting heavy things over your head is inheretly unsafe when compared to not lifitng them.... but that's not relevant.

Innefficiency seems to be the quesiton.....for football.... keep this in mind. We're talking about athletes, (not CF'ers) who need to economize their efforts towards a specific goal.

Maybe a more interesting question is, if you had limited time to get an athlete prepared for a strength endurance sport like a football (think linebacker, or blocking fullback) which woudl be better,

having that athlete devote 3-4 hours a week to doing the doing the power versions of the olympic lifts soemwhat poorly, wherein they are stuck at a 300 pound power clean


vs.

moving a variety of larger than body size objects explosively in a sort of full body anyhow, (which is what SM really devolves to once it's heavy) ?


I don't know the answer, I can certainly see where SM is easier to bring a ton of aggression and very little technique and still progress. It's easy to see an athlete go from say from moving a 500 pound tire and a 200 pound stone to moving a 1000 pound tire and a 300 pound stone over the course of a summer off season. Certainly with anything, you can get injured doing that.

On the other hand, maybe a summer of doing medium heavy power cleans and power snatches, progressing from an ugly 240 power clean to a nice looking 265 clean might be better? I kind of doubt it but I could see how that might work. That's still a lot of triple extension going on.

I'm sure there are good football coaches with experience trying both methods but I'm not sure the answer is intuitive. I think the best argument for the former is here...

Triple extension of the hips, knees, and ankles trains a football player to put maximal force into the ground in a shorter period of time. Is the best way to train this triple extension with a barbell or variously shaped Strongman objects? Football opponents move and are all shaped differently, making Strongman training more relevant. If done in a team setting, Strongman training gives athletes a chance to compete and gives coaches a chance to coach as they would in a game without having to break down every small detail.

Technique is important and needs to be coached in Strongman training. However, it is much simpler than teaching proper Olympic lifting technique to an average athlete

Arien Malec
05-29-2009, 02:41 PM
I've got no issue with the notion that lifting odd implements explosively may be an effective way to train football players. I've got no issue arguing on the merits that SM is a better training modality (sorry) for football than oly lifting.

I've got an issue saying, for example:

Olympic lifts can be tedious and take years to execute properly. Eastern block Olympic lifters, routinely the best in the sport, begin training as early as age five. With technique being a critical component, most high school kids learning to Olympic lift correctly must start off using just the bar or a broomstick. They never develop any strength or explosive power.

Which is absolute BS. Lifting odd objects well may be a much better approach than oly lifting with poor technique, but the reverse is true as well, and lifting either with crappy technique is a good ticket to injury.

I have no experience in training football players, so I have little to add to this discussion, except for calling BS on obviously stupid arguments.

Dave Van Skike
05-29-2009, 02:56 PM
His wording is a shade unfair but in terms of context what's the comparison? How much applicable strength is being developed by a 200 pound kid power cleaning 225 with shit form? There are pleny of people who are dedicated adherents to the olympic lifts who may never put more than 315 on the bar. I don't know the answer but it seems fair to question whether the time put into for the value returned is worth it. As a sideline, don't make huge assumptions about the amount of technique in involved in flipping tires and pushing a sled or liaoding a keg..it's fairly open as to what works but there is a very real chance of getting injured either way.

For me, I'm a self taught weight lifter, in the gym probably barely as strong as an low average college football linebacker (that's cheating, one of my current training partners is a D2 linebacker, so I have bit of sense of how strong he adn his teamates are) From that expierience of little or no coaching, I have a clear sense of the amount of effort and the amount of payback I got when I trained the Oly movements very steadily. Obviusly, technique was a huge giant limitation...and one that probably wouldn't go away without devoting near exclusive attention to those lifts. For those that compete in them, this is perfectly reasonble and probably very enjoyable, even cerebral. but for those without acess to good coaching, I'm not sure they're gettign much out of it...I' don't know, I certainly didn't.

Conversely, I've seen huge gains in overall strength using lower skill movements explosivley because I can actually train these movements heavy. So in my expirement of one, this economy argument has some merit.

Arien Malec
05-29-2009, 03:26 PM
As a sideline, don't make huge assumptions about the amount of technique in involved in flipping tires and pushing a sled or liaoding a keg..it's fairly open as to what works but there is a very real chance of getting injured either way.

I totally agree, and that's probably the biggest piece of BS I was calling: stating that oly lifting is inherently unsafe without buckets of technique training but that you can approach SM odd objects and lift the hell out of them with maximum aggressiveness and little training is just foolish.

Dave Van Skike
05-29-2009, 04:27 PM
I totally agree, and that's probably the biggest piece of BS I was calling: stating that oly lifting is inherently unsafe without buckets of technique training but that you can approach SM odd objects and lift the hell out of them with maximum aggressiveness and little training is just foolish.

well, don't get too sidetracked, I don't think it was anyone's intent to pick on Oly lifting as inherently dangerous. Honestly, I think I've hurt myself equally on both btu I try to do everything with maximum foolishness and no technical ability.

Jamie Crichton
05-30-2009, 01:57 AM
You can still see improvements in physical ability with any lifts without needing to be at the limits of your strength. The intra- and intermuscular coordination that more complex lifts develop will benefit running, tackling and other movements without needing to be at some arbitrarily defined heavy weight. If you take that argument to it's logical conclusion you end up saying that the best thing for sports would be training on isolation machines, making the only limiting factor how much force one muscle can generate. It's not realistic. Just learning how to 'triple extend', even with not much weight, is going to be beneficial particularly to younger athletes who need to develop proprioception and coordination.

Also, the olympic lifts are not so much about getting strong as getting fast; developing force as quickly as possible. This does not need to make use of maximal weights; far from it. Look at Westside - 50-60% of raw max as fast as possible. You don't need to use 90+% of what your body is capable of to develop some athletic qualities.

Dave Van Skike
05-30-2009, 06:08 AM
Some interesting points Jamie. A couple things I still don't get

You can still see improvements in physical ability with any lifts without needing to be at the limits of your strength. The intra- and intermuscular coordination that more complex lifts develop will benefit running, tackling and other movements without needing to be at some arbitrarily defined heavy weight.

how? why is this intramuscular coordination of moving a barbell quickly better than moving a sandbag quickly? why would one and not the other teach me run faster? jump higher etc?


If you take that argument to it's logical conclusion you end up saying that the best thing for sports would be training on isolation machines, making the only limiting factor how much force one muscle can generate. It's not realistic.


that's not a logical conclusion that flows from the idea that moving large and weighty objects, (barbells or kegs) is useful for football sport. taken in reverse, if the goal is to increase someone's ability to violently extend their body against a heavy load (another person) why would you ever want to make this drill more technical or specific to an implement?

Also, the olympic lifts are not so much about getting strong as getting fast; developing force as quickly as possible. This does not need to make use of maximal weights; far from it. Look at Westside - 50-60% of raw max as fast as possible. You don't need to use 90+% of what your body is capable of to develop some athletic qualities.


certainly no one would disagree that you can't get strong using submax weights.
but a couple things here that don't click. Weightfiting is absolutley about getting stronger, more powerful and lifting increasingly heavy weights, while speed may be the key quality, it's not the whole picture.

my understanding about is that westside uses a "speed day" alongside a maximum effort day in a given week..A lot of people have argued and continue to argue whether the speed day is really just a "technique day" an active recovery day or, as with most people just becomes another type of ME day with accomodating resistance. there are also many good lifters at westside who don't use the DE or speed day at all. the idea is that DE is part of an overall approach that for a lot of lifters uses a huge amount and variety of assistence lifts. it's not the whole appraoch and on balance, it's not even 50% of the approach.

i guess the question here is why would a barbell be the right choice to teach triple extension, and more specifically, why wouldn't a less technical movement be even better given the time constraints?

Garrett Smith
05-30-2009, 06:41 AM
You guys are totally forgetting kettlebells... :-P

Dave Van Skike
05-30-2009, 08:26 AM
You guys are totally forgetting kettlebells... :-P

touche'

Jamie Crichton
05-30-2009, 08:34 AM
Kettlebells are for geeks.

David, some interesting counterpoints! Regarding the intramuscular coordination thing, I did say that any complex lifts would provide improvements in physical ability without needing to be at the limits of strength. A more simple analogy would be learning to fire your glutes properly. This will increase your deadlift, sprint etc, without needing to move crazy weights.

Learning to move properly, with complex movements executed with attention to technique, will instill more efficient motor patterns that benefit sports without needing to shift massive weights. The reason I think the olympic lifts, or rather, barbell lifts, are good for this purpose is the barbell is the easiest way to shift weight. By removing additional challenges such as the awkward shape of strongman objects, you learn to move in the right way without added distraction.

However, I think that this last point is less important in the scheme of things. Doing your triple extension well, whatever way you choose to express it, is going to be beneficial even if you aren't moving huge weights. It can be strongman, olympic lifting or whatever. But it needs to be performed right, regardless of which lift you choose.

As for your second point, I think this is getting into the debate over specificity of movements for sports. In short, my take on this is that it is less important to consider specifics of movements and more important to consider what they have in common, ie, triple extension. This should be trained without worrying how closely it replicates events in a game.

Triple extension can be trained in an environment (a lift) that replicates the 'ideal' if you like - full explosive extension, body in the right position at every stage to most efficiently perform the movement, etc. This may not occur on the sports field but is worth striving for in the gym. Training it properly makes the likelihood of it occuring on the sports field more likely. If you just dive in, getting your athletes to haul up heavy weight anyhow, then they may get stronger, but they're still going to move wrong and I think this will lead to reduced efficiency and performance.

So I think the lift chosen should fulfill two criteria: it should have a core movement in common with that seen in the sport, and it should imitate as closely as possible the 'ideal' of this common movement, not necessarily as close as possible to how the movement will be performed in the sport itself.

As for Westside, I know the DE method is not the be-all and end-all of their approach. But if you read stuff by Simmons, Tate, Wendler or whoever, they do rate it highly, both for getting stronger, but also for learning to do the movements - ie coordination. Learning to do the movements properly makes you stronger, which is what I'm trying to get at, I think.

I hope that all makes sense. This is a great debate by the way! I hope everyone benefits from it as much as I am.

Dave Van Skike
05-30-2009, 08:47 AM
Jamie, good points. Talk to me about the "right way". I think what i'm positing is that in SM (odd objects) there are a bunch of right ways to explode inot a triple extension...how you do it and how I do it are different almost by neccesity, the things we are moving in this case are (hopefully) bigger than we are...but, this explosion leads you to the same place.

in Oly, i seems there are fewer "right ways" and much attention must be paid to doing it properly if you're going to add load and this I think this is where we part ways, I think Load is king, usefulness of the DE method aside, wherein it is instructive to note how many people (Wendler included) have replaced it with RE work. I do not because I need to learn to move faster, I need to learn the movements period.

But this question of the "ideal" sequence is interesting, for instance, what about the rebending of the knees is ideal? in a lot of ways it seems like a convention forced by the transition of getting a barbell into a jumping position.

Greg Everett
05-30-2009, 09:37 AM
Good discussion, and just a few quick thoughts as I'm running out the door.

The oly lifts are pretty technical. However, we can conclude a couple different things based on the observation of the shitty technique of most athletes: First, that the lifts are too complex to teach well in the limited amount of time most athletes have to learn them; or two, those instructing them are not doing a good job.

I think it's a combination of both. No football player is ever going to be as good at weightlifting as a weightlifter - duh. But I do think it's entirely possible to teach non-lifters sound enough technique in little enough time to reap some benefits that are not available through other means. However, I also will be the first to admit that you have to evaluate the circumstances and make smart choices - if it's clear this basic level of proficiency cannot be achieved for whatever reason, trying is not a good investment of time and energy.

Do the lifts mimic the movements in football? Not really. But neither does flipping a tire or throwing a keg. One could argue that flipping a tire is a lot more similar than a clean to a lineman's duties, and I would agree.

But the point is, "functional" or "productive" doesn't mean mimicry - it means developing physical qualities that improve the athlete's ability to play.

Yes, you can lift stuff quickly - whether a bar in a deadlift or a sandbag or, god-forbid, a kettlebell. But I would argue that no "speed lift" can match the top-end knee/hip extension speed of a snatch or clean. This is just a result of circumstance - you have an implement that can be kept in immediate proximity to the body and there is zero need to slow the implement down at the end of the movement (like a DL - you have to stop). That hip/leg power can then be used to improve upon movements like sandbag lifts, etc, and maybe even sprinting, cutting, pushing another gigantor dude around.

Having said all that, the o-lifts are only one small part of all the goodness to be used to prep footballers for the game, and teaching/learning them can't be allowed to unnecessarily limit the time put into actual training. I do think SM implements/exercises have a great deal of value for these folks (and most others). I just think the idea of using them, or anything else, as actual substitutes for oly lifts isn't legit.

Just my 2 cents, adjusted for inflation.

Jamie Crichton
05-30-2009, 09:44 AM
Well I guess 'the right way' is that which accomplishes your aim as efficiently as possible with a minimum risk of injury. There will always be more in common than different in the ways people lift anything. Also, I think strongman lifts have accepted techniques just like the olympic lifts. Take the stones: there is pretty much a consensus on how the lift should be performed. Try and do something wildly different and you'll probably fail.

These things which all the movements have in common is the most important factor. Take for example keeping a straight back and bracing your spine. This is pretty fundamental to any lift you like. This can be learnt in various ways; however, the end result is the same. I learnt it doing heavy deadlifts. Now I know what to do when I'm asked to snatch or load a heavy sandbag. The basics stay the same regardless of the object being lifted. I would argue that this understanding, this proprioceptive knowledge and body coordination, is just as important as sheer loading.

Getting into the specifics of the knee rebend, well this couldn't be more natural in my opinion. Take anyone untrained or trained and get them to pick something heavy up to the shoulder. Alternatively, get them to lean forward at the waist, then tell them to jump as high as possible. I really didn't understand the idea of the rebend till I started olympic lifting, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Let me throw one back at you: look at stone lifting. You have a first pull to get it past the knees. Then the knees rebend, albeit to a much greater extent than in an olympic 2nd pull, and the stone is rolled onto the thighs and lapped. From them comes explosive hip AND knee extension to load the stone. To my eyes, this is pretty similar to an olympic lift. The differences are semantics when you get down to it.

We want a lift that teaches us to perform this movement in as biomechanically sound a way as possible. Thus when the body is asked to do something similar on the sports field, it will get pretty close to the ideal. This, for me, is strength. Strength, after all, is no more than another skill. You get better at it by practising it. It involves learning greater recruitment of muscle fibres. This is just like learning the piano, just gross motor rather than fine. Moving better makes you stronger, therefore.

Dave Van Skike
05-30-2009, 01:45 PM
I think strongman lifts have accepted techniques just like the olympic lifts. Take the stones: there is pretty much a consensus on how the lift should be performed. Try and do something wildly different and you'll probably fail.

not really. there is pretty huge spread

Take for example keeping a straight back and bracing your spine. This is pretty fundamental to any lift you like. This can be learnt in various ways; however, the end result is the same.


Again. No. In a lot of really powerful explosive SM movements you move from round back to arched back ..or not... The key is bracing in any f'ed up position you find yourself. Perfect form will screw you very very quickly in the bright light of day.


Getting into the specifics of the knee rebend, well this couldn't be more natural in my opinion. Take anyone untrained or trained and get them to pick something heavy up to the shoulder. Alternatively, get them to lean forward at the waist, then tell them to jump as high as possible. I really didn't understand the idea of the rebend till I started olympic lifting, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Let me throw one back at you: look at stone lifting. You have a first pull to get it past the knees. Then the knees rebend, albeit to a much greater extent than in an olympic 2nd pull, and the stone is rolled onto the thighs and lapped. From them comes explosive hip AND knee extension to load the stone. To my eyes, this is pretty similar to an olympic lift. The differences are semantics when you get down to it.


This makes some sense to me. The knee rebend might be a key component where Oly lifts are specfically transferable. I can see that.


We want a lift that teaches us to perform this movement in as biomechanically sound a way as possible. Thus when the body is asked to do something similar on the sports field, it will get pretty close to the ideal. This, for me, is strength. Strength, after all, is no more than another skill. You get better at it by practising it. It involves learning greater recruitment of muscle fibres. This is just like learning the piano, just gross motor rather than fine. Moving better makes you stronger, therefore.


We are in total agreement. I guess I've seen how far people get thinking about Mozart when they're not ready for chopsticks. My experience leads me to believe that I can learn to explode under a heavy object like a tire more easily than I can can master an implement like a barbell and what's more, once I've learned how to do that with a tire, I can learn to do it with a sandbag, a body two bodys, etc....

Someone who really knows how to train the Oly lifts to football Coaches probably can ell this but I would bet one of the reasons Oly lifts and more specifically the power variants work in sports is the lack of an eccentric, until you're quite advanced, you can do it very often...more often may be more better..

Other than that, I'm not convinced that there's some intangible quality that you can't replicate elsewhere. That said, I think Greg's explanation adds something along the lines of the eccentrics being out of the picture and the not having to slow the BB thing is BIG.

Arien Malec
05-30-2009, 02:30 PM
Just one more thing to add to this discussion. Dave, close your eyes for a bit, because this is going to involve neuromuscular efficiency.

This discussion isn't about how to build strength -- the answer to that is squats, dls, press, bp, chins, etc. It's about rate of force development: the ability to apply that strength quickly, explosively and well coordinated.

It seems to me (and I'll admit that I'm speaking from the position of a person who is a beginner at Olympic lifting, has only played around with sandbag training, and has no experience in football), that it is harder to train RFD with an awkward load than with a well balanced barbell placed in the position of maximal biomechanical efficiency. Kegs, sandbags, logs, etc., may well have a part in training how to apply that RFD to hard to control objects in a coordinated way, but few things are going to beat the olympic lifts in training the body how to explode quickly.

That being said, if power cleans and snatches from the hang are all that can be effectively learned, that would probably suffice for RFD.

Dave Van Skike
05-30-2009, 06:14 PM
Just one more thing to add to this discussion. Dave, close your eyes for a bit, because this is going to involve neuromuscular efficiency.

This discussion isn't about how to build strength -- the answer to that is squats, dls, press, bp, chins, etc. It's about rate of force development: the ability to apply that strength quickly, explosively and well coordinated.

It seems to me (and I'll admit that I'm speaking from the position of a person who is a beginner at Olympic lifting, has only played around with sandbag training, and has no experience in football), that it is harder to train RFD with an awkward load than with a well balanced barbell placed in the position of maximal biomechanical efficiency. Kegs, sandbags, logs, etc., may well have a part in training how to apply that RFD to hard to control objects in a coordinated way, but few things are going to beat the olympic lifts in training the body how to explode quickly.

That being said, if power cleans and snatches from the hang are all that can be effectively learned, that would probably suffice for RFD.

smaller words please.

Arien Malec
05-30-2009, 08:06 PM
smaller words please.

Lift big things slowly not same as lift very fast.

Hard to lift very fast if load awkward.

Clean, jerk and snatch better to train lift very fast.

Lift very fast help push big man over.

Dave Van Skike
05-30-2009, 09:22 PM
Lift big things slowly not same as lift very fast.

Hard to lift very fast if load awkward.

Clean, jerk and snatch better to train lift very fast.

Lift very fast help push big man over.


better.

appended.


Lift big things slowly not same as lift very fast.

Hard to lift very fast if load awkward but more awesomer to do it.

Clean, jerk and snatch better to train lift very fast if you know how to teach it worth a damn.

Lift very fast help knock snot right out of big man's nose, no apology required

Garrett Smith
05-31-2009, 06:38 AM
Funny (and good) stuff.

Adam Gagliardi
06-05-2009, 07:41 AM
good discussion and hysterical last few posts