High rep oly lifts
Forgive me if this has been posted elsewhere. I am studying to be a strength and conditioning specialist and I am really curious about some of crossfits high rep oly lifting (grace=30 rep clean&press @ 135# and another 30 reps on snatch). I understand crossfit says these are metcons and trying to produce more power and rate of force developement. But from what I understand you should be using oly lifts for more explosive power/strength. Are these dangerous or are they ok for the metcon they are supposed to be?
There is nothing necessarily dangerous about high-rep oly lifting IF the athlete in question has an established technical base (which excludes nearly all CFers). However, there's nothing really beneficial about it either. You can produce greater conditioning demands with other exercises that carry less injury potential and less potential to interfere with motor patterns used for technical lifts.
So yes, I would save the lifts for lower rep power/strength/speed training and use other methods for conditioning.
high rep Oly
low rep, heavier weight Oly lifts will improve power/explosiveness, while higher rep and moderate/lighter weight efforts will build work capacity. That is how the Russians structure their programs for their athletes. I have had numerous conversations with a Soviet track athlete (CMS in long jump) who trained at the USSR's massive training facility in the Odessa, Ukraine in the 1970s (alongside the 1972 Olympic Decathlon Champion Nikolay Avilov). He said ALL the athletes (basketball, soccer, hockey, volleyball, T&F, tennis, etc.) did the Oly lifts for low reps, heavy (relative) weights and KBs for high rep weight work. The non-strength sports did less volume, but they never had athletes do high rep Oly lifts as part of their programming. Ever now and then, athletes who had mastered a lift would do a high rep set - my friend said he saw Nikolay do about 20 BB Cleans in a row with 100 kg (he was around 85kg).
Here's a clip of a russian KB champ doing high reps with 2 32kg KBs.
But is he strong???
Here is a clip of him rowing 500 km in 1:19 the FIRST time he ever tried it.
The vast majority of people have never seen high level KB athletes in action, so they don't have any idea what high rep weightlifting is all about (not putting the weight down being a rule).
The Oly lifts require the wrists and shoulders to be put in much more extreme angles than the KB lifts. The form is optimized for maximum weight, not reps. It's like using a pick up truck to transport people. You can do it, but it's problematic at best and dangerous at worst.
Thanks for the information that to do this your base must be good and strong then it can easily be performed. Thanks for this post it is good.
Hey Matt, its important too to remember that that 30 rep workout was created by Greg Glassman, and he was never an olympic weightlifter nor coached any olympic weightlifters.
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