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Old 02-18-2009, 02:38 PM   #1
Dave Van Skike
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Default Specificity? State your position.

An interesting thing to me is the degree to which people in strenght sports in particular place on replicating positon for one movement into the positon of another:

examples from Oly include...

replicating your clean position when pulling deadlifts

replicating squat stance and pulling position

hand position for presses same as jerks.

Examples in PL include hand position for presses same as bench. In strongman maybe it's how you set up for a tire or set shoulders for the pick on farmers...

Certainly one doesn't want to set up randomly for each movement, a consitency is required to a degree.

Not trying to rehash the LBBS vs. HBBS controversy and I understand how complicated the Oly movements are.
But, perrsonally, I've gotten so much more out of doing different variations of a movement to get past a sticking point, that that I can picture why it's neccessary here.

I'm interested to hear a good case for this hyper specificity. Is it important at all. Does one really get confused on accessory movements? say between DL and cleans or rows or hi pulls? Is it just a matter of removing a variable so you don't have to think about it?
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Old 02-18-2009, 03:55 PM   #2
Kevin Perry
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I'd say it's only important if say the person is a competitive athlete but for someone who just wants to really nail down their form and improve then practicing all the assistance exercises that need to be worked for a specific exercise and adapting the form wouldn't suffer from using the positions of an Oly specific movement with deadlift, etc.

Not a big deal with crossfitters because they only need to know enough to get through the workout but when a speific lift begins to suffer then they will focus on that specific lift and eventually work through all the different aspects that improve that lift.

I have found my cleans to improve dramatically when I started using a clean grip on all my pulling movements as an example.

Not sure if im making sense.
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:18 PM   #3
Mike ODonnell
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Variety is good...but not at the expense of neglecting progression of volume/weights.
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Old 02-18-2009, 06:29 PM   #4
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As one who has competed in powerlifting, and even trained "westside" for several years (they are the kings of variety) then switched to weightlifting, I have seen some differences in how variety can be applied to each sport. In powerlifting, there is no question that variety works... all kinds of it, variety of movements, variety of exercises, variety of speeds, it all seems to work.

In weightlifting, it seems some variety works, some doesnt. For instance, there is a fair amount of consensus that pulling from different heights works. Many, probably most, coaches use blocks to pull off of, some have multiple heights, some even use blocks to stand on to extend the pull. I have used these methods, and agree with the consensus that it works. Curt White, one of the all time best US lifters, reportedly used a lot of variations in his grip width while snatching, using various grip widths that were from one inch narrower than his competition width to almost a clean grip, while snatching. This is not as common, but it worked for him, and I have seen evidence of this in the training of both Russian and Chinese international level lifters.

In contrast to this the pulling position seems almost "sacred". Lifters and coaches go to great lenghts to avoid any bad habits creeping into the pulling position. The vast majority of lifters and coaches avoid even pulling weights too heavy to follow the same line of pull and "tempo" as a competition lift.

My experience as a coach makes me tend to agree with most of the conventional wisdom.
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Old 02-18-2009, 08:30 PM   #5
Dave Van Skike
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thanks glenn, that's interesting. i'm certainly not a student of the sport's history but was it this way when the press was still a lift? the same for splitters?
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:27 PM   #6
Garrett Smith
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I'm no Glenn Pendlay, obviously, here's my $0.02 anyway.

I try to do different variations when I can and when I think the variations have benefits. If I'm doing a variation on a "major" lift, I try to make sure it is different enough than the most important version to not confuse the motor patterns.

For example, doing "B" squats as a portion of my back/front squat sets. Different enough not to confuse motor patterns for sure. I think "B" squats are highly underrated and underutilized, along with having athletic benefits from the staggered stance.

I would use my clean grip (including the hook) for my DLs, along with a similar stance, as my OLs will always have priority over my PLs.

I would use the same grip on all of my presses. That said, I get all sorts of extra "different" work pressing with the gymnastics stuff (no bar most times, obviously).

I don't have a specific goal though, other than enjoying my training, feeling athletically "capable" and being competitive in Master's OL in a couple of years. I figure if I stay healthy (by doing variations to both stay strong in many different ways while minimizing repetitive mechanical wear patterns on the joints) than there won't be much issue.

For those who wish to be specific and as competitive as possible, I don't believe my approach to be optimal in any way.
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