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Old 10-01-2009, 11:39 AM   #1
Torsten Hauptmann
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Default RE: PM 57 learning the olympic lifts - necessary?

i could have called this "best bang for the buck: power variants vs competition lifts" or competition lifts for GPP.

i have to admit that that is only my opinion i formed during discussions with my past weightlifting coach and i was very fortunate to meet him as he is a great trainer (he had two olympic champions). but still - i do not have enough experience myself to base my judgment on my own experiences.

i think that - for a generalist - drilling the competition lifts beyond a basic understanding of them is useless because of the complexity of the lifts. my past weightlifting coach told me that a weightlifter needs to train 4 times a week for a litte less than two hours (8 hours a week) and that is even enough for most semi pro athletes. but on the other hand training 4 hours a week, i.e. two training sessions throughout the week, will not lead to performance increase over a very very basic level. and training 2 times a week is only adviseable for a lifter who has years of experience in weightlifting who just wants to stay at the level he is on. my past weightlifting coach advised me not to do something else outside of his training because he said that doing so will not improve the olympic lifts beyond a basic level (in a resonable time). basic level for him was a bodyweight snatch. it was interesting to see that in the weightlifting club i trained nobody besids me snatched less than their bodyweight - and even new lifters mostly achived that goal within one year. compared to crossfit standards a bodyweight sntach is elite level at least when compared to the CF games champions.




i now would like to discuss that type of opinion in light of the different hybrid programms out there. here is what i got:

i think that spending a lot of attention on the competion lifts is wasted time (for a generalist) besids a basic understanding of them, i.e. being able to do a full snatch with a least 2/3 BW. and after that training for more power than technique while rotating between power clean, clean pull, clean (maybe 2 or 3 pos. clean), 1/3 clean deadlift (halting), power snatch, snatch pull, snatch balance, snatch, thruster, push press, snatch grip push press, push jerk, (maybe jerk)
this will improve the competition lifts a litte above a basic performance but not due to technique but due to power and the athlete has saved a lot of time which is needed to develop a resonable strong snatch and clean&jerk. with that time the athlete can do GPP training and most important perform well in his normal life and care for familiy and work.
as a sidenote my coach said that from his experience training the pulls with heavier weight than the athlete is able to clean or snatch does not lead to improvement in the clean or snatch at an intermediate (and above) level of technique.
also i do not intent to say that the power based assistance lifts for the c&j and the snatch make up a very good hybrid program but maybe they form a good solution for someone how is short in time and wants to play around with the olympic lifts and wants a GPP hybrid program too.

other points:
does anyone have a clue if the competition lifts do have a significant higher translation to real life fitness than their power variants and how to measure that?

i have a objection agains the competition lifts because good technique does shorten the ROM of the barpath as much as possible while CF says "increased ROM is always good" i see that good technique would help to save power but that comes only true for relativly light metcon weights whereas no high level of skill is requried to do that.
i have the argument with heavy pulls do not improve competition lifts in mind because then the athlete will not need to max his pulling power to become a elite lifter. but for the generalist it might be good to max his pulling power because it may translate more to that kind of power which is needed for real life fitness.
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Old 10-01-2009, 04:48 PM   #2
Andy Robinson
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the full lifts have a longer range of motion than any of the other variations that you mentioned...
also, who cares what CF says? either lift or don't. besides that it doesn't really matter, does it?
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Old 10-01-2009, 05:13 PM   #3
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I strongly disagree.

Good Oly lifters have very good translation over to CF. Dutch agrees with me on this if you read his recent blog posts.

The reason Josh Everett does well is that he works and is good with (1) Oly lifts, and (2) Sprinting. These two things translate over to CF more than anything else. The only thing I would say is lacking is working advanced strength on rings (IMO).

Good Oly strength has translation and technical ability to ALL of the other lifts CF uses.
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Old 10-01-2009, 05:35 PM   #4
Garrett Smith
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Nothing feels as good as a good snatch. 'Nuff said.

Also, as opposed to the "it doesn't have to be fun to be fun" CF ethos...OL *is* actually fun.

There is a reason for OL being included in CF programming...how well it is incorporated is highly debateable, but it is there for the fact that it has the potential to hugely improve one's athleticism (especially for those who don't play "real" sports otherwise).

I would hazard a guess that many people who are in CF a long time tend to gravitate towards more of their training being around OL and/or gymnastics.

If you are really looking to justify not including the full OLs in your program, then simply don't do them. Life is too short to do exercises you don't enjoy (unless they keep you out of pain, that is).
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Old 10-01-2009, 06:00 PM   #5
Paul Epstein
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i enjoy doing things where i can measure my success and improvement. it keeps me motivated. throw in a little competition and in hooked.

i cant get this with assistance excersizes.

plus as garrett says, why wouldnt you? o-lifting is fun. the satisfaction on a PB on a Snatch is huge.
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Old 10-01-2009, 07:51 PM   #6
Garrett Smith
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Torsten,
If you hadn't already figured out, most of the folks on this CA forum are pretty pro-OL. You might get more of the responses that you seem to be looking for (ie. OLs are a waste of time for generalists, as you said above) at the CF forums.

The contract-relax-contract cycling in OL cannot be replicated with any other generalist exercises, only possibly in sports moves.
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:52 PM   #7
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If you're not training for the CrossFit Games, I'd say do whatever you want. It's not like you're training for a competition. You're not going to win a generalist competition with your friends because you can snatch and clean and jerk. Your goals are your goals.

Don't let CrossFit determine your goals. If you're training for the hell of it, why do something you're disinclined to do? Olympic lifting helps with CrossFit because CrossFit incorporates Olympic lifts. It doesn't mean Olymplic lifts are necessary for general fitness. They can be a great tool, but not necessary in my opinion.
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:10 AM   #8
Torsten Hauptmann
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett Smith View Post
If you hadn't already figured out, most of the folks on this CA forum are pretty pro-OL. You might get more of the responses that you seem to be looking for (ie. OLs are a waste of time for generalists, as you said above) at the CF forums.
thats is acutally the reason why i posted it here because here are a lot people knowing their stuff: i agree with all of you. maybe i did not made my point clear enough.
oly lifts are fun (at least for me) but it is not funny not to improve at a rate with is fun and that is what happend to me after i stopped primary oly lifting. i like the lifts but when i do not get corrected by a good coach every time i lift, some lifts are wasted time. besids the fact that often lifting heavier weights is limited due to technique and until technique is fine no power improvement happens and simply to improve power more as in the power variants or assistance excersises like the pulls does not lead to better competition lifts. it is more likely that the numbers of the power variants will approximate to the competition lifts than the competition lifts going up. at least that is what my past coach told me from his experiences. but if that is the case the bottomline is that the athlete has developed a greater power than before but can not display it in competition because power is only one single element besids others needed to perform the competition lifts successful

my argument is not there for someone who does want to train the competition lifts most of his time and for sure oly lifting + sprinting translates very well to CF even with litte exposure to metcons. but if there is need for time managment due to factors outside of training (i.e. for non pro athletes) then there is the questions what to do in the given time. that again is not a problem if you are a weightlifter - than you will train the competition lifts. but if you more like me and like gymnastics, weightlifting and metcons than you have 2 elements (weightlifting and gymnastics) which are highly skill driven - and i like skillwork. but then you have like me to deal with your time. gymnastics is nice because you can focus on a single skill and the necessary strength to perform this skill and then go to the next one or just work one apparatus. not so with the competition lifts each of them needs a lot attention if you want to become good at them and most important you need someone who is coaching you until you are very good (that means not just a bodyweight snatch).

that is my argument.
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:03 AM   #9
Gavin Harrison
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There's no real reason to do a full clean or snatch if you're not competing, most people can get most of the benefits just from the power clean/snatch. I'd say, someone with limited time might best be served by doing something like 5/3/1, including power cleans before the squat or deadlift and doing gymnastic work after the main lifts, or do the main lifts 2x a week and gymnastics on other days.

EDIT: and doing some sort of conditioning after all of that.
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:27 AM   #10
Steven Low
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Like it's been stated before.. do what you enjoy.


I still disagree with your assessment though. You're saying that for those time limited, they maybe should focus on other things. If they want to be competitive with CF, then if they're time limited MOST of their time should go into Oly.

Most of the people who have had staying power (top 10 in CF games) like OPT/Jolie/etc. either workout with Greg Everett gym or have made trips there to train for months at a time to work on their Oly technique.

If your Oly is a weakness, then you better put that in your warmup and do TONS of skill work on it EVERYDAY. There is no question what you should be working on. You should be working on the highest skill moves which translate to everything else in CF -- aka Oly lifts.
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Last edited by Steven Low : 10-02-2009 at 11:30 AM.
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