Today I have a great guest Blog Post from my very good friend, Podcast partner, and amazing Olympic Weightlifter and Coach WIL FLEMING….Enjoy!
The next wave of training athletes with the Olympic lifts is already here.
If you don’t believe me then all you need to do is hop on youtube or facebook and see the videos of athletes doing Olympic lifts at programs around the country. Programs like Auburn and Alabama, and from well respected coaches around the nation are demonstrating where the use of Olympic lifts are going. At my private facility, we figured this out a couple years ago, but I have been excited to see it happen on a broader sense recently.
It’s not going to be good enough to teach your athletes to power clean, and then be okay with it when they pull with their back, jump their feet out too wide, and catch the bar with their elbows down. It’s not going to be okay at light weights and making the excuse “it’s a max weight” isn’t going to work either.
I have heard for too long that “we don’t want to make great weightlifters that are good athletes, we want to make great athletes that are good weightlifters.” While this sentiment remains true, for too long this meant teaching hang power cleans from the knee for 10 minutes a couple times and then saying you “do a good job with the Olympic lifts.” Meanwhile your athletes are pulling weights in a way that makes me cringe.
The next wave of weightlifting with athletes is here, and it is all about GREAT technique. Good isn’t good enough anymore, you need to be able to teach your athletes great technique.
Athletes need to be taught AT MINIMUM to have the ability to catch a hang clean or hang snatch in a deep squat position. To do so requires technique certainly, but it also benefits your athletes in a ton of ways that make the technique focus worthwhile.
1)Incredible mobility: Certainly no athlete that I work with receives the bar in the deep squat without being able to move well in the hips/ankle/t-spine, so if there is a limitation we will work to the edge of their ability but not past. For those athletes that can achieve the deep squat, we go all the way at least once per week over the course of 3-4 weeks in their program.
2) Less risk for injury: It should go without saying but by teaching the MOST correct technique allows athletes to move higher weights in a safer manner. To get the most in terms of power production and strength development, working up to near a max is a must at some point in your program. Doing so without equipping your athletes with the best technique possible is naive. You must do everything in your toolbox to do so.
3) Your athletes have the potential to do this: Weightlifting is a sport, and it takes skill to complete the movements in the sporting way, but your athletes can benefit by the work it takes to get to the point of doing a great clean or snatch. Their legs get stronger and their movement potential increases, these things are directly tied to being more successful on the field or court.
If you don’t believe me all you need to do is watch the training videos at the top college strength programs. They are utilizing their resources to teach the best possible technique to their athletes, many times resulting in a full clean/snatch from the hang or even from the floor. This is no accident, this is where weightlifting for athletes is headed.
If you need a foolproof teaching method Wil just released his new book The Complete Olympic Lifting Handbook and it is on sale on Amazon right now. Go grab a copy and learn how he teaches great technique to hundreds of athletes every week.