Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Power and Speed

As the sport of CrossFit has grown so have many other not as well known sports. With CrossFit, Olympic lifting and gymnastics have become more mainstream, at least with the CrossFit community. But, those of you who have never played organized sports or it's been a few years since that time may not realize that Olympic lifting has been a mainstay in many of your high school and college weight rooms. There are varying opinions on whether or not Olympic style lifting is as affective as say, power lifting or strongman training for your competitive athlete. I personally think there is room for both, but to build power and speed there is nothing better than the Olympic style lifts.

Artie Dreschler says, "The mere practice of the Olympic lifts teaches an athlete how to apply large amounts of force. Part of the extraordinary abilities of an Olympic lifter arises out of his having learned how to effectively activate more of his muscle fibers more rapidly than others who aren’t trained to do so. This becomes extremely important for athletes who need to remain at lower body weights for athletic purposes but need to learn how to apply greater force. Olympic lifts will help build force development without producing unnecessary hypertrophy, which could even tighten the athlete up and make him or her slower."

You can directly apply this understanding to train football players, wrestlers, baseball players, and even basketball players. Oh, and CrossFitters as well. These lifts can also be applied to your younger athlete to help develop body control and explosive power.

Matt Delany of says, "However, with younger athletes, there’s a lot you can do to progress them to have bulletproof shoulders with Olympic lifting movements. At this young age, there are many structural and postural changes that can be made quickly as long as you make smart progressions. A very intelligent physical therapist, John Pallof, has actually found a place for cleans in his program for pitchers because he believes the lifts have some unique qualities in force absorption for the shoulder.

Not only will Olympic lifting help with all the stated points above but will help with strength gains. Over the past three months I have dedicated myself nearly to Olympic lifting only with one to two CrossFit workouts a week and have managed to take 80% (#360) of my back squat max and do 6x6 with out any real spotting. Managing to make this jump in such a short period of time is quit an accomplishment for someone who didn't back squat on a regular basis. I have also managed to keep myself in fairly descent metcon shape.

I think Olympic lifting can and should be a valuable part of your training package. You should have a knowledgeable coach to help with form and to guide you with your progressions. The lifts are fun and will help you have the strength gains you want and help develop either the athletes you train or yourself.

Source: Defending Olympic Lifting Movements for Athletes, Strongmen, and Powerlifters.

Update on Fuel 21!
So this is day three of Fuel 21 and so far so good. Sticking to the list and eating when hungry. My body comp was about what I thought it would be with 15% body fat and weighing in at190lbs. My goal is for below 10% body fat and weighing in at below 180lbs. It's gonna happen!
Look for more to come!

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