Sep 17, 2002

Role Of Olympic Lifts In High School

September 17 "Too many coaches attempt to learn the tricks of the trade rather than simply learning the trade." -Coach Johnny Mallettt

Dear Coach Rody,

In one of your articles, you mention a lack of carry over between the power clean (or any Olympic lift) to running. Stating there is no forward lean. I am confused as you use the deadlift and squat. But all three lifts are in a vertical how do
they (SQ/DL) differ from the power clean, in terms of effectiveness? Any insight you have would be appreciated. Good training to you,
Chad Touchberry

Coach Touchberry,

I think there was some misunderstanding concerning your power clean question. We know that those movements such as the squat and dead lift do not incorporate a forward lean. Our point was that the power clean does not simulate a sprint as the authors of that book contend. I hope we have not misled you to think a weight room movement should simulate a sprint. We believe that if your athletes want to get faster they should practice sprinting while getting stronger in the weight room. Thanks for you question. I hope this helps.
Coach Rody
Coach Rody,
I understand what your saying. I just disagree with it. I say if you can lift a heavier load......your talking about strength. Power is per unit of time. Big difference. To develop power one must overload the muscle and recruit as much muscle fiber as possible." Resistance lifted is a factor......but not without speed. Power per unit of time. greatest power outputs occur between 50% and 85%. Well below the need %'s for changes in strength. Two different and important attributes in training. Both have a separate protocol. My 2 cents.
Coach T

Thanks for your comments. Let me reassure you that we use the same definition of Power you do. However, where many people assume the answer to the equation = developing power we say if you can lift a heavier load than you are simply expressing power as one would express power in throwing a shot put or make a tackle. To develop power one must overload the muscle an recruit as much muscle fiber as possible. So, we use the same formula everyone else uses but we recognize a deference between expressing power and developing power. We would rather develop power in the weight room and express it on the field.

Thanks for the good dialog, hope this helps clear it up.
Coach Rody
Coach Rody,

We agree on something's. Its just our application of ideas is different.

I agree that most HS programs are not prepared to teach Olympic lifting, nor should they try. But I do believe that Olympic lifts, as well as their variations are appropriate when properly instructed. I don't believe that a lift is dangerous........just the mis-coaching, or poor supervision of the lift. I realize there is no momentum in the deadlift, and there is in the clean. But less we forget that it is muscular effort that imparts force on a barbell to create momentum.

"The tension is taken of the muscle of a brief second making the lift less efficient to develop power." True, but there is also a moment of eccentric or yielding strength following the completion of the lift. I also disagree with the idea that the muscle must remain under tension to develop power. Time under tension operates under the idea that increasing tension over time leads to greater development of force.......this does not apply to power. Long periods of time and power cannot work!!! It goes against the actually scientific definition of power................... Moreover, this is very similar in terms of how athletics are played. Lets stay with the sprint. A burst of muscular effort, but then a brief second of non-linear tension. We also disagree on the definition of power. You seemed to have created your own operational definition. One which I don't really understand.

Not trying to pick a fight. I myself am a strength coach and realize that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Just like some educated debate.

Good training,
Coach Chad


We agree that there is more than one way to train our athletes. There are many successful teams that have performed the Olympic lifts just as there is many successful teams who do not perform them. We strongly consider safety and efficiency which we think are aspects of our program that puts our style and many alike above the rest.

Appreciate your comments and wish you the best of luck. Coach Rody

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