Sep 16, 2011

Joe DeFranco on Olympic Lifts for Athletes

Sep 16 Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, and half-shut afterwards.  -Benjamin Franklin

Joe Defranco over at Defrancostraining.com answers questions from his readers. This one caught my eye. Specifically and athlete asks him about the importance of Olympic lifts for training athletes.
Q: First of all, great site coach! Strength and Conditioning is a passion of mine and here in CT, I wish more of us shared the same passion. Anyways, I had a quick question for you about lifting for football. I play OLB at Central Connecticut. I see most schools are very in tuned to using Olympic lifting as a large part of their strength programs. From your site, I see that you don’t use any Olympic lifts like cleans, snatches or jerks. But I also see that your athletes are ANIMALS! Just curious on your thoughts. Keep up the good work and any info you could give me would be great.

Sincerely,
Brian

A: Brian,
You are correct; I do feel that the Olympic lifts are highly overrated. Yet, you are also correct in that most of our athletes are ANIMALS! How could this be? Aren’t the Olympic lifts the best way to become “explosive” and athletic in the weight room? My answer is an emphatic, “No!”

See the entire article here at Joe's site.

In his answer he goes into the technique required to properly execute the lifts and the weaknesses most athletes have that keep them from excelling from the lifts and finally talks about the most bang for the training buck.

in another answer Mr DeFranco writes:
I've discussed my stance regarding hang cleans and power cleans many times before on this website. Simply put, I don't feel they are necessary for any class of athlete (with the exception of Olympic weightlifters).

One of the reasons I feel coaches believe that cleans are making their athletes "explosive" is because they focus their attention on the barbell, instead of focussing on the athlete during the lift! The barbell bounces around and the weights make loud noises, so everyone thinks something "explosive" is happening! Unfortunately, the only things usually "exploding" are the athlete's lumbar spine, patella tendons and the tendons and ligaments that support their wrists!

Later in the same article
The final "clincher" for me this past year was when THREE separate Division 1 college football players entered my program with surgically-repaired wrists due to the "catch" phase of this exercise! All three of these athletes were forced to do hang cleans during their college careers and now their training will be negatively effected forever. FYI, two of the three athletes are now in the NFL and have to deal with an injury that was 100% preventable if their coaches would have provided them with safer, more logical, exercise choices!

So there you have it, straight from someone who knows something about Olympic lifts and training athletes.

In all fairness Mr. DeFranco does use methods we don't endorse such as explosive movements with other lifts. But he darn sure doesn't leave any ambiguity to the usefulness of olympic lifts in an athlete's training program. Useful - like tits on a turtle.

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