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Old 10-19-2011, 08:40 PM   #1
Preston Sprimont
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programming olympic lifts

A question on programming:

I read somewhere (I can't quite remember where... maybe it was something by Rip? or maybe Mel Siff? or maybe some bogus online article?) that doing lots of explosive pulling/pushing, as in the clean & jerk and the snatch, can lead to some imbalances that can eventually cause chronic joint/muscle issues. The reason, if I remember correctly, is that these movements are almost strictly concentric, and thus the body undergoes repeated heavy concentric movements without any of the "matching" eccentric loading that you get in the slow lifts (particularly squat and bench; I guess pressing and deadlifting can have varying eccentric loading depending on how they are performed). For some reason that I am not informed enough to explain, this high volume of heavy concentric movements with a very low volume of eccentric loading can do bad things to the body (I imagined it to be a similar effect as doing a lot of pushing with very little pulling).
So, my question(s):
- Does this sound like a familiar and legitimate idea? The basic idea makes sense to me, but again, I can't remember if I got this from a credible source, and I'm not an anatomy/physiology guru.
- Does anyone here do supplemental work in their training to add "balance" when you are doing lots of explosive concentric movements?

I'm not concerned about this personally, as I am happily following CFFB programming and it doesn't have a ton of Olympic lifting and has plenty of squatting, etc. But I am very curious from a programming theory perspective to hear some responses.
Thanks!
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:18 PM   #2
Aaron Gainer
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Re: programming olympic lifts

You do realize most Olympic Lifters do tons of strength work to help increase their lifts right? Squatting(front, back, overhead), All overhead press variations and some bench when appropriate, and pulls from the floor.

If anything, Olympic lifters tend to be the most balanced athletes out there. Both the snatch and the clean and jerk involve the entire body in the movement. Their impressive strength and mobility are a good reason why they tend to be less injury-prone.

Imbalances happen from poor technique, poor posture, and overuse. Smart lifters avoid this by programming correctly and lifting within their range. Remember, less is more when it comes to programming exercises.

The thing to consider is prehabbing for your sport. In my case, I do lots of shoulder and hip mobility stuff mostly post workout to increase recovery and prevent injury. Mobility wod provides great examples of these and other areas. You need to find where your weak and strengthen it. Beyond that, continue training, eating correctly, and sleeping like a baby.
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:48 PM   #3
Daniel Wheeler
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Re: programming olympic lifts

I'm on my phone or I would post links.

Google lu (I won't even attempt to butcher his last name) world record holder in the 77 kg class (correct if I'm wrong whoever reads this).

If that's imbalanced then I want to be as imbalanced as I can be.
Actually just google pictures of any weightlifter on the olympic stage and see if you think they look imbalanced.
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Old 10-19-2011, 10:05 PM   #4
Andrew Bell
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Re: programming olympic lifts

Quote:
Actually just google pictures of any weightlifter on the olympic stage and see if you think they look imbalanced.
Hossein Rezazadeh??? lol, just kidding, I know what you are talking about. klokov on the other hand.... wow.

All oly lifting programs that I know of have extra squat work. Some add in the pressing, and some add in a ton of other things.

The Bulgarians kept it simple and where the best in the world at the time....

Quote:
In 1969 when Abadjiev took over as national coach, the team used 19 exercises in their training. Over the next 20 years, as he continually adapted his program, exercises were progressively discarded until 1986 when his lifters performed just 5 (Snatch, Power Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Power Clean and Front Squat) and exclusively for single repetitions. Throughout this period the team's results in International competition continued to improve and Bulgaria became the top weightlifting nation in the world.
Personally, I have a great system that works for me, and has put 20kg's on my clean and jerk in a year. It combines both oly lifts, and the power lifts.
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Old 10-19-2011, 10:16 PM   #5
Daniel Wheeler
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Re: programming olympic lifts

Haha I should have excluded a weight class or two
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Old 10-20-2011, 12:05 AM   #6
Preston Sprimont
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Re: programming olympic lifts

I think the intent of my original post came off wrong... I'm not questioning the physical prowess of olympic weightlifters or whether the typical olympic lifter's programming is prone to dangerous anatomical imbalances because it involves a lot of explosive pulling. I know olympic lifters do tons of squatting and pressing and other strict strength movements. Also, I'm not concerned about my own programming at the moment and I'm not saying I think I am in any danger of muscular imbalances because I have olympic weightlifting in my program.

So, to clarify my original questions, I am wondering if anyone thinks there is any sort of legitimacy to the idea that lots of heavy concentric pulls with little eccentric loading can be detrimental? I know 99% of people who do olympic lifting won't encounter this problem, but I thought it might be something to consider in the theory of programming.
And, to add to that, (if you do your own programming) do you couple particular exercises with olympic lifts in order to hit the eccentric as well as the concentric? (squats would be the most obvious one here, but maybe RDLs or good mornings could have their place)

Hopefully I've made a bit more sense.
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Old 10-20-2011, 01:53 AM   #7
James Hanley
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Re: programming olympic lifts

I think using world class athletes who've managed to survive thru one of sports most intense grinding systems as examples of what olympic lifting will do for the average dude is a bit mad!

I think trying to figure out whether concentric only training is a bad prospect long term is nothing more than a pointless thought experiment. If you want to get in ANY way good at the lifts, you'll need to program in strength work too.

Be interesting to see where this thread goes anyway
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Old 10-20-2011, 03:51 AM   #8
Graeme Moore
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Re: programming olympic lifts

Agreed, it's kind of like wondering what would happen if you only ate fish and nothing else.

On the other hand, I know Brooks Kubik currently advocates cleans, jerks and snatches to the exclusion of all else particularly for older lifters where recovery time is paramount. Though I know he'll also do the odd set of front squats or push presses. I'm guessing if he's not concerned about an explicit eccentric/concentric balance then it's a moot point or of negligible value at best.

I'm no expert though, so yeah it'll be interesting to see where the thread goes but I think it's ultimately a fruitless exercise!
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Old 10-20-2011, 08:54 AM   #9
Daniel Wheeler
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Re: programming olympic lifts

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Originally Posted by James Hanley View Post
I think using world class athletes who've managed to survive thru one of sports most intense grinding systems as examples of what olympic lifting will do for the average dude is a bit mad!

I think trying to figure out whether concentric only training is a bad prospect long term is nothing more than a pointless thought experiment. If you want to get in ANY way good at the lifts, you'll need to program in strength work too.

Be interesting to see where this thread goes anyway
If the question is whether or not primarily oly lifting is ultimately bad for you, then the best possible examples will be the athletes that have done more oly lifting than anyone else on the planet.

I guess if the goal is strictly hypertrophy/mass or whatever then you would want more time under tension... but oly lifters, except some of the extreme heavies, are freakin ripped.
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Old 10-20-2011, 10:15 AM   #10
Brian Hyland
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Re: programming olympic lifts

OP, do you know the difference between Concentric and Eccentric loading??

Not trying to be a jerk, but they're simply the same load on the same muscle either while actively contracting (Concentric) or actively stretching/lengthening (Eccentric).

There's no real way that working one over the other would create an imbalance. The reason there's heavy eccentrics involved in a press or squat specifically is because there's a lowering phase before the pushing/working phase. The main reason that there's so much more concentric action in Olympic style lifting is because there's no lowering or lengthening phase typically. Once you get the 300 pounds above your head in any of the movements trying to lower it slowly would be unsafe, so most individuals will dump/drop the weight. This is why we use bumper plates, so you don't have to worry about doing an slow eccentric contraction with so much weight that it may hurt you.

Not saying you couldn't always lower the weight back to the floor, but it'd be a lot tougher on your body than lifting it in the first place would be, especially on the mid to lower back.
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