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Old 02-23-2014, 11:15 PM   #1
Alex Chaney
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The Importance of Strength in Olympic Weightlifting and Other Power Output Activities

I feel in the US, we have a tendency to overlook strength and get caught up with the speed and technique aspect of olympic lifting too early. Of course technique is everything in whatever you do however strength in my opinion especially for olympic lifting is just as important (truth is IF YOUR STRONG, YOU CAN BE WRONG). If we focused on strength more, we would be doing much better at the olympics. The article that sparked the motivation for me to write this was this: http://www.allthingsgym.com/larrys-c...n-jerks-pulls/ (wfs). Chinese Olympic Weightlifting Coach Fang states "BEGINNERS MUST FOCUS ON ABSOLUTE STRENGTH FOR MANY YEARS". For a sport of speed strength and technical precision like olympic weightlifting, absolute strength must be damn important for an awarded oly coach to say it. Look at lifters like Klokov who can high bar squat over 700 pounds or Lü Xiaojun who squats in the mid 600s+. Even Crossfit Games champion Rich Froning spends 8 months out of the year predominantly focusing on getting his squat, press and deadlift numbers up. Have you noticed the majority of successful strongmen who compete in events that require a huge power output are/were powerlifters who compete in the slow lifts.

In other words if your a novice/beginner (including myself here), you shouldn't worry about your snatch, clean and jerk until your squatting at least 400 pounds.

"Who can clean more, someone with a 200lb deadlift or someone with a 500lb deadlift." - Rip

Last edited by Alex Chaney : 02-23-2014 at 11:44 PM.
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Old 02-23-2014, 11:31 PM   #2
Russell Greene
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Re: The Importance of Strength in Olympic Weightlifting and Other Power Output Activi

What evidence do you have that Rich trains that way? All evidence I've seen points to the contrary.

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Originally Posted by Alex Chaney View Post
I feel in the US, we have a tendency to overlook strength and get caught up with the speed and technique aspect of olympic lifting too early. Of course technique is everything in whatever you do however strength in my opinion especially for olympic lifting is just as important (truth is IF YOUR STRONG, YOU CAN BE WRONG). If we focused on strength more, we would be doing much better at the olympics. The article that sparked the motivation for me to write this was this: http://www.allthingsgym.com/larrys-c...n-jerks-pulls/ (wfs). Chinese Olympic Weightlifting Coach Fang states "BEGINNERS MUST FOCUS ON ABSOLUTE STRENGTH FOR MANY YEARS". For a sport of speed strength and technical precision like olympic weightlifting, absolute strength must be damn important for an awarded oly coach to say it. Look at lifters like Klokov who can high bar squat over 700 pounds or Lü Xiaojun who squats in the mid 600s+. Even Crossfit Games champion Rich Froning spends 8 months out of the year solely focusing on getting his squat, press and deadlift numbers up. Have you noticed the majority of successful strongmen who compete in events that require a huge power output are/were powerlifters who compete in the slow lifts.

In other words if your a novice/beginner (including myself here), you shouldn't worry about your snatch, clean and jerk until your squatting at least 400 pounds.

"Who can clean more, someone with a 200lb deadlift or someone with a 500lb deadlift." - Rip
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Old 02-23-2014, 11:37 PM   #3
Will Hurst
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Re: The Importance of Strength in Olympic Weightlifting and Other Power Output Activi

I can agree with this to some degree. O-lifts have become my focus and consume a good deal of my training over the last year. I've been on a PR train as the improvement in tech and increased volume is starting to come together. I'm starting to move some weight but have recently hit a wall on CnJ as I am cleaning what is also my 1RM front squat. Now I'm back to a squat cycle to try to negate that problem because I can pull, catch, and possibly jerk 110-115% of my max CnJ but I keep missing because I cant get out of the hole after the catch. Had I spent more time on absolute strength before committing to O-lifts I wouldn't have this problem.
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Old 02-23-2014, 11:56 PM   #4
Alex Chaney
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Re: The Importance of Strength in Olympic Weightlifting and Other Power Output Activi

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What evidence do you have that Rich trains that way? All evidence I've seen points to the contrary.
Does it? There are plenty of interviews stating what I've said. The truth is metcons heavy or not is not enough for one to gain the most strength possible since the limiting factor will always be conditioning. Froning does definitely do metcons however that does not negate the fact that he performs the slow lifts for strength as well. The bottom line is whatever strength sport (yes, crossfit is a strength sport) you do, absolute strength and technique come first. Also remember strength training is a long term adaption unlike conditioning work so it only makes sense why Froning does what he does since he won't have to start tapering off his strength work to make room for extra conditioning until the open.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:00 AM   #5
Jeff Enge
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Re: The Importance of Strength in Olympic Weightlifting and Other Power Output Activi

I agree with your premise, not with your conclusion.

Yes, absolute strength is very important and should be worked on. Which is why most weightlifting programs have a very healthy dose of squatting, pressing, pulling, etc.

No, you do not need a 400# squat before you should focus on Olympic lifting. I think the prerequisite is that you can hit the positions (correct pulling position, overhead support, front rack, rock bottom front and overhead squat) without issues.

Heck, if it was recommended to squat 400# before you work on Sn and C&J then I'd be screwed - I only have a 150kg squat with a 107/120kg total. Not really impressive but I get by with working on those while also getting stronger.

And, Russ, you're missing the point of the discussion if the thing you choose to discuss in this thread is how Froning trains.
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:23 AM   #6
Matt Thomas
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Re: The Importance of Strength in Olympic Weightlifting and Other Power Output Activi

I think the pursuit of strength as a base is a great idea for sure. But you'd be missing out on years of technical practice if you just worked on strength to the exclusion of the snatch and C&J.

Notice the Chinese coach said they "focus" on building strength. You can have something be the focus of your training and still have many other aspects of training present. Guaranteed the chinese lifters are still practicing positions and working technique in the lifts while focusing on building strength.

And I'll also have to refer back to something Greg Everett mentioned, but what evidence do you have that American weightlifters are not trying to get strong? I've watched videos of the training of various camps. The squat heavy, do heavy pulls and complexes like the rest of the world does. I think I heard the OTC Coach is an eastern european coach so we don't have an "American" programming problem here.

I agree with you. Strength is important. But there are alot of other reasons we don't do well at weightlifting.
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:52 AM   #7
Alex Chaney
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Re: The Importance of Strength in Olympic Weightlifting and Other Power Output Activi

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Originally Posted by Matt Thomas View Post
I think the pursuit of strength as a base is a great idea for sure. But you'd be missing out on years of technical practice if you just worked on strength to the exclusion of the snatch and C&J.

Notice the Chinese coach said they "focus" on building strength. You can have something be the focus of your training and still have many other aspects of training present. Guaranteed the chinese lifters are still practicing positions and working technique in the lifts while focusing on building strength.

And I'll also have to refer back to something Greg Everett mentioned, but what evidence do you have that American weightlifters are not trying to get strong? I've watched videos of the training of various camps. The squat heavy, do heavy pulls and complexes like the rest of the world does. I think I heard the OTC Coach is an eastern european coach so we don't have an "American" programming problem here.

I agree with you. Strength is important. But there are alot of other reasons we don't do well at weightlifting.
Notice I did say strength is just as important as technique. So obviously they would be practicing their lifts however it would take a back seat till their leg and back strength go up
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:56 AM   #8
Alex Chaney
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Re: The Importance of Strength in Olympic Weightlifting and Other Power Output Activi

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Originally Posted by Jeff Enge View Post
I agree with your premise, not with your conclusion.

Yes, absolute strength is very important and should be worked on. Which is why most weightlifting programs have a very healthy dose of squatting, pressing, pulling, etc.

No, you do not need a 400# squat before you should focus on Olympic lifting. I think the prerequisite is that you can hit the positions (correct pulling position, overhead support, front rack, rock bottom front and overhead squat) without issues.

Heck, if it was recommended to squat 400# before you work on Sn and C&J then I'd be screwed - I only have a 150kg squat with a 107/120kg total. Not really impressive but I get by with working on those while also getting stronger.

And, Russ, you're missing the point of the discussion if the thing you choose to discuss in this thread is how Froning trains.
If you had a 400lb squat, you'd become a better olympic lifter. If your squat number increased in general, you'd become a better olympic lifter. How do you think the top olympic lifters can squat 600 or 700 pounds, they practice it a lot. This article isn't meant to bash the olympic lifts but just point out the importance of building up your absolute strength before you start worrying about your power output.
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:00 AM   #9
Jeff Enge
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Re: The Importance of Strength in Olympic Weightlifting and Other Power Output Activi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Chaney View Post
If you had a 400lb squat, you'd become a better olympic lifter. If your squat number increased in general, you'd become a better olympic lifter. How do you think the top olympic lifters can squat 600 or 700 pounds, they practice it a lot. This article isn't meant to bash the olympic lifts but just point out the importance of building up your absolute strength before you start worrying about your power output.
I'm not debating that you can theoretically lift more if you are stronger.

However, if I waited the year + it will probably take me to get a 400# squat, plus the almost two years since I have learned the lifts, that would put me three years behind in terms of learning the technique.

It's not an either/or thing. You can get strong and learn correct technique concurrently with no problem whatsoever.
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:03 AM   #10
Alex Chaney
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Re: The Importance of Strength in Olympic Weightlifting and Other Power Output Activi

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Originally Posted by Jeff Enge View Post
I'm not debating that you can theoretically lift more if you are stronger.

However, if I waited the year + it will probably take me to get a 400# squat, plus the almost two years since I have learned the lifts, that would put me three years behind in terms of learning the technique.

It's not an either/or thing. You can get strong and learn correct technique concurrently with no problem whatsoever.
I understand where your coming from, it seems that most people who don't have the experience get into the olympic lifts and then abandon the slow lifts finding themselves stalling on the snatch and c&j.
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