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Old 05-24-2009, 07:22 PM   #1
Colin Francis
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the comparative merits of olympic and power lifting

hey everybody. as crossfit uses both powerlifts and oly lifts, I thought that this would be the ideal group to compare the two sports. Myself, I prefer oly lifting (so my bias is understood), but I also really enjoy the powerlifts.

Which sport is ultimately superior as a strength sport? PL uses bigger weights by specifically selecting movements that engage large muscel groups. However, there is an argument to be made that OL uses a fuller range of motion (deeper squat, greater shoulder ROM), and are no squat suits/bench shirts in OL. An argument could also be made that bench pressing isn't as functional as the jerk.

Which lifts tend to apply better to other sports? they both involve strong hip extension and arm extension.

and why is oly lifting dying in the USA? any insights?
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Old 05-24-2009, 07:30 PM   #2
Eric Egan
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Re: the comparative merits of olympic and power lifting

i think they both are good for sports,but if you were only going to pick one it should be Olympic weightlifting seance i cant think of any sports that require you to move slowly
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Old 05-24-2009, 07:40 PM   #3
Oliver Gould
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Re: the comparative merits of olympic and power lifting

There is no answer to your question, it's like comparing basketball to football, they are both hard in different ways. An Oly lifter can't do what a powerlifter can do, and a powerlifter can't do what an Oly lifter can do. If you're looking for "who's stronger," the powerlifter is "stronger" (in terms of the dynamax definition of "strength").
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Old 05-24-2009, 07:56 PM   #4
Colin Francis
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Re: the comparative merits of olympic and power lifting

the "inspiration" behind this post was a debate of sorts on a PL site, in which many dismissed oly lifting as a "form sport". In comparing powerlifters and oly lifters Louie Simmons wrote "powerlifters not only look strong, they are strong" (not an exact quote). On the other hand, oly coaches I know sneer at the "partial squats" and "non-functional" bench pressing of PL. there seems to be a great deal of misunderstanding on both sides, but not much intelligent conversation
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Old 05-24-2009, 09:15 PM   #5
Joseph Abraham
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Re: the comparative merits of olympic and power lifting

Me personally I'm more for olympic lifting because they do squats, deadlifts to train anyways. To be able to snatch or clean a weight you have to be able to lift it off the ground and squat with it too.

Olympic lifting is dying probably because the really good olympic lifters in the US are in the NFL, or using OL to train for another sport but not for the sake of the sport itself. American is too saturated with spectator sports anyways so I don't see Olympic lifting or even crossfit becoming widely accepted spectator sports.

With crossfit growing in popularity we could see olympic lifting become more mainstream. Elite athletes have been using them for the longest time anyways.
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Old 05-24-2009, 09:50 PM   #6
Júlíus Magnússon
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Re: the comparative merits of olympic and power lifting

Which do you want to be?

a) Really, REALLY strong, but slow and inflexible.

b) Really strong, fast and flexible.


I think the popularity of power lifting over Olympic weightlifting is in large part due to the simplicity of the movements. Anyone can learn how to squat, bench press and deadlift with decent form in a few weeks. But learning the snatch and clean and jerk takes much way more effort over a much longer time.
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Old 05-24-2009, 10:46 PM   #7
Matt Rexin
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Re: the comparative merits of olympic and power lifting

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Originally Posted by Júlíus Magnússon View Post
Which do you want to be?

a) Really, REALLY strong, but slow and inflexible.

b) Really strong, fast and flexible.


I think the popularity of power lifting over Olympic weightlifting is in large part due to the simplicity of the movements. Anyone can learn how to squat, bench press and deadlift with decent form in a few weeks. But learning the snatch and clean and jerk takes much way more effort over a much longer time.

Not all powerlifters are slow, bulky guys. Look at some of the world's strongest men, like Mariusz Pudzianowski( had to google that to spell it right) and Magnus Ver Magnusson. They might not be breaking any speed records but they can move pretty fast.

The argument can be made that strongmen and powerlifters are different breeds of lifters, which is true, but both are incredibly strong people and to stereotype powerlifters as slow is simply not true.
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Old 05-25-2009, 03:53 AM   #8
Shane Skowron
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Re: the comparative merits of olympic and power lifting

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Originally Posted by Matt Rexin View Post
Not all powerlifters are slow, bulky guys. Look at some of the world's strongest men, like Mariusz Pudzianowski( had to google that to spell it right) and Magnus Ver Magnusson. They might not be breaking any speed records but they can move pretty fast.
Fast compared to whom?
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Old 05-25-2009, 06:01 AM   #9
Ryan Whitley
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Re: the comparative merits of olympic and power lifting

I think it's a little bit like comparing apples and oranges...but here we go:

Olympic Lifts: Obvious the king of producing power. The only disadvantage is that they are very "skill" heavy (i.e. your ability to complete a lift is going to be affected more by your technique than your actual strength and power). They also are movements that are mostly "pulls," which isn't bad. They just won't develop your pressing strength like powerlifting.

Powerlifting: Makes you strong, but possibly slow (depending on how you use the lifts). They are good for at home beginners because they require technique that can be attained through self coaching. For that reason I think that people new to the iron game should start with powerlifting and develop perfect form on the big three (four if you count shoulder press) before focusing on olympic lifts.

I don't aspire to be an olympic weightlifter, but I still do the power clean and power snatch regularly. And I'm sure that if you are a oly lifter you should still do deadlifts and squats. I guess what I'm saying is that you should pick lifts based on your goals and not on whether they are oly or powerlifting.
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Old 05-25-2009, 07:35 AM   #10
Stu Christensen
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Re: the comparative merits of olympic and power lifting

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Originally Posted by Shane Skowron View Post
Fast compared to whom?
If you know anything about the top strongmen in the world, they'd be fast compared to anyone you could put them up against, keeping in mind the amount of weight they move and what their goals are for athleticism.
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