What is the BEST way to make an athlete bigger, stronger and faster? Is it Olympic lifting or is powerlifting and squats and deadlifts? Let’s look at the argument from a different perspective, shall we?
You’re in a gym and a 17 year old kid walks in and he wants to get better at his sport.
You’re in a gym and a 20 year old college athlete walk in and he wants to have a great junior year to increase his chances of getting drafted and going pro.
You’re in a gym and a 30 year old dedicated, hardcore weekend warrior wants to stay injury free.
Olympic Lifts Vs Squats and Olympic Lifting vs Powerlifting
Each scenario one by one, cool?
The 17 year old kid.
How long has he been training? How tall is he? How many days per week am I training him?
More then likely that kid won’t go near any of the olympic lifts. Does that mean that they don’t have merit? Certainly not. This kid just needs to get stronger in general.
Will he get a ton of benefit from learning how to hang clean? Yes he will but it’ll take me multiple sessions to teach it and his father wants to see results right not. Never ignore the parents who are paying the bills. They want instant gratification more then the kid.
Instead I’m going to have him split squat and work on stablizing under a load with dumbbells and kettle bells before he goes near a traditional olympic back squat. This 17 year old also more then likely won’t go near a deadlift. Again, not that it’s bad for him but it’ll take too long to teach him until he achieves a certain level of neuromuscular control.
The 20 year old potential pro
How long has he been training? How tall is he? How many days per week am I training him? What type of strength and conditioning program does his school follow?
Olympic lifts vs Powerlifting:The SC coach attacks
Big university strength and conditioning coaches are usually very protective of their athletes. I understand their frustration. They work long hours with numerous athletes per day for a small pay then watch how their guys train with someone privately all summer who gets paid more.
The S&C coach matters. Especially since he’ll either test the athlete on their Olympic lifting proficency or their powerlifting squat and deadliest numbers.
You’ll be able to train a college athlete for three to four months. Is it worth it to completely change their technique? No, all you want to do is prevent them from getting hurt should their form be terrible. Your role here is to get them stronger in everything that their S&C coach doesn’t do.
The 30 year old
You know where I’m going with this. With the exception of deadlifts they won’t go near any of the olympic lifts or back squats. The risk:benefit ratio just isn’t there and they’ll get great benefits by performing single leg split squats explosively.
Olympic Lifts Vs Powerlifting:Closing the lid
I didn’t reference any studies. I’m sorry for that. I didn’t reference them on purpose. You can debate what the literature says and you can show you bias toward either end and I’m sure you can back it up with some pretty good evidence but the real truth for any trainer or responsible individual is to assess the risk:benefit ratio of the movement and the need. So you’re on a trainer. Ok, ask yourself this.
What can I do right now to improve my performance? Do you have a good traps of Olympic lifting and just need a few tweaks? Ok, the Olympic lifts are for you. Are you already squatting and deadliest? Then continue and figure out why you’re not progressing there.
Tags: Benefit From, Coach, College Athlete, Conditioning Program, Deadlift, Different Perspective, Dumbbells, Frustration, Instant Gratification, Kettle Bells, Neuromuscular Control, Olympic Lifting, Olympic Lifts, olympic lifts vs power lifting, Olympic Lifts Vs Squats and Olympic Lifting Vs Powerlifting, Parents, Powerlifting, Sessions, Squats, Strength And Conditioning, Weekend Warrior