Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Importance of Olympic Weightlifting for Athletes

There is now significant research that suggests that the Olympic weightlifting movements are second to none in the development of force production, power and explosiveness, the ability to safely and effectively absorb force or decelerate, and kinesthetic awareness.  All crucial components for potential athletic improvement and success.

I came across this article thanks to Sean Waxman.  It discusses the Clemson S&C program, which implements a Westside Barbell/conjugate/powerlifting method as it's foundation, and compares it to programs that use a Hatch System, which implements the Olympic weightlifting movements as it's foundation.  The author goes into great detail in providing examples of why a S&C program with the Olympic movements as it's foundation is far superior.  When compared to the "gold standard" of LSU and Alabama, conference rivalries and "over performing" teams (based on their poor talent pool) that implement the Olympic movements, Clemson was not as dynamic, slow and "under performing".  Arguably, this is because the team is training for slow strength, not explosive power in the weight room.

What was striking to me is that out of the last 10 BCS National Champions, 6 of them used the Hatch System.  These teams (USC, LSU, Alabama, Florida, Miami) all had common denominators on the field - DOMINATING offensive and defensive lines and linebacking corps.  Those positions all require power and explosiveness, and their ability to exert those traits at the point of attack was glaringly noticeable on the field.

Even though the Clemson article is primarily used to show the transferability for football, it can transfer to ALL sports.  The Hatch System isn't just a "football" program, it's a sports program because the system helps to develop overall athleticism that should translate into the field of play.  For example, the USC Men's Water Polo team has won 4 straight national championships and 6 in the last 10 years.  The program has always been a top contender, but the implementation of the Olympic lifts in their S&C program (circa 2006) has helped make them the most dominate program for the last decade.

Brian Urlacher Uses Olympic Movements in His Training

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