Olympic Lifts

There has been a lot of talk about power cleans and the proper technique for olympic lifts, but which are essential for sprinters. I’m doing power cleans and clean pulls. During competition I might switched to hang cleans. Are snatches something that should be incorporated? I have trained with an Olympian sprinter this past year and he does many Olympic lifts as a part of training. Overall, he isn’t very strong, by weightroom numbers, but his explosion and bounding abilities are unbelievable. Granted, the bounding is due to plyos, but what role do the lifts have in this explosion he has. He is built similar to Macro and has pr’s of 10.15 and 20.19 I believe at age 22!! Any thoughts?

it’s extremely difficult to say how much of his performance “is due to his lifting.” Track and Field performances aren’t that easy.

I’ll try to explain… training and training components often tend to help eliminate limiting factors, e.g., poor mobility, poor power, poor posture, patience, poor acceleration, etc. We do a lot of things because they help make sure that component being trained isn’t the factor limiting the athlete’s performance.

So it’s very likely that if you dropped the strength training completey (without adding something similar in its place) that the athletes performance would suffer (in the long term). But it’s hard to say.

I personally feel snatch is a btter movement (faster and i feel it hits more muscle groups than the clean) the only thing about snamtch is that sometimes it bothers my shoulder joints.

Do I need to upload photos from surgery post “snatching”. With the brother exercise such as cleans being so similar power wise why risk it? Sure weight lifting is an very safe sport but…

I agree with KT about some of the absolute things with strength…

Stay with the clean and lower end range for loading…

As I have made known I am a great fan of the hang snatch. It enables the lifter to develop reactive strength and RFD. Performing the same movement with the clean is less effective for a number of reasons related to the increased load:

  1. Performing the exercise with a dip carries a high risk of injury to the lumbar spine. Since the snatch grip is wider the bar generally lies across the ‘lap’ in the standing position. By drawing back the lats and slightly flexing the arms the bar can be held in this position during the dip. Since little flexion occurs at the knees the eccentric force is predominantly that induced by the athletes (upper) body weight.
  2. Grip & upper trap strength are limiting factors.
  3. Returning the weight to the starting position during continuous sets is stressful and hazardous.
  4. ROM is significantly smaller so athletes can ‘muscle’ the weight up.
  5. THe catch position is not ‘final’ or natural therefore it is difficult to apply maximum force to a submaximum load (the bar will hit you in the chin!).

All in all. Hang clean is not an exercise I would use for any athlete under 6.2".

Clemson: Come spend a week with me. You’ll see the light.:wink:

Looks like this guy, THE BEST IN THE WORLD, got hurt…all he does is lift!!!

Szymon Kolecki, the 19-year-old world junior champion from Poland, could have taken the lead by five pounds, but was forced to pass up an attempt at 507 pounds (230 kg) because of a shoulder injury. At that point, Kakiasvilis had two lifts left to overtake him…

Originally posted by David W
All in all. Hang clean is not an exercise I would use for any athlete under 6.2".

im over 6’2 how would the OL’s affect me and which ones would benefit more, i have about 4 solid months of Ol training under my belt as i did them during the track season. I will start them earlier next year because i felt i benefited from them.

Is height a real big factor when deciding exercises to do?


I’ve had athletes snatching for years with NO problems in their shoulders. If an athlete has had a knee problem, should he be automatically prohibited from squatting in the future, just because he has had a knee injury?

Same here pioneer…but what sports do you coach besides football and track? Let’s look at the entire population not just a small sample size. It’s like a car crash…

I’ve also coached soccer and basketball, though not very well. I have experience with a large portion of an athletic population at a high school, a few elementary age/middle school, and quite a few college athletes. Certainly each person’s experience is individual to that person but I have not personally seen any shoulder problems with snatching though the younger kids are performing mostly circuit type strength training and not touching weights until 6-7th grade at the earliest. With all of that said about snatching being a great power exercise and quite possibly having the greatest implications(along with jump squats, etc.) as a weight training exercise on power output, I still prefer straight arm pulls from mid-thigh and the floor since you can spend more time perfecting the extension velocity and magnitude and not the skill of the catch/rack. Three years ago our track team had 165 kids(of which about 40 had any business on the track) of a high school of then 1600 students-now less on the team and 1500 or so at the school though I certainly did not work with every single one of those kids in the weight room. I do work with kids from other sports and therefore I do have experience with a large athletic population as far as a high school goes.

As a performance coach and personal friend of many football players in the NFL…I am constantly looking at MRIs and scopes of players like the plague that have been doing the snatch for 12 years (2 hs, 4 college, and 6 pro) and now are breaking down from the movement. Factors:

(1) Not every coach works with their athlete for their entire career. What may look to you as healthy is like the scientist in Alien…a small sickness leads to a calm in the storm…say an incubation time…then the alien explodes out of their chest…While I use the olympic lifts, some athletes are seeing me from other programs that have retards for coaches.

(2) We all know that Marshal Faulk is the shiznit, but I think I can beat him one one one when we are in our middle 40’s. Wear and tear over time is huge but we don’t see it till after the long term studies are terminated.

(3) Many of us here are great coaches…that’s only like 5% of the population.

You could also look at their knees and come to the same conclusion regarding squats and knee wear/tear from MRI’s though we know that the squats are not the only thing that might be damaging the knee joint and causing a degeneration in the cartilage, etc(sprints, plyometrics, abrupt starting and stopping, change of direction, direct hits on the joint itself, etc.) Same with the snatch, very few people that snatch can count that one exercise as the only overhead movement they do so who is to say that is was the snatch that caused the problem. Much of the damage might be from direct impact in hitting, blocking, landing awkardly on the shoulder. Someone who is a 12 year veteran of the NFL is going to experience, more than likely, joint problems anyway and with players doing so many exercises(benches, inclines, military, behind neck presses, jerks, push presses, isolation shoulder work, etc.) that involve the shoulder including the playing of the game(and various football drills within the practice session) itself it is very difficult to determine which caused the damage. Probably a combination of all of the work and hits they took on the shoulder. There are too many variables to determine conclusively that one particular exercise caused a lifetime of wear and tear. I am positive that I am not a great coach but I am also positive that I am trying to be one.

If you look at the postitoin of an overhead movement (not bench presses or similar movements) you will see a clear pattern of wear. Every injury has “finger prints” that you can pick up and see. Sure it is hard to single out an injury from sports, but when you move the humerus in a vertical position the glenoid space/position is very different then Benching or pressing movements out. As for other foolish shoulder movements like jerks and behind the neck shoulder presses those are guilty as well. Just because other felons use guns…you can’t say that the snatch is scott free! You are right that perhaps the combination of football drills, tackles, and general contact could be a the real problem…but just because others speed doesn’t mean we should go 75 miles per hour on a 65 mile per hour zone. Remember I do olympic lifts…I am not a hit guy…but who here can videotape their worst athlete in the clean or snatch and post it here with the big dogs like David W, Coolcolj, and Mr. T (Chris T)? I can…just with the squat and deadlift.

I know of many more athletes who bench/incline and do not include snatches in their program who have shoulder problems than those who perform all three(and more) exercises in their program. To be fair there are a lot more people, in terms of sheer numbers, who fall into the first group. Not a lot of people, outside of the athletic population, will ever snatch. I know we are just talking opinions here but I will take it a step further and say that I have had at least three kids who had not previously snatched and came in with shoulder problems clear up their shoulder problems with the snatching(and overhead squats, too). I think that those exercises(not just the snatch) and a decent inclusion of these into a program helped to improve their dynamic flexibility and actually lent stability to their shoulder joints. In those cases the inclusion of those exercises actually helped their shoulders. All exercises probably cause some excess wear and tear(particularly isolation exercises since the brunt of the load is on one primary joint). I know of people who have done behind the neck presses for years with no problems-others have had problems. The same could be said for all exercises. The only exercise that I personally find to be a problem, besides the kids all wanting to waste time with curls, etc. is a leg extension-hurts my knees in the execution.

Originally posted by Clemson
but who here can videotape their worst athlete in the clean or snatch and post it here with the big dogs like David W, Coolcolj, and Mr. T (Chris T)? I can…just with the squat and deadlift.

worst form I’ve seen period!



Great video Coolcolj…remember that anyone that has their athletes do any kind of lifts should feel that a video camera to the world is on them.


how about a posting of someone with excellent form.

I think it is important that track coaches(or any sport coach for that matter) who use strength training in their programs realize that coaching does not end when coach and athlete(s) leave the track. Coaching should continue throughout training-especially something that could be as potentially dangerous(even life threatening) as strength training. I’ve seen coaches enter the weightroom with athletes, grab a seat and begin to read or something else where there is a total loss of focus on what the athlete is doing and more importantly how they are doing it. Amazing to me that, for example, a chemistry teacher must know many safety precautions in order to prevent the school and everyone in it from being blown to hell but anybody can somehow be qualified to be a weight training instructor without going through some sort of certification process. Maybe that is not the case everywhere but I sure see it pretty often.

read the “Snatched Away” article on Regeneration Lab, lots of great info that runs hand in hand with this thread & the other thread “are cleans the exercise to do.”