Knowing where you are going as a coach is essential, but you also have to know how you are going to get there. For example NFL players need to be explosive and need to train explosivity. But how should they do that? Olympic lifting? Jumping? Medicine ball work? Something else? Each method has its benefit, but they all come with costs too and as a coach you have to search for the ways to get the most benefit for the lowest price. And on this week’s episode we start by taking a look at this analysis with Arizona Cardinals strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris. Read more
In the athlete development process Olympic style weight training has occupied a large role. This has both good and bad implications. Olympic style weight lifting is a training method that is excellent for developing power. Competitive Olympic lifting consists of two movements, the clean and jerk and the snatch. The derivatives of those movements are what make up the majority of the training exercises. There is no question of the inherent value of these exercises as a tool to raise explosive power, but the method must be kept in context and reconciled with the overall goal of the strength-training program. Read more
Over the last two weeks I’ve compiled a lot of great information on Olympic weightlifting for throwers. Weightlifting coaches provided their feedback on variations of the lifts for throwers and lifting technique. Elite throwing coaches Dan Lange and Don Babbitt discussed how they implement Olympic lifting in their programs. And I reviewed Greg Everett’s book Olympic Weightlifting for Sports, which provides great teaching progressions for each lift. But in all the great advice each coach gave, one thing was barely mentioned: speed.
I was reminded of this while reading through the final draft of Anatoliy Bondarchuk’s new book Olympian Manual for Strength & Size (available for pre-order here). The book will be published by Ultimate Athlete Concepts in the next few weeks, and unlike my book they are good about meeting deadlines. Jake Jensen has been working diligently on the translation and in my opinion it is the best translated book by Bondarchuk so far and covers a diverse range of topics that he has never written about in English before. I’ve also helped edit the work, which helped me make sure it addresses some of the shortcomings in prior translations.
The coaching roundtable on Olympic weightlifting started last week off by discussing lifting variations and lifting technique with some top Olympic lifting coaches. For this final part I thought it would be best to hear from throwing coaches and see how they actually implement Olympic lifting in their training plans. I was able to talk to two of the top coaches in America, Don Babbitt and Dan Lange, to get their input on the topic.
Don Babbitt has been the throws coach at the University of Georgia for eighteen years in which his athletes captured 12 NCAA titles, and 68 All-American honors. Chris Hill (javelin) and Jenny Dahlgren (hammer) also set NCAA records under his guidance. In addition, he has worked with athletes like Olympic champion Adam Nelson (shot put), Reese Hoffa (shot put), Breaux Greer (javelin), Jason Tunks (discus), Brad Snyder (shot put), Andras Haklits (hammer) and many other international champions.
Dan Lange has the honor of being the only living American to have coached an Olympic hammer throw champion. In 24 years as throws coach for the University of Southern California, Lange’s athletes have won 8 NCAA championships and 58 All-American honors. His most successful athletes have been Balazs Kiss, 1996 Olympic champion and NCAA record holder, and Adam Setliff, who he worked with post-collegiatelly as he qualified for two Olympic finals in the discus. Lange also worked with Kevin McMahon for a season.
Before the Olympic weightlifting coaching roundtable finished up with the thoughts of some throwing coaches, I thought I would share my thoughts on a recent book on Olypmic weightlifting as it relates to the training for other sports.
Coach Greg Everett participated in both part 1 and part 2 of the coaching roundtable, providing input from the perspective of a weightlifting coach. Everett runs the Catalyst Athletics club and is also a prolific writer. He prodcues the Performance Menu online journal, hosts a number of quality blogs on his website, and has written two books. His most recent book, Olympic Weightlifting for Sports, is written for non-Weightlifters and seemed to fit in well with the theme of the last week on HMMR Media.
Olympic weightlifting is an essential part of training for all throwing events. But as with any component of training, getting the most out of it requires knowing how to implement it properly in training. This week we have put together a coaching roundtable on Olympic weightlifting. In Part 1 we heard from weightlifting coaches Greg Everett, Matt Foreman, and Wil Fleming about what variations of the Olympic lifts are best for throwers. In part 2, the three coaches provide their input on weightlifting technique. The series will conclude later this week with some thoughts from throws coaches about how them implement Olympic weightlifting in training.
After actually throwing, most coaches regard Olympic weightlifting as the most important training exercises for throwers. The clean, jerk, and snatch provide a great method for developing explosive strength that can often transfer into better throwing results. With many variations of the lifts, there are many exercises to choose from ways to implement them into training.
Over the next week we will ask many top coaches about the use of Olympic weightlifting for throwers. In the first two parts we will ask for the input from weightlifting coaches on technique, variations of the lifts, and other comments. Then in the final part we will also ask a few top throws coaches about how they implement Olympic weightlifting into training.
The Lifting Coaches
Greg Everett is the owner of Catalyst Athletics, head coach of the national-medalist Catalyst Athletics weightlifting team, publisher of The Performance Menu, author of the books Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches and Olympic Weightlifting for Sports, and director/writer/producer/editor/everything of the documentary American Weightlifting. I subscribe to the Performance Menu and can highly recommend both that and the Catalyst Athletics blogs as great resources for Olympic weightlifting.
Matt Foreman is the football and throws coach at Mountain View High School in Phoenix. A competitive weightlifter for twenty years, Foreman is a four-time National Championship bronze medalist, two-time American Open silver medalist, three-time American Open bronze medalist, two-time National Collegiate Champion, 2004 US Olympic Trials competitor, 2000 World University Championship Team USA competitor, and Arizona and Washington state record-holder. He currently writes regularly for The Performance Menu and the Catalyst Athletics webpage. I read and highly recommended his book Bones of Iron two years ago.
Wil Fleming is the co-owner of Force Fitness and Performance and Athletic Revolution Bloomington, in Bloomington, Indiana. He recently released the DVD Complete Olympic Lifting. Prior to working as a coach Wil was an all-American hammer thrower, school record holder, and Olympic Trials participant at Indiana University as a hammer thrower. As a junior athlete, he was an Olympic weightlifting resident athlete at the Olympic Training Center after winning a junior national championship. He also blogs about weightlifting at WilFleming.com.
When I discussed how transfer of training and the reverse transfer of training might make us reconsider he use of high intensity lifting, I presented my point as a simple cost benefit analysis that tends to lean in one direction. I am not one for bold statements since I am generally a non-confrontational person.
Bondarchuk, on the other hand, simply tells it like he sees it. On this point he has a clear opinion and at 73 years old he isn’t slowing down either. He just published the third volume of his periodization series (a review will be online this month) and is finishing up a book on strength. He will also speak at the Central Virginia Sports Performance Seminar in April. As he gets older he prefers spending time with his family over traveling for seminars, so if you have the chance is recommend attending this rare opportunity to hear him in person.
But back to the topic of high intensity lifting. To help promote the event, organizer Jason Demayo did a short interview with him to talk about the scope of his book and related topics. When asked what he thinks is the biggest mistake made by strength and conditioning coaches he did not pull any punches on this controversial topic:
I have a soft spot in my heart for the sport of weightlifting. Hammer throwers and weight lifters have a lot in common. We both pursue a sport where fame and money are out of reach for even the best athletes. We pursue a sport where if things go wrong the only person to blame is yourself. We pursue a sport where technical precision must be combined with maximal power. I could envision myself taking up the sport once I finish hammer throwing. I don’t have the engine to be successful in it, but I have the heart to fall in love with it.
The world of weightlifting also often overlaps with the world of throwing. One of the best books I read last year was Bones of Iron by Matt Foreman. Foreman trained in his prime under John Thrush of Calpian Weightlifting, a coach I had the chance to work with a few times in high school. Now Foreman is a successful throwing and lifting coach and writes for Catalyst Athletics. Catalyst Athletics is one of the top lifting teams in the nation. Their connection to throwing is that their top super heavyweight lifters are both former hammer throwers: Brian Wilhelm threw at USC and Tamara Solari at Nebraska. I could play the name game all day, but the reason for this post is that Catalyst is also about to release the documentary film American Weightlifting which I had the opportunity to preview last week. Read more
In 1973-74 while attending graduate school at Stanford University I also had the opportunity to coach the jumpers and decathletes. This gave the opportunity to apply what I had learned with more mature male athletes. It was also the opportunity to work with Payton Jordan, the track coach at Stanford who was a pioneer in weight training. He had worked with a man named John Jesse who authored many books on strength training for sport. Jesse was way ahead of his time in the application of strength training to prevention and rehabilitation of injuries. Doctor Wesley Ruff, my adviser, encouraged me to do research in the area of strength and power training, which I found very helpful. This helped me to better understand the scientific reasons for the things that I was observing as a coach and experiencing as an athlete. Read more