Sunday, August 06, 2006

A Sunday Afternoon Citation: Cease & Desist!

I just spent several hours doing some analyses of top female weightlifters from the US. Decided to take a break and found some cool videos on YouTube of elite international weightlifters--along with some other stuff that is funny and stuff that is not so funny.

The following link will take you to a clip that supposedly shows female athletes demonstrating power cleans. Let me just say that this is NOT how a power clean is supposed to be performed. These movements are complete bastardizations of power cleans. And any educated weightlifting coach would agree with me. If you teach athletes or perform power cleans like this yourself, you are not doing the exercise correctly. However, this video is an example of what a good tool becomes in the hands of a coach who truly does not understand the biomechanics of the movements he/she teaches.

The two sequence photos above show good power clean mechanics from the floor.

Let me use this analogy: If someone told you pole vaulting would help your soccer athletes learn to be more powerful, would you run out, buy a pole and find a pit and then say "Just run down the runway, plant the pole in the little thingy and fling yourself over the bar in a manner that looks really cool--and maybe stomp your feet too so it sounds powerful"??

Polevaulting is an extremely technical sport. Weightlifting is an extremely technical sport. Fitness gurus and strength coaches must learn to respect the sport of weightlifting. Just because I can run 100 meters without falling over does not mean I actually KNOW HOW TO RUN! Flinging a lightweight bar from your knees to your shoulders with all sorts of funky countermovements IS NOT DOING A POWER CLEAN! It is not teaching athletes to produce power from their lower extremities through triple extension.

Please, please consult a weightlifting coach if you ever want to use these exercises with your athletes. If you don't want to take the time to truly understand the sport, then don't waste your athletes' time by doing bastardizations of beautifully complex, technical athletic movements from another sport. You are doing an incredible disservice to your athlete and disrespecting the sport of weightlifting.

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