Robert Brown sent me the following email: “I do have a question regarding your thoughts on some on the Vertimax for training the female athletes ages 14 – 18 yrs old? Next, it appears most of your Olympic lifting is performed with dumbbells. Is there any particular reason for the method? Are you against Barbell exercises for those lifts?” I really try to stay away from evaluating products or equipment on the blog so I will keep my comments very general. The Vertimax is a good tool, but for the money, especially with that age of athlete there is so much more that needs to and must be done to improve jumping. In short look at the context of the people you are training, first teach them good jumping and landing mechanics. Then take them through a systematic plyometric progression when the emphasis is on quality and intensity, not volume. Then if you think you still need it then go to technology.
I am not against Olympic lifting with a bar, but my basic reason is quite simple in many situations I work there is not enough time to spend four to six weeks teaching technique with the bar. I must get them training. The dumbbell will accommodate to the person, the bar will not. I can achieve real good pulling technique within one or two sessions and then be on my way training and producing results. Once again context – if I were working with heavy throwers or American Football then in order to achieve sufficient overload relative to their mass I would use a bar. In other sports, especially sports like basketball where body proportions mitigate against using a bar I can achieve the desired results with dumbbells. You can go heavy with dumbbells! Also remember the purpose you are using Olympic Lifts is to develop explosive power. Olympic lifts with dumbbells, kettlebells and sandbags allow me to achieve maximum power production by releasing the implement.