Myth Busted


Olympic weightlifting is a sport, but it’s not a sport like basketball, in which you can get away with learning and practicing the parts you enjoy without incurring any risks to your health. It’s more akin to skiing, in which you have to learn the entire sport before you can develop basic competence and enjoy some of the benefits. That requires some serious time and effort.But what are the benefits to the Olympic lifts? Certainly, they help you develop good rhythm and timing, and teach you to transfer energy from the ground through your entire body. And of course they help you build power.Unfortunately, the power you build is specific to the movements you perform. Just because you’re powerful with a hang clean doesn’t mean you’ll be powerful punching somebody, or throwing a football, or sprinting downfield.All those movements – along with just about everything else in sports – involves some sort of rotation. And there’s absolutely no rotary component to the Olympic lifts.I prefer to do heavy and light medicine-ball work, including slams, scoops, and throws. You’re generating power with no real learning curve. You just pick up a ball and go. Another problem is that very few gyms are set up for Olympic exercises, which by necessity are single-rep movements with no negative component. An Olympic lifter sets up, lifts the bar, catches it, holds it, and then tosses it back down on the platform. Then he settles the bar, sets up for another rep, and does it all over again. But most guys train in regular gyms, where there are no platforms and you’ll rarely find rubber weights. Dropping weights on the floor is against the rules, and dropping a bar down from overhead would get you kicked out. So you’re stuck doing multiple reps, with at most a tap on the floor in between.Think about how much work it takes, and how many additional muscles have to be activated, to put that weight down gently. Gravity adds a lot of force to the eccentric phase. You end up putting repetitive stress on your shoulders, elbows, and wrists, but with no real payoff in motor-unit recruitment. All pain, no gain. So, in my view, if you aren’t an Olympic weightlifter who trains in a facility set up for Olympic weightlifting, you have no business doing Olympic lifts.– Nick Tumminello

The above statements are great on paper but Nick needs to address the reality of specific actions and transfer. Nick Tumminello seems more like the The Drinker as his the Kool-Aid he is sharing seems to be laced with poor thinking. Attacking bilateral lifts because of no rotational component? Show me his bilateral squats and deadlifts with rotation Nick. Isn’t he the guy that stated Scorpions are evil yet he is complaining rotation while lifting barbells? What about rotational single leg exercises for strength and power Nick? No wonder we have professional athletes doing circus stunts on balls. Nick demands eccentric action because an Olympic lifter sets up the bar, catches it, holds it, then drops it. To Nick olympic lifters don’t absorb the weights at all. Strangely a few sentences later he outlines how to tap on the floor with gravity enhanced eccentrics with the lifts but argues that it is bad on the body. Insanity. Regular gyms are for regular guys that Nick works with and I find it strange that he is suggesting medicine ball slams and tosses to the readers when they are likely not to be able to do that inside if they can’t do olympic lifts at the gyn. Perhaps he could share the research or even theoretical differences of heavy and light medicine balls on the neuromuscular system on max power that he is developing. Punching? Any power that is general coming from the legs can help someone punch, how much is not researched but why lift weights for MMA or other combat sports?

This is a classic case of a guy that can’t create a program that involves development without isolating learning. If he his doing medicine ball throws with his clients then he is preparing indirectly to olympic lift by learning to accelerate an implement vertically. Front squats done well with a clean grip he is developing the lifts with catching and absorbing. Rocket jumps started statically and landing further than hip with apart you are preparing to do olympic lifts. Developing an athlete indirectly properly will prepare athletes to olympic lift if they can do so safely. Like the Karate Kid, it’s amazing what can be learned indirectly with a base of skill sets. Notice Nick never shares how after years and years of coaching and developing those that can clean 1.4 times their bodyweight he decided to just not include them. I would rather listen to Boo who believes they act as a coordination developer and a harmonizing agent, making gains in other areas more functional to performance instead of logic that sounds like an excuse for not being able to teach them.
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Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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