As it would be observed, the purpose of a power program and a functional strength is to establish a strong foundation which optimizes the improvements of speed and acceleration, thus helping practitioners develop the desired tissue and force capacity for the sport.
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In order to successfully accomplish this objective, the condition and strength coach would need various tools in their toolbox, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Both the Olympic-style lifts and power-lifting lifts techniques are encompassed in sport-specific training, especially in helping trainers to improve their speed and also to develop the desired tissue capacity for the sport.
This essay contrasts and compares the pros and cons of power-lifting lifts and Olympic-style lifts in relevant to the way the two apply in the development of speed and acceleration of athletes.
The Olympic-style lifts have been a major event in the Olympics, since the inception of the sports in 1896. This style has over the time evolved to become the most practiced strength and acceleration sport in the world (Fry and Schilling, 2003).
The style mainly consists of two types of lifts; the two hand Clean and Jerk and the 2-hand Snatch. The Clean and Jerk is usually performed by lifting up the barbell from the ground in two phases. The first phase ends in the shoulders, right from the floor and it’s known as the Clean.
The second stage is carried overhead from the shoulders in a lunge or split position, and its known as the Jerk. The Snatch, however, is an overhead 2-hand lift, which is conducted by raising the barbell from the ground to overhead in a single motion.
Power-lifting lifts are slightly similar to Olympic-style lifts in that, both disciplines aim at raising and pushing weights in three major attempts (Foran, 2001). However, there is a big difference in the manner by which the two disciplines are operated to reach the intended objective, whether for strength or speed purposes.
Power-lifting lifts incorporates three major events or disciplines which include deadlift, squat, and bench press, all of which are standardized developments of the odd lifts. Squat is the first event here, where the lifter stands upright, with the loaded weight bar resting on his shoulders.
Upon the referees signal, the lifter goes down gradually, bending his/her knees into a squatting position, before returning to an upright position. Once again, upon the referees signal, they return the bar back to the rack, and that is the end of the lift.
Bench press is the second discipline here, and it starts with the lifter taking the loaded bar in their arms, while resting on the bench with their backs.
The bar is held motionlessly above the lifter’s chest, until the press signal is given by the referee, whereby the lifter pushes the weights higher until their arms are aligned in a straight position. The lift ends up when the referee calls ‘rack.’ Finally is the deadlift, where the power lifter grasps the loaded bar right from the floor, before assuming an erect position while standing.
As it would be observed, there are numerous pros and cons of applying Olympic lifts over Power-lifting lifts for purposes of speed and acceleration development in athletes. The use of Olympic style has many benefits when it comes to speed development and physique building.
Most of the benefits associated with Olympic auxiliary lifts over power-lifting style are based in their balance, flexibility, coordination, concentration and speed development.
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One key advantage of Olympic lifts in terms of speed and acceleration development is that, the events are executed in a rapid speed and with a greater range of motion, than in power-lifting lifts. Speed is of essence in Olympic lifts, for one is required to move the weights so fast, so as to be able to complete the lift successfully.
All events in Olympic-lifts would foster exposition, since all events starts with the weight and not moving, as it would be opposed to bench press in power-lifting, where the bar is in a constant motion (Connors, Grymkowski and Kimber, 1992).
These explosive movements normally translate well to the required speed level in sports. The other benefit of Olympic style is that, it plays a significant role in increasing the coordination of an athlete. The system incorporates a simultaneous move of the entire body, and through this, athletes are likely to develop maximum body coordination when they train using the Olympic lifts.
Olympic style lifts also have a number of drawbacks when compared to power-lifting lifts. However, most of these disadvantages are said to be more logistical than operational or functional.
For instance, in order for athletes to do well in their training objectives, whether for speed development or for strength acquisition, they require a special training field as well as special training equipment, which may be costly to acquire.
This is unlike the tradition weightlifting system, which can be accomplished in a local gymnasium and at a lower cost. The other drawback associated with Olympic style lifts is that, it is a complex practice which requires much training and practice for one to perfect.
This is in contrary to the power-lifting lifts style, whose techniques are relatively easy to master. More importantly, participants in the Olympic style lifts should be mature in the weightlifting exercise and this makes the program inaccessible to many athletes who are interested in the activity.
Connors, E., Grymkowski, P., and Kimber, T. (1992). Gold’s Gym Mass Building Training and Nutrition System. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Foran, B. (2001). High-performance sports conditioning. Champaign: Human Kinetics Publishers.
Fry, A and Schilling, B. (2003). Muscle fiber characteristics and performance correlates of male Olympic-style weightlifters. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 17(4), 746-754.