James Smith on Olympic Lifts for MMA Athletes

Madmick

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This subject came up in the Pariah thread. Cockysprinter mentioned that James didn't like the dynamic overhead barbell lifts for most athletes due to the repetitive stress placed on the shoulders, and I wanted to know more. Cocky said he thought James only opposed them during the in-season, and maybe this is right (he doesn't elaborate much here), but it looks like he's just opposed in general.

You aren't confused, Cocky, I found it (the referenced passage) in the Supertraining thread (Post #5):
http://www.sherdog.net/forums/showthread.php?t=176661&page=2&pp=20

James Smith said:
Now, as far as what are the most beneficial lifts for MMA goes; we must first perform a cost:benefit analysis.

1. Although the OL's are great for power development they are also much slower to learn than the powerlifts, with a higher risk of injury, due to high technical demand, and shorter career longevity of competitive lifters.

2. The snatch is the fastest lift around, however, many NON olympic lifters tend to suffer from fraying of the labrum from performing snatches.

3. Cleans pose a risk to injuring the wrists, and the act of racking the weight on the clavicle, following the pull, is of no athletic use.

I am a fan of pull variations, both snatch and clean grip. The execution of pulls allows the athlete to focus on true triple extension without prematurely squatting to either catch the bar during the clean or executing the snatch.

Heavy backward overhead medicine ball throws are also a fantastic tool for developing true hip extension and power development. This type of throw allows the athlete to reap all of the athletic rewards of the snatch without the trauma to the shoulder capsule.

All in all, and in my opinion, there is no reason for anyone to perform the classical Olympic lifts (snatch, clean and jerk) unless you are either required to test in the power clean (which many football players are) or are training to be a competitive Olympic weightlifter.

My former boss said the same thing. He didn't like C&J for basketball/football players- since despite that the "double knee bend" is the fastest human movement- the movement involves a deceleration phase, and there is no such phase in these sports. The same is true for MMA.

I have to admit, I'm very apprehensive about giving up my Barbell C&J. But I have to get over that, there just seems to be a consensus on this point from those I respect: my former boss, James Smith, Entropy, Urban.

Nevertheless, I also think it should be kept in mind the potential for force with these lifts. Even dynamic powerlifts don't rival the motor recruitment of the olympic movements, so when I'm after speed-strength, the cleaning station is where I'm headed.
 
James argument, in a nutshell.

-The attributes that are trained via olympic lifts are starting strength and explosive strength.

-However, The oly lifts are complex lifts and those attributes are not trained everywhere in the movement: the dropping under the bar and the racking of the weight on one's shoulders have nearly nothing to do with explosiveness. They sure have to be done quick, but in one case it is dropping rapidly and in control under a bar (something hardly ever duplicated in sports) and in the other is a motion you never encounter in anything other than oly lifting.

-Those motions are useless for athletes who compete in anything other than oly lifting, and those motions are often sources of injuries for oly lifters. Those parts of the lifts are both useless and risky for athletes.

- It should be better to take out the dropping and the racking out of the lifts.

-There is a name for oly lifts who lack the racking and the dropping: High pulls and low pulls.

-Therefore, athletes would be better off doing high pulls and low pulls than doing the oly lifts.

I kinda stand by his side and I think the argument is a good one.
 
Well that fucks up my whole damn routine!

I can't keep starting at square one again guys.

So no snatches or cleans?
Just pulls, snatch width and clean width?

Would someone provide a sample routine perhaps?
 
Chad, continue with the Clean and Jerks. There is nothing, NOTHING that compares to the explosive power that you can develope from these. There are many many MMA athletes that use them and they are incorperated into Many D-1 wrestling programs. If you need names I will be happy to look them up and provide some. Remember, you have guys here who say in theory you can find better lifts for MMA, but until other exercises are proven to work as well, stick with what many MMA athletes used and have proved successful
 
You could just do Highpulls instead of Cleans.
 
Madmick said:
This subject came up in the Pariah thread. Cockysprinter mentioned that James didn't like the dynamic overhead barbell lifts for most athletes due to the repetitive stress placed on the shoulders, and I wanted to know more. Cocky said he thought James only opposed them during the in-season, and maybe this is right (he doesn't elaborate much here), but it looks like he's just opposed in general.

You aren't confused, Cocky, I found it (the referenced passage) in the Supertraining thread (Post #5):
http://www.sherdog.net/forums/showthread.php?t=176661&page=2&pp=20



My former boss said the same thing. He didn't like C&J for basketball/football players- since despite that the "double knee bend" is the fastest human movement- the movement involves a deceleration phase, and there is no such phase in these sports. The same is true for MMA.

I have to admit, I'm very apprehensive about giving up my Barbell C&J. But I have to get over that, there just seems to be a consensus on this point from those I respect: my former boss, James Smith, Entropy, Urban.

Nevertheless, I also think it should be kept in mind the potential for force with these lifts. Even dynamic powerlifts don't rival the motor recruitment of the olympic movements, so when I'm after speed-strength, the cleaning station is where I'm headed.

james has stated other things that conflict with his normal views regarding oly lifts. for example, hes mentioned that the both the pulls and the catch can have application to other sports, but the cost:benefit analysis still has to be performed. i think his position simply revolves around the fact that many athletes get injured due to bad form, and they take too long to learn good form. hes mentioned thst the oly variants can be very beneficial for those already proficient in the technique. charlie francis uses oly lifts though, except for athletes that cant perform them for various reasons. i say if you can perform them, keep them in your program. if you cant, learn them. :D shorter competitive span might be because of where they lay on the force/velocity curve. the more rate dominant an activity is, the shorter the competitive span tends to be. the more force dominant and skill dependent an activity, the longer span. kinda like saying sprinting isnt a viable option because most dont compete past 30. the degeneration of an athlete i dont have a comment on, though i would say this can happen to any athlete with any exercise. id also kindly remind everyone that lifting weights is GPP for all sports except weight lifting and powerlifting, and to some extent, bodybuilding. the force potential is unmatched, and the direct carryover to sprinting, jumping, etc cant be overlooked. and remember madmick, urbans opinion is directly copied from james... so really its only one opinion. :wink: i dont think entropy posted during the time james was here so i cant comment there.

overall, i wouldnt ever drop oly lifts. i think a sharper learning curve is a poor excuse for not doing a lift. ive never experience injuries doing them, ive hurt myself more benching than i have snatching. also ive said it before and ill say it again, the bigger i clean the faster i run. but on the other hand this might just be anecdotal evidence from one athlete.
 
I love the Olifts. I like any type of Pulls better than regular cleans and full range snatches. I like them better with kettlebells or dumbells rather than a barebell. Complexes are great, so one can use a couple of exercises back to back therefore one has to use lighter weights, focus more on speed and gives your conditioning/grip a hell of a workout as well.
 
umm ahvent been around the board much lately...

what happened to james smith?

you can pm if you want in order not to open a can of worms or stay off topic. i was jsut kinda wondering. its jsut cuz i'm wondering. no biggie...
 
Madmick said:
My former boss said the same thing. He didn't like C&J for basketball/football players- since despite that the "double knee bend" is the fastest human movement- the movement involves a deceleration phase, and there is no such phase in these sports. The same is true for MMA.


I dont quite understand this point of view. What does "deceleration phase" mean?

Do you mean "negative acceleration"?

Because I really cant see how somebody would say there are no such decleration phases in football/basketball.
 
Madmick said:
cockysprinter said:
also ive said it before and ill say it again, the bigger i clean the faster i run.
The bigger I clean, the higher I jump.

and? i dont know any other lifts that have a such a direct correlation to explosive movements. limit lifts dont have the same effect in my experience.
 
There is no way I'll drop Olympic lifts out of my training program. I think Cockysprinter is right when he said

james has stated other things that conflict with his normal views regarding oly lifts. for example, hes mentioned that the both the pulls and the catch can have application to other sports, but the cost:benefit analysis still has to be performed. i think his position simply revolves around the fact that many athletes get injured due to bad form, and they take too long to learn good form.

The O lifts as anyone who does them knows are "very complex" and that in itself can be a major problem. It takes time toi learn the movements and if you go too light you don't feel the benifits and if you go too heavy or lift with poor form you risk injury. I will only do O lifts when I am fresh and they are an important part of my power training for mma.

As far as sport specific movements go fighters should be doing sports specific drills with partners, the o lifts should not be a replacement for partner drills. But I do think that o lifts can complement partner drills such as lifting/throwing/slamming your partner.

My point is o lifts are complex, but in the right training environment they can complement sports specific mma drills, and therefore be a benifit to a persons mma game.
 
BoxingFanNoMore said:
I dont quite understand this point of view. What does "deceleration phase" mean?

Do you mean "negative acceleration"?

Because I really cant see how somebody would say there are no such decleration phases in football/basketball.

Sorry, I was very unclear about that. I meant for the explosive movement. Of course, and I think someone posted a blurb about this just this week, if you don't decelerate a movement at all, there would be serious joint damage. But I'm not talking about changing directions or braking, I'm talking about a jump or some other type of takeoff.

With Oly lifts, you accelerate, you decelerate. With a jump or start out of the line, you accelerate into a push or without limit (into a run, through a defender, until gravity stops you).
 
cockysprinter said:
Madmick said:
The bigger I clean the higher I jump.
and? i dont know any other lifts that have a such a direct correlation to explosive movements. limit lifts dont have the same effect in my experience.
I was just agreeing with you.
 
Madmick said:
Sorry, I was very unclear about that. I meant for the explosive movement. Of course, and I think someone posted a blurb about this just this week, if you don't decelerate a movement at all, there would be serious joint damage. But I'm not talking about changing directions or braking, I'm talking about a jump or some other type of takeoff.

With Oly lifts, you accelerate, you decelerate. With a jump or start out of the line, you accelerate into a push or without limit (into a run, through a defender, until gravity stops you).

If you look at a graph of bar velocity during a clean, there are only very small phases of actual deceleration(slowing of acceleration, not velocity) of the bar.

clean.jpg


(Acceleration would be the slope of the line, for those not familar with derivatives)

Obviously, during the transition there are the two main deceleration phases but they are very quick, and for the most part it is a very accelerative lift. Also, power still has to be created during the deceleration phases.

Which if you then look at a power output graph of a clean and jerk, compared to say a vertical jump, I would bet they are very similar in fashion for each part of the lift.
 
graedy said:
You could just do Highpulls instead of Cleans.

high pulls lack the catch.

i also wanted to say, james smith has mentioned he likes one handed dumbell variants, though would only use them in specific cases.
 
I just do the hang version of the clean and the snatch and the clean and push-press. They are the only ones I have noticed that make a difference in my explosiveness but that's just me.
 
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