One Size Does Not Fit All

This really bothers me and it is so typical. This is an email from a concerned parent. He nails it! I share his sentiments. My daughter hurt her back lifting in college and has never been the same since (She was taught to lift by a great Olympic Lifting Coach, Rich Lansky, so she had a foundation. Maxing after practice or performing technical lifts when they are fatigued is insane!

Hello Mr. Gambetta,

A speed and agility trainer that my daughters work with referred me to your website and a recent article you wrote on Olympic style weightlifting.

I have a daughter that plays soccer at the University of xxxxx and during the winter and at other periodic times they have the team members weight lift using the Olympic style weightlifting. They are supervised by a trainer (but I am not convinced she knows what she is doing).

My daughter is 5' 8" tall (our article mentioned that the Olympic weightlifting needs to be modified for taller people ... don't know if this qualifies as taller).

Our speed and agility trainer (who also played soccer) is not convinced that female soccer players that don't lift year round need to be introducing external weights to get stronger.

During last winter, my daughter nearly suffered a back injury doing the weightlifting. She experienced pain on and off for 5-7 weeks but appears to have survived without permanent injury. A couple teammates also appear to have suffered minor back injuries.

The trainer also encourages the girls to "max out" which I think is for the trainer’s ego, not the athlete's benefit.

My suspicion is that guys are much better athletes are stronger and generally develop proper technique than do girls and therefore, Olympic weightlifting might be better suited for guys and football players than for other sports.

I am not convinced that it is appropriate for female soccer athletes to be doing this style weightlifting.

I would welcome your comments on Olympic style weightlifting for female soccer players and what alternatives, if any, would accomplish the same goal but be safer.


At 7/24/07, 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is strength motto that was taught to me back in the 80s, "you are hurt because you are weak", so "train your body until you are fatigue, and push more".

One of the popular thought is to over come fatigue in the weight room by training harder. We all hear of "mind over matters" motto.

Mind over matters is one thing; but stupidity takes it to another level.

"Stupidity will wears you out"


At 7/24/07, 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What volume of work was she doing with these lifts, had she experienced back pain before, was there a proper accumulation phase, was she working on her mobility and recovery (via rest, nutrition. Remember to take everything into account before you go blaming the lifts and say there improper.

At 7/24/07, 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya! Don't blame the Lifts!

anonymous, sounds like you are suffering from attachment theory or the "teddy bear theory"

At 7/24/07, 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Olympic lifting and soccer?

At 7/24/07, 5:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do olympic lifters play soccer to get in shape for their competitions?

At 7/24/07, 6:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Olympic lifters are the strongest people in the world. Why wouldn't you want a soccer player or your athletes to be as strongest player on the field?

Survival of the Fitness!!!

Charles Darwin

At 7/24/07, 7:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Strong in what way? Soccer strong or Olympic Lifter strong?

Only the fittest of the fittest shall survive!!!

At 7/24/07, 7:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fittest only relative to the sport that is!

At 7/24/07, 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jog, jump, hop, skip, push, pivot, walk, lunge, kick throw... looks relative, sounds relative

At 7/25/07, 12:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the hell is soccer strong.

At 7/25/07, 8:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who are the strongest "athletes"?
Olympic lifters or football players?
Olympic lifters or soccer players?

What good are you all you do is run and be the fittest person on the field? IF you fit and strong, you will win...out last your opponent? You have to get strong even for a soccer player.

Why Max? To establish a base, to find out if your athlete has been working in the weight room.

Never heard anyone die from lifting weights.

Proud to be a Muscle Head, ACE

At 7/25/07, 6:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iron Maven blog's had something on a football player from Georgia die benching. There you have it...someone dying from lifting weights.

"When the student is ready, the teacher appears"

At 7/26/07, 12:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vern are you serious this man doesn't get it, there are to many variables to just blast the lifts. What did the program look like how much synergist crossover was there between lifts, what where rest intervals, where the athletes wearing belts (a huge no no), did the program have structural balance, was the athlete in structural balance, was she training her mobility, come on Vern maybe you don't get it.


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