11/30/07

Heresy

Do you really have to do power cleans to improve power? If you follow the party line of the National Power Clean Association you would think the power clean would be the only exercise that you need to do. If you drink the kool aid you would believe that power cleans can cure cancer! Lets get real here, I can certainly understand the benefits of the power clean in terms of achieving triple extension, but does the benefit outweigh the risk? Why not just do high pulls? It is the catch that causes problems, so eliminate the catch by just doing a high pull. Go one step further and start with dumbbells. The other issue I have with the clean is that it is a technically demanding exercise. It requires significant teaching time and individual instruction and most people do not have the time. It is hard for me to believe you can effectively teach a technically demanding lift with 90 players. I do not know about you but in most situations I have worked in there is a limited of time so if I have to spend several weeks to achieve technical perfection in a lift I am missing out on valuable training time. Also for practical reasons strength training is done after practice or after the other components, therefore you are training a high neural demand activity in a fatigued state that puts you at greater risk of injury. Also most of the times body proportions are not taken into account so we are fitting the athlete to the exercise rather fitting the exercise to the athlete. Why not just do dumbbell jump shrugs and dumbbell high pulls and gradually lead into high pulls with a bar after a good foundation is established. I have done this and the results are outstanding. This is low risk, high return. Then maybe you can go to power cleans if you really think you need to. Progression! Progression! Progression!

5 Comments:

At 11/30/07, 11:23 AM, Anonymous TC said...

I was brought up with BFS...Bigger Faster Stronger program. They believe power clean is the only way to achieve "power" back in the days.

All the other stuffs are for the birds.

I drank that good cherry flavor Kool-Aid. I did not realize there was other flavor Kool-Aid out there until I was in college.

ps. sorry for the sarcasm Vern.

 
At 11/30/07, 12:39 PM, Blogger James Marshall said...

Same thing happens in the UK.
The UKSCA is obsessed with cleans. National Governing Bodies send out guidelines that state that all athletes should be coached in cleans. If I have a contract for 10 hours of delivery over 6 months- a clean is not an efficient use of my coaching time. Couldn't agree more about the use of dumbbells.
It is different when I have athletes for 2years plus - then I have time to coach them.

 
At 11/30/07, 3:27 PM, Anonymous Mark Crabtree said...

I haven't really looked this abstract over very carefully, but initial indications are that a jump shrug seems to produce more power than a hang clean. Certainly easier to teach.
http://www.nsca-lift.org/Abstracts/detabs.asp?id=507

Mark Crabtree MS,ATC,CSCS

 
At 12/1/07, 10:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mostly agree with your arguement, Vern. Though, the catch is valuable as it trains deceleration and control of bodyweight + bar. An athelete definately needs to progress to this point, but the deceleration needs to be trained early and progressed like the acceleration. In a team setting (20+ athletes) and short time frame, it is extremely challenging to train such a technical lift. The other issue with the clean is that coaches are so concerned with the absolute load that regular practice and refinement of the mobility and motor skills are ignored.

Dan

 
At 12/2/07, 8:00 AM, Blogger Dr Craig S. Duncan said...

Hi Vern you are right on with this. The reality is when you are working with a squad of 30-40 players it is not possible to get the technique correct for all on the complicated lifts as like you stated there is so much else to do. Its great that you report the reality and the difficulties of working with big squads. I agree high pulls much easier to teach and less riisk

 

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