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Using GymAware for Olympic Lifts

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Olympic lifts (OL) combine strength, power and neuromuscular coordination in a way that transfers to explosive athletic activities, such as vertical jump performance.

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RATIONALE 

The amount of force required and the rate at which it is produced has led to the routine use of variations of OL in athletes’ physical preparation. Due to the nature of the lifts it is possible to execute the movements without the need to brake the motion of the resistance with the use of the neuromuscular system. This can be an advantage when preparing for sports that require maximal force production, such as rugby union, bobsleigh, and track cycling for example. 

GymAware is the perfect tool for measuring power and velocity during OL. After squat jumps (countermovement) OL or their derivatives are some of the most common exercises evaluated with GymAware (this is because power developed through these types of movements are some of the highest recorded due to almost total recruitment of the neuromuscular system). 

SETUP 

For OL the positioning of the PowerTool is important to ensure accurate data collection. For both the power clean and snatch movements, it is important to consider the bar trajectory which can move slightly away from the lifter during the 1st and 2nd pull phases. 

The GymAware unit should be placed close to the athlete, in line with the toes, with the tether attached inside the bar sleeve. 

Data collection is typically over 3-6 reps with each movement at near maximum velocity. For power development bar speed should be no less than 0.8m/s and not greater than 1.2m/s. The load should be adjusted to train within these parameters. 

BENEFITS TO THE COACH AND ATHLETE 

A structured strength & conditioning regime featuring OL provides significant improvements in strength, power, jump performance, sprint performance and in the ability to change direction (Hoffman et al, 2004; Haff & Potteiger, 2001; Hori et al, 2008). 

Olympic Lifts are classed as explosive exercises and therefore enhance an athletes ability to generate high power outputs. 

Research supports the use of explosive type exercises as they are typically high force, high velocity movements that readily transfer over to strength and power based sports. 

REFERENCES

 Haff, G.G. & Potteiger, J.A. (2001) ‘A brief review: Explosive exercise and sports performance’ National Strength And Conditioning Association 23(3):13-20 

Hoffman, J.R., Cooper, J., Wendell, M. & Kang, J. (2004) ‘Comparison on Olympic vs. traditional Power Lifting training programs in football players’ Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 18(1):129-135 

Hori, H., Newton, R.U., Andrews, W.A., Kawamori, N., McGuigan, M.R. & Nosaka, K. (2008) ‘Does performance of hang power clean differentiate performance of jumping, sprinting and change of direction?’ Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 22(2):412-418