The 4 Horsemen will usher in a new age of fitness. The traditional versions of Conquest, War, Famine and Death are represented in our focus on Goals, Competition, Nutrition and Metabolic-conditioning. We firmly believe that strength, power and fitness are best achieved by utilizing CrossFit methods and the 4 Horsemen of Lifts: Squats, Presses, Deadlifts and O-lifts.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
The Four!!! Part D - O-lifts
Olympic lifts (O-lifts) or Weightlifting the one word version not weight lifting to two word version describing the recreational activity of a 1/3 of the population in which they move some dumbbells in a futile effort to get in shape. I'm talking about weightlifting which is all about the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk (2 of the original 3 Olympic lifts - they removed the clean and press) and any of the hanging- (prefix - start just below knee) or power- (prefix - catch in 1/4-1/2 squat) versions. There is no better way to develop pure POWER than the O-lifts. They are a true power movement in that they move enormous loads from ground to overhead in a very short amount of time. For all those scientists like myself that can do the math Power = Work/time where Work = Force(load) x distance. So if you move the same load faster you create more power even though you are doing the same amount of work. Basically power is all about speed or explosiveness in an exercise. This speed/explosiveness is generated in the "seat of power" basically from all the muscles that attach to the pelvis mainly the back, quads, hams, glutes and hips. The tremendous power generated by the opening of the hips can transfer directly from weightlifting into other activities of daily life such as running and jumping. Thus O-lift are extremely functional and should be an active part of any program. The down side to the O-lifts is that they are very technical in nature when trying to move the load from the floor to overhead. Although not as beneficial, simpler versions (smaller range of motion) can be employed rather easily so that one may gain from using such a lift. The simplest form of the clean is a standing two feet jump. Instead of the full squat clean which starts with the weight on the floor, one could start with the weight just above the knee on the thighs - then "explode" or "Jump" with the weight while keeping the arms straight, to full hips, legs, back extension, shrugging at the top of the "pull". The lifter should come up onto their toes without actively engaging the calves and the lifter and the bar(load) should feel weightless for a fraction of a second. This sort of bastardized version of the clean simplifies the movement but still allows for someone with no understanding of what they are doing to benefit from the lift. In all honesty, a knowledgeable and certified coach is needed to learn the full versions of the lift. O-lifts are all about the "jump" as this is where the power comes from. So please do not let me see you trying to reverse curl 225lbs in a heaving motion that is all back in a poor attempt at a power clean. I would rather see you doing jumps with two 40# dumbbells in your hands. I love the O-lifts so more detailed rants are on the way!