Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Lifts for Judo

People argue a lot about whether or not athletes (not weightlifters)
should be doing Olympic Lifts or not.

The usual arguments against O Lifts are as follows;
hard to learn
special equipment is needed

Ok. Don't do 'em.

What the O Lifts do provide in exchange for the danger and expense are;
explosive strength
starting strength
core and grip development

When the full lifts are practiced, I would add;

So when a Judoka or other grappler does choose to turn to the darkside and start lifting,
the first question is always;

"What's the best exercise to do for Judo?"

This a question not unlike "What's your favorite beer?" "Which one of your children do you love the most?" and possibly "Who would win in a fight, Superman or the Incredible Hulk?"

Only stupid people really have answers to any of these questions.

Having said that, I will now attempt to answer that question, at least in part. One aspect of grappling that is often under or unsafely trained is starting and explosive strength in hip extension. Depending on your game, this may be the one single most important bio motor ability. Even if you aren't hitting people with Te Guruma and single legs all day, this is still probably the one area that demands the most capacity in a long match or training session. In good grappling, how many movements happen without the hips?

With that in mind, I would suggest the High Hang Power Snatch.

The high hang position simplifies pulling from the floor. You basically start in the power position.
The power catch (catching with bent knees again in the 'power position') eliminates the confusion of the 'third pull' a skill that's gonna take a long time to develop for sure.
And why the snatch? The load is moved a greater distance.
The goal is to move the most weight the farthest the fastest. I think that I can give the clean more weight, but I'll take the other two with the snatch.

With the high hang power snatch, you can quickly advance to 30-40% of your max squat, and the most powerful athletes will be doing reps well over bodyweight. That bodes well for your ability to grab somebody and toss them in the air, doesn't it?
There are many variations on the O Lifts, and there are plenty of alternatives to my proposal;
accelerative lifting
I think that power snatching delivers a lot of bang for the buck, so it's just my preference.

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