Thursday, December 13, 2012

Louie Simmons on Weightlifting

I have been in the business of training and life long enough to form the opinion that if you are completely partisan in your view, you will miss alot. Complete devotion to any single philosophy or dogma can be very limiting. Our politicians here in the United States are an excellent example of missed opportunities. In the area of training there are plenty of philosophies out there. I have to admit that I really like the Olympic sty le lifts, but also realize that training all athletes exactly like competitive weightlifters is a big mistake. I don't buy into the nearly defunct fad of high intensity training (H.I.T.) but I have learned some things and use some of the principles they promoted. Louie Simmons and Westside Training is another example. In many weightrooms this has become the "flavor of the day". Louie is a bright guy, both in training methods and marketing. He obviously has produced a lot of winning powerlifters in that specific sport and when drug testing isn't in the picture. Do some of his ideas have merit in training athletes for other sports? No doubt. But I am thoroughly unimpressed with his diatribes about Olympic lifting in the U.S. He is out of his element there. All he needs to do to gain some credibility is produce a few Olympic style champions, but we are still waiting. Check out the standard Westside squat style in the second video. Other than seeing how much weight one can move up and down through a very limited range of motion, I see little carryover value from that type of training. Compare to Ivan Chakarov in the last video. Which style would you rather have your non-powerlifting athletes doing? Below is a post from another site from Brad Reid, a former thrower who writes alot of historical articles on lifters and throwers. I think he nails it pretty well. The video of Louie's interview is about 25 minutes long, but after only a few minutes you can figure out where he is going with it.

Well, Louie is one really effective coach for powerlifters, some other sports too, and a heck of a lifter himself. But, he misses the point, I think, that the very training range he prefers for powerlifters, the 50% days for multiple sets of 2 reps, that when one does a power clean or a squat clean, the weightlifter is moving a submaximal weight very fast already, and a further derivative weight reduction would be of no value (O-lifters training at 50% might mean 25% or so of maximum muscle static tension capacity, too low).

We actually have some proofs, very old ones, that lots of pulls (full cleans, power cleans, high pulls), instead of deadlifts, can result in a nice deadlift. Bill Starr set a deadlift record, I believe it might have been a senior national powerlifting "meet" record, but it could have been an American Record (too long ago for me to remember) . . . pulling around 670 as I recall as a 198 lber. Starr would later claim he did almost no deadlift training prior to that meet, that heavy pulls did the trick. The other man who comes to mind is George Ernie Pickett who deadlifted up near then world record territory when he occasionally crossed over to a P/L meet. Anyway, these are two examples of Louie Simmons-type results from Olympic Lifters crossing over to powerlifting. And, it is exactly the same idea: you can get stronger in the more static-like lifts by accelerating lighter loads (cleans and snatches and high pulls) very fast.
Starr, by the way, often only squatted 500-520 in p/l meets using a stricter style, of course, than the average powerlifter of that day. I seem to recall Starr pulling in a 440 clean at one meet, sort of a statistical outlier for him, but I believe he failed to stand up with it. He could have benefited from Simmons' squat routines, I think.
That's the real trick . . . forgetting about what doesn't or won't cross over to O-lifts and seeing if there is anything that does translate well. My guess is the squat routines would fit well, some version of maximizing pull power, too, though the modern O-lifter must adhere to training the actual snatch and clean & jerk with top weights.
Pulling a 50% max snatch really fast, now think about it, would mean that since the bar would want to fly toward the ceiling, that the lifter would have to feather back, cut off the pulling motion early to prevent it. The "body" would simply be learning a rhythm that has no semblance to a max effort, a bad lesson if you will.

Cheers! Brad

1 comment:

  1. I love your post in this blog. It have quallity videos . Thank you for sharing