Olympic lifting is without doubt a great way to develop speed, power, explosiveness and overall athleticism. As countless people way smarter than me have shown they work and I’m not disputing that or hating on olympic lifting. What I am going to do is set down the reasons I don’t use them in mine or my clients training and maybe why you shouldn’t too.
Number 1. I’m not an olympic lifting coach.
To be honest I’m barely proficient in the power versions of the olympic lifts myself, the idea of me coaching other them is quite frankly laughable and definitely not good professional practice as a strength coach.
It’s certainly not going to do my athletes any good. At best I could fudge through teaching someone a half decent hang clean: At worst I could cause an injury. So until I know better how to coach them I won’t be programming the oly lifts.
Number 2. There are other more ‘user friendly’ ways to develop power.
Olympic lifting, kettlebells, TRX or whatever the latest and greatest fitness dogma out there is, are never the be all and end all panacea of health and fitness, but a useful tool in the toolbox. Research has shown simpler and much more teachable moves, such as the weighted squat jump bring almost all the benefits of oly lifts to athletes. Indeed smart men including Alwyn Cosgrove swear by them. Eric Cressey and Tony Gentilcore at Cressey Performance are massive advocates of med ball work, particularly for training rotational athletes such as golfers. These movements can be argued to be more specific to an athletes sporting requirements also, and less detrimental in terms of joint distraction forces on both the shoulder and elbow.
Number 3. Teaching the olympic lifts (well) takes too long.
The olympic lifts have a large learning curve and teaching them can easily take months. With much of that time spent drilling technique at loads to light to create a training effect. Particularly for competitive golfers, with an ever decreasing off season window before the rigours of travel and tournament golf take over again, that time is a luxury that unfortunately cannot be afforded often. With the in mind I tend to opt for med-ball training, jump drills and heidens to get power training in. Many og these also have the happy coincidence of being more plane specific to golf.