Check out the first of what will be many articles from seasoned Strength and Conditioning coaches from the UK and around the world. Today DO Training Strength and Conditioning Coach Tommy Heffelfinger talks about big guys lifting from the floor.
Wait stop there, before you go any further if you’re afraid of hard work and common sense this isn’t the article for you, but if on the other hand you’re willing to put in the time and effort for improved results then by all means go on…
With athletes, particularly taller individuals, there has been a seemingly overwhelming insistence that Olympic lifts should be performed from blocks or the hang position as opposed to full Olympic lifts from the floor. While I feel both of these starting positions in the lifts certainly have a place for inclusion within an athlete’s program I also believe that not only should full lifts from the floor be included, but they should be used more frequently than their chopped and screwed cousins.
While we all seem to appreciate the importance of including Olympic lifts in our workouts for increasing power to help us run faster, jump higher, tackle harder etc. There seems to be a constant desire to break down these lifts with the belief we can still gain all the benefits. As my Olympic lifting coach, mentor and absolute legend Giles Greenwood once stated:
“People want to Olympic lift because Olympic lifters are some of the most powerful individuals on earth, but people don’t want to do what we (Olympic lifters) do.”
Let’s be honest; people like to do power cleans from the hang or block for two main reasons.
1. You use a comfortable weight
2. They’re easier to perform and coach
So what are the advantages from lifting from the floor?
First brought to my attention from Rob Panariello lifting from the ground works on an element vital to most sports…acceleration! With the first smooth pull over the knee’s we then really explode into the second pull. Just think about this logically for a second, how much of your sports need for triple extension comes from a standstill? If you’re an American Football player quite a lot, but if you play a sport of more continuity such as basketball, football, swimming and so on then working on this element of power in acceleration should constitute a large percentage of your lifts. Starting the lift from the ground also allows a greater weight to be used than from the hang.
Contrary to the belief that taller individual’s are unable to achieve good starting positions, if you’re willing to put in the work, address flexibility issues and practice. Almost all individuals will be able to perform Olympic lifts from the floor. A notable examples as shown in this picture is Olympic Bronze Medalist Velichko Cholakov at 6’9″
If your uncomfortable achieving these positions, work at it! If your uncomfortable coaching these positions, work at it! Laziness is not an excuse and becoming better isn’t always easy, but I hope you’ll agree if you are able to achieve a good starting position where you previously lacked the ability that alone makes you A BETTER ATHLETE!
Now get out there and get down!
Big thanks to Tommy for his incite on why you should lift from the floor. Standing 6’4″ Tommy practices’ what he preaches when training with Commonwealth Gold medalist Giles Greenwood at Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club in East London.