The strength and conditioning world has tried for years to determine the best type of training program to improve overall athletic performance. Plyometrics, agility, speed, resistance, and endurance training are all components of a good training program for the athlete. The purpose of this study (Journal of S&C) was to compare Olympic weight training program to a traditional power-lifting program in collegiate football players to determine which may be more effective in translating to athletic performance. In theory, Olympic lifts should translate to increased speed, vertical jump, and explosiveness due to high velocity/high force production during the lifts. On the other hand, the power lifts should translate to increased strength overall due to the emphasis on maximal force production at a slow velocity.
Pre and Post data testing on strength (1RM squat and bench press), vertical jump, and vertical jump power measurements were made. For the pre-test speed (40 yard dash) and agility (T drill), the subject’s preseason camp results were used.
The results of the study suggest that a 10-week Olympic weightlifting program can provide an advantage in vertical jump improvement compared to a traditional power lifting program among collegiate football players. What was interesting about this study was the fact that improvements in 40 yard dash sprints were 175% greater in the Olympic lifting group compared to the power lifting group. Each group had significant pre-training to post-training strength in the squat (Each group had the back squat exercise as part of the program at the same intensity). Due to the high number of pulling exercises in Olympic lifts and the mechanical correlation to the vertical jump, it should not be too much of a surprise that the VJ height was greater in this group.
Post-Activation Potentiation. This article, written by neurophysiologist Chad Waterbury, is a very detailed article about how the nervous system reacts to weight lifting techniques. In particular, Chad speaks about how post-activation potentiation can be used for rapid strength gains. He breaks down the nervous system so the reader can understand how important of a role the CNS plays in weight lifting. Those who are interested in how to use neurophysiology to aid in strength gains would benefit greatly from reading this article.
Mark Rippetoe is one of the most respected strength coaches out there. He was among the first to sit for the NSCA's Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) exam before relinquishing it a few years ago. This is an excellent video to teach the set up of the deadlift.
This final installment of the series discusses how to progress an athlete to the back or front squat. It breaks down ways to teach a beginner how to get ready for the squat.
This article breaks down the front and back squat into joint angles and muscle activation. It examines the differences and similarities between the two lifts while discussing how slight changes may affect which muscles are used.
Muscle for Athletes is written by Christian Thibaudeau. This is a very in-depth article with a main focus on high threshold motor recruitment for muscle hypertrophy. What is great about this article is that it discusses how important eccentric lifts are for athletes and how you can "tap" into activating the high threshold motor units in weight lifting. The author takes a very different approach to conventional athletic weightlifting and uses research and basic physiology to back it up. An excellent read.
This is the final installment of the three part series devoted to the deadlift. This third article goes through the sumo deadlift, speed deadlift, rack pulls, snatch grip deadlifts, deadlifts with bands, trap bar deadlifts, and deadlifts from deficits. It really pulls all three parts of the series together.
Mastering the deadlift part two covers the conventional deadlift in detail. This article has step by step instructions and pictures on how to perform the deadlift. Additionally, some of the most common mistakes are discussed with videos to aid in your studying.
The deadlift is the king of all exercises. The squat is the king of all exercises. Regardless of what you may believe, one thing most can agree on is that the deadlift is one of the most valuable exercises in the strength and conditioning world. Deadlifts work the posterior chain, core, shoulders, everything. Expert strength coach Eric Cressey goes through a three part series dispelling myths, proper form, variations (trap bar, sumo, conventional, etc), and videos on the deadlift. This three part series is a must read for those interested in strength and conditioning, sports physical therapy, or bodybuilding. Enjoy.