Lately I have been reading quite a few articles from T-Muscle Magazine (http://www.tmuscle.com/). I know, it sounds like the ultimate thickheaded testosterone- laden publication on the planet and to a certain extent it is, but the weekly issues of this free online magazine are full of incredibly interesting and sometimes revolutionary information regarding all topics related to strength training. If you are not already reading this free mag, I suggest that you start soon. Despite the thickheaded name, I guarantee you will learn more than a thing or two about training, diet, and performance optimization if you simply take the time to virtually leaf through this online publication.
All of this being said, I read an article the other day entitled, “The Russian Approach to Size and Strength” by John Paul Catanzaro. The vast majority of the information in the article was well researched and very interesting, but in one section of the article John wrote, “Please skip the Olympic lifts unless you are already competent at performing them” in a caption underneath a photo of a loaded bar falling on a lifter after his arm had dislocated (http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article_issue/issue_629#the-russian-approach).
It would be extremely gentle on my part to simply call this asinine statement a misunderstanding. I would categorize it as an oxymoron. The absurd notion that an individual should not perform the Olympic lifts unless he or she is already competent in them is an excellent depiction of the way in which many of the most accredited and respected strength and conditioning practitioners fearfully tiptoe around the Olympic lifts—mainly because they themselves have no experience coaching or performing the lifts and they are afraid to struggle with them.
If an individual is not competent in the Olympic lifts, he should LEARN how to perform them correctly, not avoid them. I learned how to do the Olympic lifts simply by watching online videos of the best Olympic lifters in the world and through practice. At first I was far from competent in the lifts and if I had read this article at that time and taken John Cantanzaro’s advice I would still be incompetent in the realm of Olympic lifting. Instead I decided to spend some time learning how to safely and effectively perform the lifts and implement them into my training regimen. I can honestly say that if I had not found out about the Olympic lifts (about 1 year and a half ago) my vertical leap and overall athleticism would not be anywhere close to where it is today.
Many coaches believe that the costs outweigh the benefits when it comes to the Olympic lifts. I believe that these coaches are lazy and shortsighted.