Hack your Olympic lift tekkers and STILL achieve explosive power!
Explosive power is the main determinant of performance in many team sports (Markovic et al., 2004) and tests of power are widely used in a strength and conditioning setting (Verkoshansky and Siff, 2009).
Not only useful for athletes, power training can be of huge benefit for the weekend warrior or average gym go-er also, due to the high levels of muscle recruitment involved within power training.
When we talk about the Olympic lifts, we are talking about the clean and jerk, and the snatch. Olympic lifts are utilised in training programmes as a method to increase power output and vertical jump performance (Hoffman et al., 2004). Whilst a useful training tool, the full Olympic lifts have limitations to their use due to the fact they are highly technical movements and require certain levels of flexibility for the start and catch positions to be achieved.
Hydock (2001) suggested partial lifts to be of benefit for power training, as they are less technique-dependent and can enhance peak power production to a greater degree than the complete lifts. In an Olympic lift, the second pull, or 'triple extension', possesses the highest wattages of any other parts of the lift (Stone, 1993), so when looking at enhancing power it seems logical to use a partial lift encompassing this element of the lift.
Athletes can perform the high pull with 110-120% maximum weight used in their complete lift (Yessis, 1994). This suggests that greater overload can be achieved with partial lifts, in comparison to the full lifts where technical efficiency may break down before sufficient overload is achieved to affect peak power production.
Can You Hack It? Yes You Can!
Both the high pull and the jump shrug are Olympic lift derivatives which encompass the second pull. These can both be done with either the clean or snatch grip.
How To: Clean High Pull
Start with the bar just above the knees with the knees almost fully extended.
Push the knees under the bar whilst simultaneously bringing the torso upright.
A forceful extension of the hip, knee and ankle then occurs whilst shrugging the bar upwards and allowing it to continue upwards.
How To: Jump Shrug
Start with the bar mid-thigh, torso upright.
Keeping the bar close to the body, perform a maximal jump off the floor whilst simultaneously shrugging the shoulders.
Both these Olympic lift derivatives are relatively easy to learn and can be added into your training programme.
Top Tip - Power work is always best done at the start of a session to ensure you are working at maximal velocity and not under fatigue.