January 8 "Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." -John Quincy Adams
Many coaches still believe that Olympic lifts are safe to perform for athletes of various sports. We think that common sense tells us otherwise. Take for example lifting an object off the floor, lifting slowly is much safer than lifting it quickly. An article written in Strength and Health Magazine winter 2001 by Doug Lentz, "Strength Training for the Adolescent Athlete," indicates that by "Not performing the "catch" phase of the power snatch and clean, we avoid potential wrist complications." StrongerAthletes.com maintains that the "catch" phase is not the only area a coach needs to be concerned with.
Lentz continues, "By incorporating a sound training base and safe introduction to explosive lifting movements, the athletes experience the benefits first-hand. Certainly there are those opposed to explosive movements who claim this type of lifting is unsafe. Maybe we’ve just been lucky. Or maybe it’s sound programming and proper coaching that have helped assist our young athletes stay ahead of the pack without experiencing weight raining-related injuries." However, StrongerAthletes.com believes that even if these explosive movements are performed with good technique, they still have great injury potential unlike a slow, controlled movement.
Matt Brzycki, Princeton strength coach in his article, "Coach, I Wanna Be Explosive, explains, "Using momentum to lift a weight increases the internal forces encountered by a given joint, the faster a weight is lifted, the greater these forces are amplified. These high forces are created at the point of explosion. When the forces exceed the structural limits of a joint, an injury occurs in the muscles, bones, and connective tissue."
"Kuland has mentioned injuries to the wrist, elbows, and shoulder while performing Olympic lifts-injuries which were obviously related to acceleration and/or deceleration forces imposed in these areas."
"S. Hall concluded from her study on the clean and jerk that fast lifting speeds generate dramatic increases in compressive force, shear force, torque and myoelectric activity in the lumbar region."
Brzycki also stated in "Complete Dirt on the Power Clean," "Orthopedically -unsafe exercises. Indeed, the potential for injury from power cleans is positively enormous. When performing power cleans, the musculoskeletal system is exposed to repetitive trauma and extreme biomechanical loading. Young athletes are especially vulnerable." StrongerAthletes.com emphasizes that coaches owe it to their athletes to provide a safe, productive, and efficient strength-training program for their athletes.