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olympic lifting vs powerlifting

Posted by: Steve

It would be interesting to see the results of a study that could be performed on older ex-Olympic lifters who have stopped lifting heavy weights. These folks always go to rock bottom on their competitive cleans, and you often see them bouncing at the bottom....which is probably pretty dang hard on the knees. Does anyone know of such a study? It probably has not been done. What about arthritis in ex-Olympic lifters? I once knew a world-class powerlifter who, as an experiment, implemented some snatches and C&J's into his workouts. He gave them up; not only were they too hard for him to do--he lacked some flexibility--but they wreaked havoc on his knees, wrists and hips. This was a guy who held the WR in the squat in the 90K class. What's the lesson here? Well, it could be that Olympic lifting is a lot tougher on the joints than powerlifting. A legal squat in powerlifting is thighs parallel to the ground, correct? But there is not one elite Olympic lifter out there who could get away with going only to parallel on a squat clean or snatch. I'm not suggesting that one sport is "better" than the other; just wondering if any older lifters out there--Olympic or Powerlifting - have any thoughts on this. I did primarily Olympic lifting, I am 62 years old, and my knees are still pretty good. But I was not that good a lifter, far, far from the elite level. These days I do wall sits, with thighs at parallel, and the other day I worked up to 6 minutes, 20 seconds. I don't do heavy squats anymore, but I do perform lunges with dumbbells in hand. There really is no need for me to lift heavy anymore.

Wouldn't you say that a person can compete longer, at a more advanced age, in powerlifting, as opposed to Olympic lifting? As you age, you definitely lose flexibility. Flexibility is an absolute requirement for squatting with a bar overhead in the snatch.


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