Weightlifting: Exercises to Enhance Technique and Boost Strength
EXERCISES THAT IMPROVE TECHNIQUE
Some exercises can serve the dual function of improving technique and strength. It’s just that the time at which they are incorporated in the training of the lifter and the amount of weight being used will vary depending on the purpose.
One example could be the clean deadlift to the knees. This exercise might be employed with a beginning lifter who has the tendency to start the clean by attempting to pull very quickly off the floor, causing the hips to rise prematurely and a premature bending of the lower back. At this point, the exercise might be employed quite frequently (perhaps even daily) with a weight that enables the athlete to perform the movement with perfect or near-perfect technique. Once the athlete develops sound technique with the hips, shoulders, and bar rising simultaneously with no premature backbend, the exercise might be discontinued, and the newly developed proper technique will be reinforced by performing the clean properly with sound biomechanics.
EXERCISES THAT IMPROVE STRENGTH
As the lifter develops and continues to improve by lifting heavier and heavier weights, he or she might need to perform the same movement with maximal weights in order to develop strength during the first pull. At this point, the exercise might be reinstituted into the training for two or three times per week until the development of the first pull matches or exceeds the weights employed in the clean proper.
Another example might be the push press. Novice lifters who have not mastered the jerk drive might incorporate the push press with submaximal weights into the training as it will force the athlete to focus on the drive. The weights employed would definitely be submaximal until the mechanics are mastered. Once mastery is developed, the exercise might be discontinued. Later in the career, however, the athlete may be in need of greater overhead strength, and the push press might be the best exercise to develop strength through this range.
One of the real keys to program design is to know when to employ which exercise to employ for each individual situation. It is also critical to figure out when to abandon a given exercise when it no longer contributes to the current situation. This is one aspect of the subtle art of coaching.