The Oly Encyclopedia 40

Moving with the Greatest Possible Speed Consistent with Maintaining Control

One general principle of technique is that the lifter should always endeavor to move both the bar and himself or herself with the greatest speed that is consistent with maintaining proper body positioning and balance. Weightlifting is a sport where speed matters and, therefore, speed must be focused on at all times. This is not to say that speed is always achieved (it is hard to move the bar very quickly while pulling on a limit clean), but the lifter must strive for speed in the context of what he or she is trying to accomplish during a given stage of the lift. For example, it is not crucial that the lifter move with maximum speed during the first stage of the pull. At this stage, as was noted earlier, proper grip and body positioning are of foremost importance. Nevertheless, once proper body position and grip are established and concentration on what is to follow is achieved, the lifter's overall results are influenced by how quickly he or she carries out the first stage of the pull. In the context of the first stage of the pull, for the lifter who pull from a static start, this would mean getting set quickly. It would mean pumping quickly for the lifter who uses that style and "diving" quickly for the lifter who uses the dive style (all of this within the context of assuring grip and proper starting position first).

Speed is most critical from the third through the sixth stages for the pull and jerk. Speed in amortization, speed during the explosion and speed in moving under the bar are all absolutely essential. Therefore, throughout a lifter's career, speed must be emphasized, and the lifter must always be endeavoring to move the bar and body faster and faster. Doing this during any workout (regardless of the intensity of that particular workout) can provide the lifter with a continual mental challenge. Naturally the emphasis on speed must be increased gradually in order to permit the lifter's body to adjust to the stress that additional speed can place on the muscles and connective tissue. There are exceptions to the speed rule, such as when a lifter is training with slow movements to stimulate greater muscle tension.

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