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Thread: Adults should not do weightlifting, says Functional Training Guru Michael Boyle

  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judas View Post
    I'm not so sure. I know a lot ov athletes, and have known a lot ov athletes, anywhere from older couch potatoes 'getting back into it' (whatever it may be, typically popular ball sports), to actual college athletes in scholarships for their particular sports. Most do the bare minimum ov mobility and flexibility. The ones involved with sports that dont demand it (depending on who you ask, this is broad), often dont do any mobility work. Weightlifting requires you do it. And barring some gymnast or freak walking in off the street picking up a barbell, everyone is going to need some work. And it doesn't stop once you hit a certain point... the more you train, the more flexible you want to become... really, just like gymnastics i'd imagine. I dont know, and have never known any weightlifters who do not stretch, at least 15-30 minutes a day.
    Couple of things: 1) keep in mind that I am discussing Boyles thoughts on athletes using two lifts as part of their S&C program or general public adults who are using the lifts as part of their "less fat, look better in bikini" fitness regime. You seem to be discussing the sport of weightlifting. That is two completely different concepts.

    That said, I don't quite understand what you are "not so sure about". You basically state that the movements used in Olympic lifting (used to keep people from confusing the use of the sport named weightlifting with the activity that is using weights as part of a resistance training program) don't do much in providing flexibility to an athlete, and that athletes must stretch 15-30 minutes daily in order to compete in the sport of weightlifting.

    I don't see how that fits or supports any point in a discussion about Hockey players, basketball players, soccer players, baseball players, track athletes (other than throwers), tennis players, volleyball players, cyclist, rowers etc or guys with dad bods incorporating the clean, clean and jerk, and/or snatch as part of their training program. You just stated that Olympic Lifters "have" to stretch as an outside activity. It stands to reason that should any of the above type of athletes also include 15-30 minutes of static stretching as part of their S&C they will benefit (and that such a stretching program should be included in a quality s&c program). Olympic lifting has nothing to do with it.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judas View Post
    I'm not so sure. I know a lot ov athletes, and have known a lot ov athletes, anywhere from older couch potatoes 'getting back into it' (whatever it may be, typically popular ball sports), to actual college athletes in scholarships for their particular sports. Most do the bare minimum ov mobility and flexibility. The ones involved with sports that dont demand it (depending on who you ask, this is broad), often dont do any mobility work. Weightlifting requires you do it. And barring some gymnast or freak walking in off the street picking up a barbell, everyone is going to need some work. And it doesn't stop once you hit a certain point... the more you train, the more flexible you want to become... really, just like gymnastics i'd imagine. I dont know, and have never known any weightlifters who do not stretch, at least 15-30 minutes a day.
    I feel like Judas, discussing how flexible I am (not that big or jacked, though). Anyway, I'm in the very small group that was able to take up WL without any sort of mobility work. That came from a lifetime of BW training and physical activity. Stretching wasn't really necessary for me at the time, but I paid for it when I started having pain from piriformis syndrome and lateral pelvic tilt.

    Stretching is important, and I don't buy the recent vendetta against static stretching.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by coachd50 View Post
    Couple of things: 1) keep in mind that I am discussing Boyles thoughts on athletes using two lifts as part of their S&C program or general public adults who are using the lifts as part of their "less fat, look better in bikini" fitness regime. You seem to be discussing the sport of weightlifting. That is two completely different concepts.

    That said, I don't quite understand what you are "not so sure about". You basically state that the movements used in Olympic lifting (used to keep people from confusing the use of the sport named weightlifting with the activity that is using weights as part of a resistance training program) don't do much in providing flexibility to an athlete, and that athletes must stretch 15-30 minutes daily in order to compete in the sport of weightlifting.

    I don't see how that fits or supports any point in a discussion about Hockey players, basketball players, soccer players, baseball players, track athletes (other than throwers), tennis players, volleyball players, cyclist, rowers etc or guys with dad bods incorporating the clean, clean and jerk, and/or snatch as part of their training program. You just stated that Olympic Lifters "have" to stretch as an outside activity. It stands to reason that should any of the above type of athletes also include 15-30 minutes of static stretching as part of their S&C they will benefit (and that such a stretching program should be included in a quality s&c program). Olympic lifting has nothing to do with it.
    I think Olympic lifting gives a rather large motivation to stay flexible, though. That's more the point I was trying to make. Outside of sports like figure skating or gymnastics, or some martial arts, there's not a lot of motivation for an average athlete to be flexible, so they're much more likely to not taking stretching that seriously. With WL without enough flexibility, the lifts simply won't go, or you'll start missing lifts because your overhead position got worse from being lazy stretching your shoulders for a week or two, etc. You're much more likely with flexibility in a lot of other sports, especially training on your own to go "eh, good enough, I touched my toes for a second" rather than wanting to be able to palm the ground for a minute.

    And I think from an athletic perspective it's just very crucial in that it works the body through about the longest ROM you can get with weighted exercise, you're fully extending your body, then fully going down with a weight over your head.

    Anyway, though yeah, there could have been things I did better in my training, I think the WL influence in my general athletic prep was really helpful. I had no conditioning/S&C coaching at all, I just made up stuff as I went. I also trained in a gym with a lot of high school and college hockey players, so I kind of know what that sort of "S&C" training was like, and I could easily equal most of them on box jumps, and usually well surpassed 90% of them on squats and the lifts. And this is coming from someone that failed his fitness tests in high school without even being able to do one pushup and had a 14 minute mile, starting training at 20 coming from obesity. I don't think I have fantastic natural athletic talent, rather the opposite. Obviously if you're already a good athlete and something worked well enough to get you to somewhere, then it's probably wise to keep doing that, but it's still my contention that for someone not naturally gifted as an athlete Olympic weightlifting as a training outline is the way to go. I think that but with maybe 30-50% more plyometric type work.

    Lastly I think as well Olympic lifting is really... revealing of deficiencies, which again besides flexibility might be the most important thing. My overhead position sucked for a long time. I started doing rear delt raises a lot, and fixed my overhead position, but also vastly fixed my posture. Same with my TVA, I used to have a lot more anterior pelvic tilt, that made the lifts worse and more painful, so I did a lot of TVA exercises to fix it. Of course doing a bunch of dragon flags and flat back leg raises isn't "weightlifting" but weightlifting was one thing that revealed the issue readily to me. And even looking at the pros, they need to do the same thing, of using various bodybuilding exercises to fix problems. The Chinese even hire "functional" trainers to work with their weightlifting athletes on lighter days.
    Last edited by celicaxx; 07-07-2019 at 12:22 PM.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by celicaxx View Post
    I think Olympic lifting gives a rather large motivation to stay flexible, though. That's more the point I was trying to make. Outside of sports like figure skating or gymnastics, or some martial arts, there's not a lot of motivation for an average athlete to be flexible, so they're much more likely to not taking stretching that seriously. With WL without enough flexibility, the lifts simply won't go, or you'll start missing lifts because your overhead position got worse from being lazy stretching your shoulders for a week or two, etc. You're much more likely with flexibility in a lot of other sports, especially training on your own to go "eh, good enough, I touched my toes for a second" rather than wanting to be able to palm the ground for a minute.
    So your point is that it would be good coaching to program and then spend all of the time necessary to teach and train the classic lifts simply as an accountability check for the flexibility part of an athlete's S&C program? Having been involved with college athletics, I just can not agree with that. Just hold the athlete accountable to stretching.

    I am not suggesting that programming cleans, clean and jerks, and snatches as part of an S&C program for high level athletes would be inherently wrong. I am simply saying I can absolutely see why some S&C coaches (Boyle in this case) would choose not to include them. I can also see why they may not be the smartest exercises to include for a 45 year old mother of 3 who isn't looking to compete in weightlifting. Particularly if said 45 year old was using "crossfit" as her avenue to fitness and would be a part of randomized programming.

    And I think from an athletic perspective it's just very crucial in that it works the body through about the longest ROM you can get with weighted exercise, you're fully extending your body, then fully going down with a weight over your head.
    If you are a 15 year old HS athlete, SURE. Your S&C should include such endeavors. If you are a collegiate top level women's hockey player (like Boyle coaches) or an NCAA baseball or basketball player, I am not sure the juice would be worth the squeeze.

    You and Judas seem to be saying "You need to program snatches, cleans and jerks so that you will be forced to spend time static stretching". I just don't think that makes much sense for the populations discussed in this thread.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by coachd50 View Post
    So your point is that it would be good coaching to program and then spend all of the time necessary to teach and train the classic lifts simply as an accountability check for the flexibility part of an athlete's S&C program? Having been involved with college athletics, I just can not agree with that. Just hold the athlete accountable to stretching.

    I am not suggesting that programming cleans, clean and jerks, and snatches as part of an S&C program for high level athletes would be inherently wrong. I am simply saying I can absolutely see why some S&C coaches (Boyle in this case) would choose not to include them. I can also see why they may not be the smartest exercises to include for a 45 year old mother of 3 who isn't looking to compete in weightlifting. Particularly if said 45 year old was using "crossfit" as her avenue to fitness and would be a part of randomized programming.

    If you are a 15 year old HS athlete, SURE. Your S&C should include such endeavors. If you are a collegiate top level women's hockey player (like Boyle coaches) or an NCAA baseball or basketball player, I am not sure the juice would be worth the squeeze.

    You and Judas seem to be saying "You need to program snatches, cleans and jerks so that you will be forced to spend time static stretching". I just don't think that makes much sense for the populations discussed in this thread.

    Boyle and other functional trainers promote the idea that weightlifting movements, even a power clean from the floor, are too complex to teach. And of course, since he had back problems from lifting and many of the athletes he coached had back problems from squats, forget about that exercise too. For power, Boyle would rather promote his swinging cheat curls (the initial path of the bar is nearly horizontal, using a lot of lower back and pretty much no quads) and call it Olympic lifting. He even makes it more sport specific by performing it on one leg! Add to that partial range of motion split squats and a kettlebell goblet squat with your heels on a wedge board to compensate for ankle flexibility, and you have a complete athletic fitness training program! I, and many other weightlifting coaches I know, can teach a decent power clean in about 20 minutes, and given they have some ankle flexibility, a squat clean. As for stretching, just performing the Olympic lifts will improve flexibility -- in fact, in many of these functional movement assessments, the overhead squat is one of the tests they use to assess flexibility. As for basketball players, perhaps another approach to conditioning should be considered since 70 percent of ankle and ACL injuries are non contact -- perhaps an approach involving full-range weightlifting movements that teach you to absorb, store, and redirector force?

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by celicaxx View Post
    I think Olympic lifting gives a rather large motivation to stay flexible, though. That's more the point I was trying to make. Outside of sports like figure skating or gymnastics, or some martial arts, there's not a lot of motivation for an average athlete to be flexible, so they're much more likely to not taking stretching that seriously. With WL without enough flexibility, the lifts simply won't go, or you'll start missing lifts because your overhead position got worse from being lazy stretching your shoulders for a week or two, etc. You're much more likely with flexibility in a lot of other sports, especially training on your own to go "eh, good enough, I touched my toes for a second" rather than wanting to be able to palm the ground for a minute.

    And I think from an athletic perspective it's just very crucial in that it works the body through about the longest ROM you can get with weighted exercise, you're fully extending your body, then fully going down with a weight over your head.

    Anyway, though yeah, there could have been things I did better in my training, I think the WL influence in my general athletic prep was really helpful. I had no conditioning/S&C coaching at all, I just made up stuff as I went. I also trained in a gym with a lot of high school and college hockey players, so I kind of know what that sort of "S&C" training was like, and I could easily equal most of them on box jumps, and usually well surpassed 90% of them on squats and the lifts. And this is coming from someone that failed his fitness tests in high school without even being able to do one pushup and had a 14 minute mile, starting training at 20 coming from obesity. I don't think I have fantastic natural athletic talent, rather the opposite. Obviously if you're already a good athlete and something worked well enough to get you to somewhere, then it's probably wise to keep doing that, but it's still my contention that for someone not naturally gifted as an athlete Olympic weightlifting as a training outline is the way to go. I think that but with maybe 30-50% more plyometric type work.

    Lastly I think as well Olympic lifting is really... revealing of deficiencies, which again besides flexibility might be the most important thing. My overhead position sucked for a long time. I started doing rear delt raises a lot, and fixed my overhead position, but also vastly fixed my posture. Same with my TVA, I used to have a lot more anterior pelvic tilt, that made the lifts worse and more painful, so I did a lot of TVA exercises to fix it. Of course doing a bunch of dragon flags and flat back leg raises isn't "weightlifting" but weightlifting was one thing that revealed the issue readily to me. And even looking at the pros, they need to do the same thing, of using various bodybuilding exercises to fix problems. The Chinese even hire "functional" trainers to work with their weightlifting athletes on lighter days.
    Have you considered that your flexibility issues could have been caused by valgus feet?

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Goss View Post
    Have you considered that your flexibility issues could have been caused by valgus feet?
    I don't think so. I wouldn't say it's impossible, but I don't feel I have it? I have fallen arches, but that seems about it. With my fallen arches I'm actually uncomfortable wearing any sort of padded sole shoe, I pretty much need to wear canvas flats or hard soled boots. I do apparently as well have a short leg by I think 4-5mm according to a chiropractor. One thing I didn't think of a lot was actually my Achilles are super tight and probably just short. I recently got about 1cm of heel added to my lifting shoes and it helped my lifts a lot. Kinda compounding it is being longer femured and armed, so it's a perfect storm of negative traits for Olympic lifting and good traits for every other sport (too bad my parents stopped all athletic stuff after elementary school and fed me junk food and frozen TV dinners and pizza after that... :/ :/ )

    Actually being honest, flexibility might be the only thing I'm naturally somewhat gifted at, I guess lower body strength partially (pulled 265lbs on the deadlift at 180 first day in the gym with no prior barbell training...) Out of the high school fitness tests, I was one of the few males that passed a toe touch test, actually exceeding it by an inch or two. Not that it comes easy or there's not people better than me, but out of males I've met in high level, even elite athletics, including my own sport, I've done really well in that area, especially with no childhood real training/building up in it. I met other guys in my sport with a significantly higher training level than me with a lot worse flexibility. (You know my sport...)

    Obviously the internet skews our expectations some, though. I did train stretching harder than probably most people, I'd do static stretches for 120 seconds or 180 seconds at a time per stretch, and wake up feeling sorer than lifting sometimes. With that it's kind of chicken or egg, I believe myself to have lower than average upper body strength, but then because of that I didn't train it as much for a lot of years, figuring what's the use, etc, etc, but then starting training it actually got it better and more competent, though perhaps it took more time to progress than X other person. With stretching maybe I had no comparison/expectation, so it was a positive reenforcement feedback loop or something.

  8. #48
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    I think i was pretty clear, everyone else seemed to get it. I dont have time to write books here like i used to.

    But... no, making athletes do weightlifting SO they'll stretch is not what i meant. An athlete forced to weightlift is unlikely to take it too seriously, they'll get what they can out ov it as an assistance exercise, and leave it at that. Thats not inspiring anyone to stretch.

    I do however think that weightlifting IS a good use ov ones time, as a coach, in training power in athletes. One would hope that you have at least semi-athletic clients (unless you're talking entry level sport here or beer league), and they should be able to pick the basics up... enough to get the benefits from them... quick enough. The better the coach, the quicker it'll be. I can have all but the most awkward (or stiff) clients doing decent powercleans in one session, or power snatches. If the athletes can learn the full lifts in the same time, all the better. There is so much gain.

    I also think that most ov the coaches that dismiss this idea are the ones that cant get a client under the bar properly. I dont know this coach Boyle guy, but you make him sound like one ov the legions ov PT's i've seen who literally cannot perform a squat or deadlift, and thus, cant coach others to either. Those are the ones that injure clients, and so, they write the gold stuff off as dangerous, or on the wrong end ov the risk vs reward spectrum. So in that regard, i absolutely agree... if it takes you 5 sessions to teach a football player a powerclean, or if you have dozens ov athletes squatting and pulling with round backs and caved in knees, then absolutely you should not be teaching (and the client should not be doing) these lifts. The real solution here though, is that those coaches should go work at BestBuy or the local factory and leave the coaching to those who actually want to do it.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Goss View Post
    Boyle and other functional trainers promote the idea that weightlifting movements, even a power clean from the floor, are too complex to teach. And of course, since he had back problems from lifting and many of the athletes he coached had back problems from squats, forget about that exercise too. For power, Boyle would rather promote his swinging cheat curls (the initial path of the bar is nearly horizontal, using a lot of lower back and pretty much no quads) and call it Olympic lifting. He even makes it more sport specific by performing it on one leg! Add to that partial range of motion split squats and a kettlebell goblet squat with your heels on a wedge board to compensate for ankle flexibility, and you have a complete athletic fitness training program! I, and many other weightlifting coaches I know, can teach a decent power clean in about 20 minutes, and given they have some ankle flexibility, a squat clean. As for stretching, just performing the Olympic lifts will improve flexibility -- in fact, in many of these functional movement assessments, the overhead squat is one of the tests they use to assess flexibility. As for basketball players, perhaps another approach to conditioning should be considered since 70 percent of ankle and ACL injuries are non contact -- perhaps an approach involving full-range weightlifting movements that teach you to absorb, store, and redirector force?
    I can't speak directly to these "swinging cheat curls" as I have never seen him discuss those. I have seen video of him teaching power cleans from the high hang and hang and referencing Glenn Pendlay in the instruction.

    Also, I have only seen him teaching split squats/ rear elevated split squats going down to a front leg parallel position. Not partial range of motion versions of that exercise.

    Are you saying that he is advocating that all athletes use wedge boards, or just the athletes that are lacking the ankle mobility so that they can perform the exercises until their mobility catches up?

    Regarding basketball, you don't think the countless hours of jumping, landing, cutting is an example of absorbing, storing and redirecting force? Those injuries are overuse injuries caused from the athletes playing basketball year round from the ages of 8 or 9.

    I understand your (and other's here) points of view considering it is coming from a weightlifting background. I am just saying I could see where S&C coaches who are training large groups of higher level (not high school) athletes might not think Cleans, Jerks and Snatches are worth the squeeze.

  10. #50
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    I fall on the side that there are more exercises than snatch, cleans, and jerks that S&C coaches should be using. I say most S&C coaches only look at weightlifting through the lens of snatch, clean, jerk, powers, and pulls rather than a whole host of exercises that are used in this sport that can be effective. That is my argument based on observation of several coaches and university/high school programs.

    Muscle Snatch/Clean are easy and useful to teach vertical force development, as well as tall lifts for learning change of directions. They are learning progressions to snatch/clean that IMO benefit newer people more than trying to learn the actual lifts. Jump squats are a more useful training exercise over maximal back squats and can be done in two manners: with the emphasis on absorbing and redirecting multiple jumps and low reps with the emphasis on maximal height (with the assumption a fast eccentric is done each repetition). Jumping good mornings (vertical and horizontal) are also effective force developers. If the athlete can, maybe they will be doing jumping overhead squats with training/empty bars.

    If I had a team/group of athletes for four years as many high school/university coaches do I would have a clear four year progression in teaching the movements. It may not be until second or third year that they do powers/classic lifts if I deem it necessary based on the sport/athlete/progression. If not, I still have a plethora of weight room exercises to pull from this sport to use. Maybe at best all I need to teach is muscle variants and pulls for a given population. I look at weightlifting through the lens of a sport and the requirements in sport (dynamic flexibility, speed, relatively relaxed/tension free movement, and soft tissue elasticity to name a few), so I look to train those qualities in all practices.

    For adults, in my experience I have taught hundreds with varying mobility capacity to do the lifts to some degree within their limitations; at a Crossfit gym I'm teaching upwards of 20 people at a time. Many of them note how much easier it is to golf, swim, jump, run, play basketball/flag football, and so on after practicing the lifts for some time. From what I have seen they have made flexibility/stability gains with many of the progressions I incorporate over the course of weeks/months. I'm working with all populations (former athletes to never having exercised in their life, 20-60 year olds). So I disagree with the notion that you cannot and should not teach adults the Olympic lifts, and even for any athlete. You can definitely teach all populations how to perform the lifts and variations. I think they are more useful than developing slower strength with more powerlifting type movements/training plans. The only thing that is specific to sport is practicing the sport itself but swimmers still do dryland training for a reason, just like how most sprinters go to the weight room 2-3x per week depending on the season.

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