Being myself a strongman competitor, future powerlifting competitor, and an Olympic lifting enthusiast. After several years of reading on the subject, even writing my own book on strenght training: CHEATING NATURE WITHOUT STEROIDS, I came to the evident conclusion that Olympic lifters are the best trained and strongest athletes of them all. Why? I will tell you why.
1- Just look at the poundage: In the overhead press, back them when it was the third Olympic lift, the best Olympic lifters were doing in the range of more than 500 lbs with a lay-back style but without knee kick. Vasili Alexiev was doing 537 lbs on press and Ken Patera was the first american to overhead press 500 lbs that way!
Today, the best strongman competitors lifts between 360 – 424 lbs in the log clean and press and in the range of 450 lbs in the behing the neck push press with a big knee kick.
And in this case, I don’t think powerlifters can be a factor here. Powerlifters by definition do not specialize in overhead lift.
It’s also without saying that the Olympic lifters being squat clean and snatch technique are a long way in advance in the power clean department than any other strenght athletes.
Some strength athletes from others sports were really impressive in the power clean. Track and field Jud Logan has a 440 lbs power clean. Powerlifting legends; Gary Frank and Ed Coan have respectively done 440 lbs and 425 lbs in the power clean.
Here come the Olympic lifters, all the top Olympic lifters (the heavyweight, since I don’t give a damn about small weights) power clean above 500 lbs. Krastev did 529 lbs, Kurlovick did 529 lbs also. And Jaber, weighting less than 300 lbs did 550 lbs in training. Nothing else to say!..
The big question: the Squat. Squat has always been and will forever be the King of all Exercises! As we all know, squat is one of the three disciplines featured in powerlifting. But the numbers here are not fair, since modern-day powerlifters rellies heavily on equipment (belts, triple layers canvas slingshot suits, and 2.5 meters heavy duty knee wraps…) to achieve record weights.
In Olympic lifting, in training with minimal gear, the record of the old dynamo club in soviet union is 1014 lbs. Tarenenko did 837 lbs for a triple 2 seconds pause full squat. Kurlovich is reported to have done very easy reps with 880 lbs. Shane Hammon, former powerlifting great turned Olympic lifter, got a 900 lbs Olympic squat and a 1008 lbs official powerlifting squat.
It goes without saying that doing Olympic squat ( high bar, parallel feet, full range squat) with no suit, no belt, and no knee wraps (like it’s done by most of the Olympic lifter) is harder than doing power squat with an armor-like kit to walk on the moon.
|Olympic squat = no suits, no wraps, no belt, no spotters, and ass-to-floor.
That’s what squat is all about!
2- Crutches. Most Olympic lifters lifts huge weights overhead without any supporting gear, not even a belt. And unfortunately, the entire sport of powerlifting depends on superman suits, mummy knee wraps, and big belts… In my view, cruthes are for the weaks and make you weak. But unfortunately, big numbers seems more important than RAW lifting.
3- Olympic lifters trains 6-8 hours a day, six days a week.
4- Drugs. The huge majority of strength athletes of Olympic lifting, powerlifting, and strongman are on steroids and/or growth hormones, so drugs is not a comparative factor here.
5- In overall, I’m not trying to lambashing the three sports I love, no. The best approach is probably to do all three to be the strongest you can be, Mark Henry is the best example, a member of the 1996 Olympic Team, powerlifting competitor and 2002 Arnold’s Classic strongman contest. Mark Henry can proudly call himself, the World’s Strongest Man. 6’3″, 385 lbs squat over 1000 lbs, deadlift over 900 lbs, bench over 530 lbs, snatch 400 lbs and clean and jerk 485 lbs and the legendary 366 lbs Appolon wheels three-times in a row and one-hand snatch the famous 172 lbs Attila dumbbell.
|Mark Henry – Olympic lifter, Powerlifter, Strongman, wwe wretler
& inaugural 2002 Arnold Strongman Classic champion
He is the best blend of a strongman, Olympic lifter, and powerlifter! Just imagine, he could have done better if he has not wasting his life on wrestling.
Conclusion: Knowing that and wanting to be the strongest human being that I can be, I’ve now incorporate Olympic lifts in my routine and I now train seven days a week.
I want to be the best strongman, powerlifter, and Olympic lifter I can be!
And nobody can took that away from me!
Originally published on September 12, 2006 when I still was a competitive strongman and a strength sports fanatic.