Is Triple Extension the Means or the End? Or Both?

….when doing explosive exercises (like) cleans and snatches, giant box jumps, is the goal to move the body as fast as possible or move the bar as fast as possible?
(Is it) to improve rate of force development, or is to achieve triple extension?
….will an athlete get more explosive without achieving full triple extension in training?
……explosive (athletes) jumping on boxes…..are very explosive but not coming close to full triple extension…….
…..other than a sport that requires a lot of vertical jumping and reaching,……….athletes usually are not performing full triple extension on the field.

Cool shot.

Cool shot.

Before I answer these questions, I want to qualify a few things: 1) I believe Olympic Lifting is not in any way necessary to be involved in a training program IF logistic barriers exists, 2) I have never and do not intend to improve my coaching skills for the purpose of competitive Olympic Lifting, 3) I think Olympic Lifting and its variations are premiere choices for both fitness and athletic goals.

So I am not married to Olympic Lifting, but I think it serves a great many purposes, and it is worth including in some form whenever possible.
Unfortunately whenever possible is not as often in my world as it is compared to how others that are more married to Olympic Lifting than I.
But it’s also a question of what is the other alternative to Olympic Lifting with a barbell.  Is Dumbell Snatch allowed?  I think that movement is much more forgiving than what can be done with a barbell.  How about Squat Jumps or other variations?  Is sprinting and heavy sled not triple extension?

I am much closer to developing qualities in triple extension than actually accomplishing that in what someone else calls “Olympic Lifting.”  To that end, I couldn’t care less what the strategy looks like as long as, when required in performance, triple extension patterns meet expectations of power and capacity.

Okay, so that’s my own qualification.  Basically, I want to Olympic Lift whenever possible, but I just haven’t found that to be as often as I would like or others would indicate.  And I’m not even above saying this reticence is my own comfort level in coaching it and/or pushing it with an older high level athlete or celebrity.

Not too many people have walked the walk in training competitive Olympic Lifters AND using Olympic lifts in training athletes of other sports. Mike Gattone is one of them.

Not too many people have walked the walk in training competitive Olympic Lifters AND using Olympic lifts in training athletes of other sports.
Mike Gattone is one of them.

….when doing explosive exercises (like) cleans and snatches, giant box jumps, is the goal to move the body as fast as possible or move the bar as fast as possible?

I’m not comfortable suggesting this is the right question.
Can you move a bar fast without the body moving fast?  I can’t picture this happening.  Bar speed is obligatory in this particular method or whenever using a bar to train the assumed qualities.
If you are jumping big, yeah, I imagine the goal is to move your body as fast as possible.

Now, if I try to read into this question, I think there could be a perception of slowness if these exercises are executed in a particular way, maybe without triple extension, or more external load/lower box, etc.
It’s all based on what you’re after in the end.
I love the Louie quote, “There are some exercises that get you strong, and there are others that test how strong you are.”
Substitute fast for when Louie says strong, and I’ll suggest that is how explosive exercises are to be performed.

Remember this????????

Remember this????????

(Is it) to improve rate of force development, or is to achieve triple extension?
….will an athlete get more explosive without achieving full triple extension in training?

Both.
And yes.

The factor to best answering are…..
1) How important is Rate of Force Development to your athlete?  Where are they at now?  How far are they from elite in their sport?  How important is it for their sport in the first place?
2) How important is Triple Extension to your athlete?  Frequency?  Under what metabolic demand?  What are the biomechanical and neuromuscular competencies of triple extension before you begin training capacity of this quality?
3) In terms of Olympic Lifting, does that meet the demand/combination of what you need?  I think most of the time this will be a yes.

As far as training explosiveness without triple extension, such as a kettlebell ballistic exercise instead of an Olympic Lift, this is a matter of how you believe motor skills are acquired and how reproduction of motor skills from training carry into your terminal activities.
So yes.  Of course you can be explosive without triple extension.  You can be explosive with any reasonable movement.  I think if triple extension is a major part of the sport, then, without getting too deep into the different motor control strategies, you should be training explosively in that pattern with a high priority in the program.

…..other than a sport that requires a lot of vertical jumping and reaching,……….athletes usually are not performing full triple extension on the field.

Just because it doesn’t appear that triple extension maxing out is not present in some sports, doesn’t mean it’s not there beyond the naked eye.  It’s also like saying we don’t need to squat at or below parallel because it’s not present in the sport.
These are both huge mistakes.

Olympic Lifting trains a pattern, and that pattern is paramount for athletic propulsion in all 3 planes.
Skill acquisition/motor control is sustained, power/capacity is developed, and tissue joint integrity are maintained.  Lots of victories when you do things as intended and trust the process.

The stronger debates are partial/transitional lifts vs. the full Olympic Lifts, using Kettlebell Ballistics s vs. Olympic Lifts vs. Jump Training vs. training with the powerlifts with Compensatory Acceleration and such approaches as the Lightened Method.
This is where we should be batting around ideas and comparing results.

Olympic Lifts have a technical standard, and that standard involves triple extension.
I think that standard is gold.
If you do it a different way, and you get the job done, we’ll call it a draw.

Triple H = Triple Extension.

Triple H = Triple Extension.

  • January 4, 2014

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Although I am no longer a strength and conditioning coach for an athletic team, I still work with some athletes.

I have been experimenting with using KB swings in lieu of oly lif variations in some of the athletes I train (for a number reasons), and have seen fairly consistent improvements in performance as measured by “subjective measures”, but have yet to produce anything noteworthy as far as real data is concerned. Its pretty hard for me to tease out the improvements that could be chalked up to this change alone.

I’d love to hear if there is anyone out there doing more quantitative experimentation.

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