Review of Glenn Pendlay’s Olympic Lifting Techniques

It’s always a lot of fun to watch folks make something look easy.  It can be anything, not just physically related tasks.  I am most impressed that when I am holding a baby, and he’s crying unmercifully, and then someone else takes him, and he’s sound asleep.  They make it look so easy.

A lot of folks, some really good coaches, say Olympic Lifting is too hard to teach in terms of what’s required for what you can get.  Ultimately, I think there’s a lot of give and take and things to consider, but O-lifting is not something that should be dismissed.  Maybe you don’t go off the floor.  Maybe you don’t catch in the squat position.  Maybe you don’t even catch.  I mean, hell, the 14-year-old that thinks he’s cleaning but really doing a power reverse curl is still doing some really good things, form aside.

So here are some bullet thoughts in review of Glenn Pendlay’s Olympic Lifting Techniques video.

1.  This is definitely Olympic Lifting for the sake of Olympic Lifting, not Olympic Lifting for performance
You always hear you don’t have to catch in the deep squat in terms of performance, but the suggestion here is that if you learn to catch light weights in the bottom, when you go big, you won’t have to try to cut it higher and higher.

My counter-thought is do you really need the big weights unless it’s a competition.  But again there is a big difference in goals of OL for sport and OL for improving strength and power.

It is very sensible to be able to coach the deep catches, but burying ATG with heeled shoes?  Not sure about that one.  Many times you will hear Glenn say if you had OL shoes with a heel, you’d bury that squat.  I still will never understand how that is considered normal and okay, but if I say, “Hey, throw on this denim shirt with the sleeves all stitched to the front, and you’ll press 4 wheels off the chest,” it’s heresey?

2.  From top to bottom, you will learn how to teach Olympic Lifting quickly and systematically.
Good coaches make it look easy.

Good O-Lifters make it look easier.

For something that is squawked about to be so complicated, some folks make it look very easy with very simple verbal cues and landmarks.

3.  I like how Jon North rarely buckled into valgus in the deep catches, which is something that really bothers me watching huge numbers from competitive lifters.


4.  Lots of pretty good lifters in the crowd, which can be an added learning tool when watching instruction.
Group instruction in O-Lifts usually looks a lot uglier than this.

It’s either great instruction, better than novice lifters, or both.  Nice positive feedback to see how certain cues apply to certain errors.  There’s just a lot of over-the-shoulder views of just watching Glenn coach.

5.  You will see some very functional mobility positions with the bar in your hands.
Personally my biggest struggle is catching the clean.  There is a nice partner stretch where your partner pressures you to yield into a catch position.

These also really lend nicely to a general warmup if you are blocking O-Lifting or maybe a quick 15-20 minute in-season workout.

Dude, I don't see funny here.

6. Amusing watching old ladies O-Lift and quite well.  One of them was a dead ringer for one of the participants in Dan John’s DVD seminar.

Certainly I have quarrels with the value of heels, and I think it is a major mistake to jut your chin forward in any lifting technique, but I’m not an Olympic Lifting coach.
I do know how to coach Olympic lifting better now though.

This is an excellent DVD to review Olympic lifting regardless of the coach’s experience level.

  • February 2, 2011

Leave a Reply 4 comments

Coach Len Kuhn Reply

Thank you Charlle, great stuff, looking forward to next week. Reply

This one is on our staff meeting watch list after your DVD’s.

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