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Barbell Why Powerlifters Struggle with Weightlifting

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
I can 100% agree with all of this! I spent 3-4 yrs training kettlebells, then about 2 years training powerlifting style barbell strength training and now 3 years weightlifting.

I could list some ways the kettlebell training and the barbell strength training helped me with weightlifting, but probably could list just as many ways that both have hindered me in weightlifting.

Nonetheless, I wouldn't change a thing.... Dismantling and rebuilding is just as much fun (or more so) as building something from scratch.
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
I can 100% agree with all of this! I spent 3-4 yrs training kettlebells, then about 2 years training powerlifting style barbell strength training and now 3 years weightlifting.

I could list some ways the kettlebell training and the barbell strength training helped me with weightlifting, but probably could list just as many ways that both have hindered me in weightlifting.

Nonetheless, I wouldn't change a thing.... Dismantling and rebuilding is just as much fun (or more so) as building something from scratch.

I have the opposite issue:

I do the powerlifts 'wrong' because I do them like a weightlifter.

--My DL is really a clean DL, unless I pull sumo

--My squat is high bar and not that far off from my front squat.

--My front squat > low bar back squat

--My bench press is a miserable 2 plates for reps

--My triceps are pretty well developed, but my biceps are sufficiently 'meh' to allow for a good rack

--I hate slow grinds; if i can't move with decent speed and momentum, I'll bail on the lift
 

John K

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Can't say Clarence is wrong. The first time I got into weightlifting I significantly detrained and in general go weaker. I eventually found a "hybrid" routine from 70s Big. Might not be the best for weightlifting but I liked that I could still train to get strong and improve my weightlifting. Really enjoyed my time using that, and eye it from time to time still...

Greg Everett also has a book called Weightlifting for Sports and it has some "hybrid"ish routines as well.

Also, I've followed Clarence for a long time. He's an incredible lifter and has made incredible progress. Really cool to watch.
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
Can't say Clarence is wrong. The first time I got into weightlifting I significantly detrained and in general go weaker. I eventually found a "hybrid" routine from 70s Big. Might not be the best for weightlifting but I liked that I could still train to get strong and improve my weightlifting. Really enjoyed my time using that, and eye it from time to time still...

Greg Everett also has a book called Weightlifting for Sports and it has some "hybrid"ish routines as well.

Also, I've followed Clarence for a long time. He's an incredible lifter and has made incredible progress. Really cool to watch.

That hybrid routine is pretty much a list of my bread and butter exercises when I'm not in a competition cycle.

Although I prefer dips to bench.
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
This cracked me up:

– Keep the rows. Having a jacked back is one of the coolest things ever. Sure, the Oly lifts will eventually get you there, but unless you’re running some test propionate, your back needs all the help it can get.
 

John K

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
That hybrid routine is pretty much a list of my bread and butter exercises when I'm not in a competition cycle.

Although I prefer dips to bench.
Might explain your poverty bench. :p
This cracked me up:
Haha yeah, I really liked his comment on the bench:
People will whine about how the bench and press, are not specific to weightlifting. If you are weak — and you should know if you are — then just do them. No one wants to see a skinny fat 85kg male lifter go 80/100 while, as Brent says, high school football players easily out-bench him. None of you are going to the Olympics anyway, so get traditionally strong to compliment your future Oly prowess.
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
Might explain your poverty bench. :p

Haha yeah, I really liked his comment on the bench:

100% -- hard to be good at bench when I only do it once or twice a year for LOLZ.

It's also an equipment issue -- I use indy squat stands, no safety bars, and I'm pretty cautious about pushing into heavier bench numbers with no safety backdrop or spotter when lifting alone.
 
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ShawnM

Level 9 Valued Member
When I was powerlifting my shoulders, chest, upper back and arms grew......a lot. It has taken me years to get the extra size down to something more manageable. I competed at 275 for years and more than a few times had to drop a few pounds before weigh-ins. i wasn't fat, I was huge! Because of this added size I was always really tight through my upper body, my lower body was fine even with my freakish thighs at the time, but my upper body just wouldn't not be tight. Because of my upper body size i could never do cleans properly. I would have to grab the bar nearly to the rings to get it to my shoulders and that just annoyed my wrists. With a good warm up I could do full snatches relatively well and still enjoy doing power snatches from time to time as well as light hang squat snatches. Now my elbows are horrible and I have no need to rack a barbell so I don't have to worry about doing cleans but I'm a little envious of those of you that can do them.
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
When I was powerlifting my shoulders, chest, upper back and arms grew......a lot. It has taken me years to get the extra size down to something more manageable. I competed at 275 for years and more than a few times had to drop a few pounds before weigh-ins. i wasn't fat, I was huge! Because of this added size I was always really tight through my upper body, my lower body was fine even with my freakish thighs at the time, but my upper body just wouldn't not be tight. Because of my upper body size i could never do cleans properly. I would have to grab the bar nearly to the rings to get it to my shoulders and that just annoyed my wrists. With a good warm up I could do full snatches relatively well and still enjoy doing power snatches from time to time as well as light hang squat snatches. Now my elbows are horrible and I have no need to rack a barbell so I don't have to worry about doing cleans but I'm a little envious of those of you that can do them.

I think I’m lucky in that I have a very broad shoulder girdle (my bones) which I think helps make things less crowded.
 

ShawnM

Level 9 Valued Member
If you're over 6', is that a bad thing?
I'm right at 6 foot so it's not horrible but I have really bad knees so dropping another 20lbs or more would really help. I'm getting my eating habits dialed back in after spending the last three months living in hotels and traveling quite a bit. My fault, I could have been doing better and made excuses. I'm still carrying a lot of muscle in my thighs and hip area which with a doing swings and snatches very often isn't going away any time soon, that's ok, no problem there. Just need to get the upper body more streamlined. Lol.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Elite Certified Instructor
I made it halfway through the video and I confess I don't see the point of it - every sentence contains the word "might" and it's an attempt to generalize when generalizing isn't, IMO, needed. Points I consider interesting if we're comparing powerlifting and weightlifting and people moving between them:

Weightlifting is a significantly higher level skill than powerlifting. There's a lot more one can and should say on this subject, and perhaps here the most important point is that kettlebell ballistics offer the average person many of the benefits of weightlifting with a much lower point of entry in terms of skill. It seems obvious that someone moving from a lower skill requirement activity to a higher skill activity is going to find progress harder to achieve.

Being strong is absolutely not going to hurt anyone who wants to learn Olympic lifting, and powerlifting a sport that tests strength - if you choose to go about it by becoming more and more huuuge, that's on you, but don't blame bulk on powerlifting, blame it on training methods that produce bulk.

So, yes, weightlifting is different, higher skill, and some things from powerlifting will be useful and some won't and some will hinder. I could say the same thing about learning to play different musical instruments, e.g., about my lifetime of playing guitar and piano and then learning brasswind instruments starting about 15 years ago. Some of my background helped, for sure, and there were other things for which my lifetime's experience was useless, and certainly there were/are ways of thinking about producing music on piano, if you expect them to work on a trumpet, will hinder your learning to play the trumpet. But all this seems obvious to me, both the weightlifting-powerlifting comparison and the musical one I just made.

-S-
 

watchnerd

Level 8 Valued Member
I made it halfway through the video and I confess I don't see the point of it - every sentence contains the word "might" and it's an attempt to generalize when generalizing isn't, IMO, needed. Points I consider interesting if we're comparing powerlifting and weightlifting and people moving between them:

Weightlifting is a significantly higher level skill than powerlifting. There's a lot more one can and should say on this subject, and perhaps here the most important point is that kettlebell ballistics offer the average person many of the benefits of weightlifting with a much lower point of entry in terms of skill. It seems obvious that someone moving from a lower skill requirement activity to a higher skill activity is going to find progress harder to achieve.

Being strong is absolutely not going to hurt anyone who wants to learn Olympic lifting, and powerlifting a sport that tests strength - if you choose to go about it by becoming more and more huuuge, that's on you, but don't blame bulk on powerlifting, blame it on training methods that produce bulk.

So, yes, weightlifting is different, higher skill, and some things from powerlifting will be useful and some won't and some will hinder. I could say the same thing about learning to play different musical instruments, e.g., about my lifetime of playing guitar and piano and then learning brasswind instruments starting about 15 years ago. Some of my background helped, for sure, and there were other things for which my lifetime's experience was useless, and certainly there were/are ways of thinking about producing music on piano, if you expect them to work on a trumpet, will hinder your learning to play the trumpet. But all this seems obvious to me, both the weightlifting-powerlifting comparison and the musical one I just made.

-S-

If you watch it to the end, his closing point for those switching is:

"Be patient"
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
If you watch it to the end, his closing point for those switching is:

"Be patient"
And that's probably the most important point. Most people don't want to go back to being a relative novice at something for a somewhat long period of time once they have spent a few years being intermediate or advanced... and this is what it takes, generally speaking.
 

MikeTheBear

Level 7 Valued Member
I do the powerlifts 'wrong' because I do them like a weightlifter.

--My DL is really a clean DL, unless I pull sumo

Same. The only conventional DL position that I find comfortable is my clean start position. I just pull sumo from the floor. I supplement with RDLs and snatch grip DLs.

--My front squat > low bar back squat

I don't even bother with the low bar. It doesn't feel good on my shoulders and I feel like I can't get enough depth.
 
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