Power or nah????….How about the Why part?
Power or nah?? An increasingly prevalent question being asked online. The power version of the snatch and clean is often used in training...and a lot of time is spent arguing on on what constitutes a power. Unfortunately, little time is spent discussing WHY to implement the power version of the lift. This is a shame, as they are very versatile and can be implemented for multiple reasons during various phases of a training cycle. Here I am going to lay out 3 different reasons to use them: and how to approach programming them.
Power output and work capacity
The movements being a partial version of the full lift allows us to program them in a higher per set volume than we traditionally would use for the full version. Working multiple sets of 3 to 5 reps allows us to increase an athlete’s work capacity. Since these movements are slightly less technical than the full version, we do not have to have as much concern about degradation of the quality of execution as fatigue accumulates. This time spent performing proper reps under fatigue will increase a lifter’s ability to tolerate a greater amount of sets/reps with heavier loads as the training cycle moves into the competition phase.
As the percentage used (65% to 75% of the 1 rep max) are lower during this cycle, the lifter will be able to put maximal controlled speed into each rep. This combination of speed and force will help to increase the athletes overall power output. Working with loads in this lower range of percentages allows for a lifter to execute the movement with high level of velocity, which is one of the two components that need to be trained in order to increase power output (the other being force production)
Development of the second pull
The general standard of a “power or nah” is to not lower below parallel during any portion of the lift. This forces the athlete to increase the height on the bar in order to make the lift. For those who lack pulling power, these can be a great way to increase the second pull.
If second pull production is the focus, sets of 2 to 3 with 80% to 90% of their 1 rep max will force them to maximize the pull. Of course, we want to ensure that the footwork emulates that of the full version, as well as not changing the amount of time in extension of the pull. If these 2 details are attended to, an athlete will have no choice but to maximize the power output on the second pull to either flat out make the rep, to ensure they do not drop below parallel.
The ability to receive a bar in full depth with proper tension in both the legs and the trunk is a huge skill that needs to be developed. For those who tend to bottom out or lose torso positions on the full lift, utilizing the power variations to work deceleration can be a beneficial tool.
To ensure that the hips stay above parallel, an athlete has to learn to use the legs to “throw on the brakes” to make sure they do not get driven down. This tension is the same that should be felt on the full version, even though the bar is received higher.
There can be a couple of different approaches in how to program these. Singles and doubles at 90% to 100% 1 rep max will force a lifter to brake fast and hard. With these, all attention must be paid to the timing and footwork looking exactly the same as the full version. With these the mindset should be that even if the lifter accidentally drops into the full version while mainlining tension, then they are performing them correctly. Once can also program them at more moderate percentage and force the lifter to pause in the receiving position, to feel out how they have absorbed the bar. Sets of 3 to 5 with 70% to 75% of their 1 rep max work well for these.
Power versions can be a great adjunct in your training to improve the full lifts, and hopefully this helps you have a new perspective on how they can help with different aspects of training. Power or nah is less important than think “Will this power help my full version”
Written by:Steven M Titus, Head Coach Team WNY Weightlifting
Edited by Michael Reinhardt, DPT.