Kingfield Barbell Philosophy: Power (Part I)

As long as the athlete is applying force (pushing or pulling in the lift) the athlete is expressing power.
— Coach Chris

So far this year we have discussed three of the Kingfield Barbell Philosophies: close, control, and stable.  Be sure to go back and read up on what we had to say about them!  This week we will discuss power.  

Power in sports, by definition is the ability to exert maximum force as quickly as possible. Strength is very important in Olympic Weightlifting, along with speed, and that is where power comes into play. My goal today is to give you a brief description of power in weightlifting and how it can look different depending on the athlete.

Power, as it occurs in Olympic Weightlifting would be everything up until the athlete has received the barbell in the catch position.  As long as the athlete is applying force (pushing or pulling in the lift), the athlete is expressing power.  Majority of coaches would agree that the most important part of the lift, regarding power, is when the athlete “extends” or when the barbell comes into contact with the hips (this is where the most power is expressed). This will determine how much leg drive the athlete has given the barbell, secret tip: the more leg drive the better. Everything up until this “extension” or contact point, is the athlete setting themselves up for a proper extension/leg drive.

Power can be expressed and look differently to everyone, typically we see two ways in which power is expressed. If you watch the video below, you will notice two good athletes, two good lifts, but two different looking lifts.  

The lifter on the left (Lu Xiaojun, 77kg China), has a very smooth lift, where the lifter on the right (Adam Maligov, 94kg Russia) looks smooth, but is also very explosive.  One lift is not better than the other, but each lifter has their own way of lifting that works for them. Many times, power can be thought as or viewed as very explosive, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be explosive, as you can see in Lu’s lift.  I am not saying you should lift like Lu or Adam, but I am saying that you should find the most natural and strongest way for you to lift.

In the next couple weeks, we will discuss different ways to develop power, that is most natural to you as an athlete.

-Coach Chris