One of the things that seems to happen a lot with cleaning is that most people teach the POWER CLEAN because it is easier with a faster learning curve than the CLEAN AND JERK.
Of course, in a football weightroom setting with many athletes lifting at once, it is easier to teach the power clean rather than emphasizing taking the lift deep and doing the full front squat with the weight. Teaching olympic-style cleaning takes a lot of time and supervision, and I am not sure how realistic it is for high school weight rooms to pull off that level of individual coaching.
The HANG CLEAN is also easier to teach, I think, so football coaches like it too.
A coaching colleague of mine said that he wouldn't use power cleans for his high school program because when he was in college, they had a strength coach who absolutely crammed olympic-style lifting down their throats and that it caused many guys to have shoulder problems.
Fair enough; one goes and learns from one's experiences, but to limit your learning by what has been your immediate experience is a mistake; looking without further analysis is a mistake.
I never did get to look at the program design that was "causing" these injuries, so it is hard to say whether the cleans, the programs, or something else was causing those shoulder injuries. My colleague did tell me that there was A LOT OF STEROID USAGE in that program. Could the belief that cleans are bad (a notion carried in from previous experience) have been reinforced by all those injuries, problems that may have been caused by other issues OR the interaction of those issues and cleans.
If you think about it that way, no wonder an NFL strength coach (Dan Riley was mentioned) would say cleans were bad for his players, considering what the anecdotal evidence about NFL steroid usage tells us? (An aside -- I would be interested in knowing if Dan Riley has his players deadlift, though.)
Of course, Gary Wrobeleski was the strength coach for Marty Schottenheimer with the Browns in the 1980s (the Drive, the Fumble era). I know Gary personally, and he SWEARS by cleans.
Another knock against cleans on this forum was that they are not safe. I guess that it is my belief that anything in this world can be safe or unsafe depending on how it is handled. I know of one fairly serious injury involving cleans (a broken wrist/arm).
If I remember correctly, the kid tried to lean the weight back at the top. He was in a lousy position for executing the lift. He was in a position I KNOW that he had never been shown as a way to execute the lift. If he were in the correct position, he would have dumped the weight forward, not back on himself. We have all seeen lousy squats that have resulted in injured kids, yet we still work the squat.
One striking example does not the truth of the matter define, unless it is a truth in which you are already firmly entrenched. I think that social scientists call that â€œconfirmation bias.â€
As far as the Louie Simmons vs. Greg Shepard debate goes, these two men are going to have radically different opinions on the issue. Simmons has a very serious powerlifting background; he may be the absolute best powerlifting coach in the world. Shepardâ€™s background is more with track and field. Track people, throwing people especially, swear by cleans because they see the use of the entire body to generate maximum force as being well-trained by the olympic lifts. Many would say that this also applies to football, which is a game of POWER (the ability to express strength quickly) rather than strength. Boyd Epley and his people have written extensively about this topic.
Can you train to squat and deadlift explosively? Of course you can. Nobody doubts this fact. But when it comes to powerlifting competition time, without the time factor as part of the competitive yardstick, explosiveness is immaterial. It can be argued that powerlifting is mis-named, anyway, because there are no bonus points for lifting 700 pounds in 1.0 seconds as opposed to 1.7.
I think Shepard actually did coach high school football at one point in his career; I donâ€™t know if Simmons did coach football. These two guys are in completely different businesses (except for the fact that they both sell a LOT of gym equipment). Shepard is trying to develop athletic skills in young people. Simmons is training the biggest, baddest powerlifters on the planet, and people want to know if that knowledge can help their football players be successful.
Simmonsâ€™ techniques can make kids stronger, yes. And is a stronger individual better than he was when he was weaker? Of course. Simmonsâ€™ stuff is probably good for training high school football players.
Most of the arguments against cleans are based in safety issues. I donâ€™t see how those arguments hold water, especially when it is clear that coaching and supervision are the keys to doing cleans safely. I am sure that folks on BOTH sides of the debate want their kids well-supervised and well-coached in the weightroom.
I love how this topic always turns into the sports equivalent of the abortion debate LOL
I think that it would be great if somebody around this region could get a private gym started and maybe put together an olympic-style weightlifting team to compete.