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Can't Drop the Weights!

Training discussion on Can't Drop the Weights!, within the Bodybuilding Forum; The issue of olympic lifts has come up a number of times and people frequently point out that they don't ...


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Old 05-06-2008, 01:24 PM   #1
EricT
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Default Can't Drop the Weights!

The issue of olympic lifts has come up a number of times and people frequently point out that they don't have bumber plates and that their gym doesn't want them to drop the weight, etc...

Of course some gyms will actually not "allow" you to do certain lifts.

But I have been under the impression that this whole idea that you HAVE to drop the weights is a misconception. Now I haven't done a whole lot of OL stuff compared to some but I've NEVER dropped a weight or found a need to. Until recently, however I hadn't found an expert bring this up. Well, here goes:

By Jim Schmitz
From: Schmitz On The Lifts column at Irondmind.com (http://www.ironmind.com/ironmind/opencms/ironmind/Lifts/lifts3.html )
Dropping Weights

I think the biggest reason Olympic-style weightlifting isn’t allowed in commercial gyms is that weightlifters are their own worst enemies sometimes because they drop their weights. I’m talking about successful lifts, not failures. Dropping weights isn’t necessary 80% of the time, maybe more. Dropping weights evolved as weightlifting became more popular around the world, especially in Eastern Europe, and more and more weight was being lifted, which was naturally more difficult to lower to the platform. As dropping weights became more accepted, something had to be done because the metal plates were tearing up platforms and destroying the flooring underneath. Someone invented rubber bumper plates around the middle to late sixties. They certainly have been a big plus in sparing damage to platforms and floors.

Now it seems that all lifters, from beginners to elite, think that dropping all weights, from warm-ups to maximums, is the way it should be done. This situation has perhaps evolved from watching the world championships and Olympic Games where lifters certainly drop weights, some from overhead even, and yet never have a lift disqualified as a result—even though the rules state clearly that you aren’t supposed to let go of the bar until it is at waist height. I think it’s unfortunate that this has been allowed to escalate to this level because now beginner and intermediate lifters think that is what is done in order to lift the big weights.

In my gym I am just amazed at some lifters who come in for a workout, and right off the bat they are dropping 40 kilos from overhead. Naturally, I tell them they can’t drop their weights in my facility, and after I explain to them how to lower weights under control, usually there aren’t any problems for them or me after that. However, I wonder, where do these people train where they can just drop the weights without regard to the equipment or their or others’ safety?I have the best Eleiko and York barbells and bumper plates and very solid training platforms with inlaid rubber where the weights land. But, if you don’t control the lowering of the barbell, the equipment will break or will definitely wear out faster. I’ve been coaching weightlifting at my facility for 37 years, and after not being too strict on lowering weights in the early years I had a lot of broken plates and busted platforms. I figured I had better change my lifters’ dropping habits because I couldn’t afford to replace broken plates and to rebuild platforms every year. I have trained many of the strongest men and women over the years and I’ve taught them how to lower weights as well as lift them. Lowering weights properly won’t weaken you.

It’s interesting when I see lifters lower a heavy barbell under control at local, national, or international competition. I figure that they must train on their OWN barbells.

How do you lower weights under control? With maximums you just let the bar down in front of you, but you keep your hands on the bar and try to slow the descent and then don’t let the bar bounce all over the place. With light or warm-up weights in the snatch, you lower the bar to your thighs and then lower it to the platform. In cleans and clean and jerks, you lower to your shoulders, then to your thighs, and then to the platform.

This will take practice, but once you learn how, you will see that it doesn’t take anything away from your lifting and you will be allowed—and maybe Olympic-style weightlifting will be allowed—in commercial gyms, which would mean more places to train and more people doing snatches and clean and jerks, and more talent being discovered, and maybe a higher level of Olympic-style weightlifting and appreciation for weightlifters in the United States, and . . . you can see that not dropping the weight can have a big impact on the future of weightlifting!

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If you act sanctimonious I will just list out your logical fallacies until you get pissed off and spew blasphemous remarks.
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Old 05-06-2008, 02:55 PM   #2
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What are your thoughts on lowering the weights on dead lifts when you're working near your 1RM for multiple sets?

My workout partner has been having back problems and he doesn't have lower back pain after dead lifting if he drops the weights. He almost got thrown out of the gym for dropping the bumper plates on the super expensive/nice/durable lifting platforms. He told the people working at the gym that if they didn't like it, they could catch both ends of the bar when he finished the lift and lower the weight for him. I thought he was going to get thrown out, but they actually said yes and did it. I don't think that even a partial negative is part of dead lifting. And in his case, it was the only way he could really lift. Granted, if I'm working with a weight that I feel comfortable letting down, I will. But if I'm going for a 1RM, lowering the weight gently is the LAST thing on my mind.

When I tried cleaning 225 Sunday night, I missed it and it was kind of loud. The guy behind the desk started walking over toward us like he was going to say something, but I had already started taking the plates off because I was done. THAT IS FUCKING GAY. And the article wasn't referring to failed lifts. That's just my rant. I see sooo many people dropping the 10lb bumper weights (why do they make those by the way?) and shit like that, so I'm sure the people just get tired of it.

So I guess I'm just pissed about the 20% of the time (or less) that the article is referring to when I or someone I am lifting with drops weights and catches shit for it. Overall I agree with the whole article. Some of the power lifters actually do their lighter working sets with metal weights and don't have a problem setting it down. I saw a guy power clean 275 for 5 reps and he gently set down the weight (steel plates) every time. I think that is bad ass.

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Old 05-06-2008, 03:03 PM   #3
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I get what you are both saying, but honestly, i never understood why a gym would have bumper plates, then tell you not to drop them. Thats the fuckin point of bumper plates.

you bring up and interesting point ross, I always lower the wieght slowly on deads, even when i'm nearing 90% of max. I guess I just never thought of it as a neg, but your right, it is. I suppose I could rep more if I didnt neg like that, but it makes me feel safe i guess. Then again this is coming from a guy who has done sldl with 350 before ... not realizing he wasnt just deadlifting ... ooops.

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Old 05-06-2008, 03:34 PM   #4
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Hmm...people can think they have a right to drop weights and complain about it which will accomplish nothing or they can let go of their lazy preconception that they have to drop weights and then maybe things will change. I don't like chrome plated fluffy commercial gyms and of course there are going to be some serious hardcore clanging going on is a hardcore lifting gym. But continually dropping weight from shoulder height or overhead height? I certainly wouldn't let people come into my training area and start dropping my weights like that no matter how many bumber plates I had.

Bumper plates were meant to be an added protection not an excuse to drop weights. It's not like your bouncing rubber balls off the floor. Smytz pointed out that the equipment can't stand up to that kind of abuse and he was speaking OF using bumper plates, protective flooring, etc. Realize that his place was not a "commercial" gym but was a serious hardcore training ground for olympic lifters. He was the US Olympic lifting team coach for the early 80's. Good barbells in particular are very expensive and they get damaged by being dropped even with bumber plates. Let alone the floors, etc.

Ross, lots of people simply lower the weight incorrectly. I wouldn't expect slow controlled negatives on max deadlfits but just letting go of the weight and dropping it is certainly not proper. BTW, I have used my own equipment for years and bars get damaged from being dropped. Even the really good ones.

I hurt my back several times in the past lowering on deads (and not even max weights) until I learned how to lower properly. Sometimes it will be more like a controlled drop though, it's true.
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Old 05-06-2008, 04:15 PM   #5
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I miss high school...they built new platforms for olympic lifts every year. Sometimes twice a year. We just used steel plates or occasionally some busted old bumper plates. All of the bars on the platforms were f'ed up. Nobody knew the difference and nobody cared. Ah, the good old days...
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Old 05-07-2008, 05:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
But continually dropping weight from shoulder height or overhead height?


I didnt realize people actually did that, I've never seen someone drop weight from more then hip high ... thats why i didnt see what the big deal was I guess. I agree there is no reason for that, its a good way to get hurt or break shit.
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Old 05-07-2008, 05:54 AM   #7
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Yeah, I see people do that a lot. Especially with the 10 & 15 lb bumper plates...it bends them in half. It's fucking stupid.
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:24 AM   #8
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i see this dude at the gym at work drop the weight from shoulder height every single last rep no matter how much it is. and they arent bumper plates. it is honestly so annoying. i know people do it and to each his own. but me personally i never drop weights because IMO it helps me be able to handle the weight and it adds to the workout. i look it at is a whole exercise. pick the weight up. do the lift and place it back down.

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Old 05-07-2008, 06:48 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hrdgain81 View Post


I didnt realize people actually did that, I've never seen someone drop weight from more then hip high ... thats why i didnt see what the big deal was I guess. I agree there is no reason for that, its a good way to get hurt or break shit.

yeah me too.....if someone's dropping it from OH height or shoulder height thats bad. waist is kinda ok but i try to avoid it. i only drop it on deads...

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Old 05-07-2008, 11:37 AM   #10
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Hrdgain, after I posted I realized that me and you may have been talking about 2 different things. The article is about olympic style weightlifting. Honestly I don't believe there is much excuse for dropping a weight from waist height either since most should be able to put it down at least with some sort of control.

But this thread was about olympic lifts, cleans, clean and jerk, snatch and stuff like that. There have been a number of threads started with people wanting to do those types of lifts but being concerned over bumper plates they couldn't afford or that their gym won't allow then to drop weights. So the message is.....you don't have to drop weights all the time to do OL lifts.
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