Over the past couple days Gerald Sasser has been working out and watching others work out alongside me here in Dallas. He came in for this week and next to get a little training in and allow me the opportunity to watch him lift. To say that I’m learning a lot about his lifting and conditioning would be a massive understatement. This being the first time I’ve had the chance to see him in person, there are a lot of “ah-ha” moments going off in my head. However this blog is about a comment that Sasser made to me and Dutch yesterday while we were training. He stated two days ago while watching some of my training partners lift that we were so fast. Ironically, he and I just finished watching the 85 kg world championships from Poland. Thus I knew that he had seen speed. However, he commented having seen it in person that speed is something he lacked. The reason I make this comment is two different points.
First point, you just can’t teach speed. You have to see it, want it, and train amidst it for months to understand the type of speed it takes to complete the Olympic lifts with proficiency. Speed to the bottom is critical, speed coming out of the bottom of the snatch and clean is critical, the speed with which the bar moves from the hips is critical. All of these things have to be seen with the naked eye in order to understand and attempt to mimic it.
Secondly, videos just don’t do speed justice. I was surprised to hear him say how fast my training partners are when he just finished watching some of the best lifters in the world complete the snatch and CJ. I figured after watching those guys move there would be no chance he would watch us lift and call us fast. The reality is that live and in person the speed of a proficient Olympic lifter is mind-blowing.
Many people have called the Olympic lifts speed lifts instead of strength lifts. While I do not completely agree with this assessment there is an element of speed in the Olympic lifts that differs from any other type of lifting in the world. This speed can’t be taught and must be desired by the lifter. There is no progression or movement that teaches speed if a lifter doesn’t understand what speed is. Sasser has the opportunity already this week to see what speed looks like in many of my training partners. The next step is the same as any step in life. When you see something you want or you see something you desire to complete yourself, you imitate it.