Misnomers About Lifting Sports

If you ever wanted to see uneducated comments about sports, look at YouTube comments. They are flush with people trolling videos they know nothing about. When, most likely, they are people who spend most of their time on their parent’s old couch in the basement pilfering wifi bandwidth.

I posted a picture of a hook grip not long ago. I borrowed the picture above to show how to get into a hook grip. Most Olympic weightlifters tape their thumbs to get an even better grip. So I got a lot of concern from people thinking I injured my thumbs. Haha! Since you have to use an overhand grip with both hands in this sport, it helps to hold onto the bar. At first, its quite uncomfortable and doesn’t make sense. But after you use it for a few years, you realize how indispensable it is. Its not controversial; just a bit odd looking.

The Continental Clean is another one that gets a lot of flak on the interwebs from so-called "experts". The pic above is Hafthor Bjornsson, one of the strongest men in the world, doing a continental clean. A strongman axle is much thicker than an regular barbell. So you deadlift, or really high clean pull, it with a mixed grip (one hand overhand, one hand underhand). You try to pull it to your chest or belly with your first pull. Then you flip both hands to overhand while its resting on your belly. You inch it up from there until you can clean your elbows underneath. Then you press overhead. But you see people (especially CrossFit’rs) get ridiculed for poor form and technique doing this lift. The uneducated among us are always the loudest.

The other movement that is mercilessly shamed is the kipping pull-up. For some weird reason, lots of people hate CrossFit. I think CrossFit’rs post a lot on the internet, so they are subject to public debate. But I see just as many people skateboarding, waveboarding, juggling, and yoga-in on the internet too. To be honest, I think the hate against CrossFit is the coverage it gets. They have been on ESPN when other lifting sports are rarely if even on mainstream sports channels. I think bodybuilders are the ones who dislike kipping pullups the most. Even my own brother, a former amateur competitive powerlifter, ridicules this move. But if you watch bodybuilder’s form in movements, they don’t have much to talk about. When you are only bench pressing 6 inches down and calling those reps or curling massive amounts while jerking your hips, you can’t really talk much. But there is a purpose for that too and I totally understand. I just wouldn’t call them strict movements. The truth is, CrossFit’rs didn’t invent kipping pullups. Kipping is a movement that is used beginning with pre-teen gymnasts. And you see it in high level gymnastics when they mount a low bar to get themselves high on a bar. When you talk about performance for reps, you do all you can to meet the requirements. Its not the same as when you are doing basic fitness. But the uneducated among us are oblivious to these facts.

Probably the most controversial (yes even more than kipping pullups) is the high arch while bench pressing for powerlifters. Its one that I probably won’t be doing anytime soon. But then again, I’m not a competitive powerlifter. However, it comes back to bodybuilding critiques again. A bodybuilder doing bench press has a different goal from a powerlifter. A bodybuilder is building mass in their chest, so they lift it with their back flat on the bench. A powerlifter is eeking every muscle of their body, not just their pectorals, to get the weight up. They end up using a strong leg drive and actually pulling with their latissimus dorsi when they lift. It becomes a totally different lift when it comes to performance.

For the commenters on YouTube and elsewhere; I’d think it wise to just stay in your lane. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, then leave it alone. Its usually those 20-somethings or old has-beens who haven’t touched a barbell since high school football who are the loudest. But you also hear die-hard promoters of their gym or style who are threatened by something that can take money out of their own pockets. If you decide to make a comment, at least educate yourself on a wide range of subjects. Education goes a long way.

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