Book Review: "Olympic Weightlifting for Sports" by Greg Everett
Compared to his first book, Greg Everett's newest book, Olympic Weightlifting for Sports, is much less of a tome. And, as it turns out, this was very intentional. Greg's first book, Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches, comes in at a hefty 423 8.5" x 11" pages. In contrast the new book is 104 6" x 9" pages. One might be led to wonder why to buy the new book and if it's just a pared down version of the first book. When I asked Greg why someone should buy the new book, here is what he explained:
What I’ve realized over the last couple years about that [first] book is for many people it’s overwhelming; it’s too much information. In particular for athletes who have no intention to be weightlifters, who certainly don’t want to compete - these are your football players, or your throwers - people who could very much benefit from learning the lifts and using the lifts.
And so that’s the whole point of the new book, is how can I present all the necessary information in as concise a manner as possible, where anyone can pick the book up and immediately put the information to use; learn how to power clean, power snatch, whatever variation they want to use right up to the full lifts, and then learn how to integrate that into their training for whatever sport? Really, the simple way to put it is the original book is complicated and high-skill and the second book is the streamlined, simple, straightforward version.
Olympic Weightlifting for Sports can be broken down into a few sections: fundamental lift mechanics, teaching progressions, program design, and flexibility practice. The book begins with a definition of terms and an explanation of why the Olympic lifts are good for athletes not intending to compete in weightlifting. Guidelines are provided for evaluating an athlete in terms of physical abilities, flexibility, and goals in the context of their given sport.
The meat of the book is in the explanation of the Olympic lifts, other related lifts, and technique drills. Greg gives precise explanations of the exact body positions, what to look for, and what to avoid. Greg explains how to break down the movements and what the intention is behind each of the various drills. And there are a great number of drills to work all aspects of the lifts.
All the drills and lifts are illustrated with numerous photos. Though the photos are black and white, they are clear in detail. Each lift also has the basics broken out into a side summary box for easy reference.
Throughout the book safety is stressed repeatedly. Given that the athletes and coaches the book is intended for are not involved in competitive weightlifting, Greg is emphatic that they be kept safe and injury free for their sport. There is even a section about how to lower the barbell when doing sets of multiple reps.
In the program design section, Greg also offers substitute exercises if the classic lifts are deemed inappropriate for an athlete. He also gives sample programs, outlining what a week might look like and what a twelve-week program might look like.
Finally Greg ends the book with an indepth section on flexibility. Increased flexibility is one of the benefits of Olympic weightlifting, but it can also be a frustrating challenge for those new to the sport. Greg breaks it down by body part and also gives suggestions on how to work flexibility and mobility training into an athlete's schedule.
As someone who has coached Olympic weightlifting and trained with a variety of Olympic lifting coaches, I can say this book is an incredibly detailed and useful resource. If you are a trainer, most of your clients will never be competitive lifters and, if you are an athlete, most of you out there reading this probably have other sports you are pursuing. As such, this book would be an excellent read and provide you with much needed information on how the Olympic lifts can help make you or your client a better athlete.
"Olympic Weightlifting for Sports" is available for $19.95 from CatalystAthletics.com.
Want to train like Greg's athletes? Follow his three weeks of free workouts.