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The Benefits of the Olympic Lifts

-by Clark Hibbs

Currently at Yellow Rose, our members are in the throws of a really awesome Olympic Weightlifting cycle. The goal of this cycle is to not only improve the actual lifts, but for our members to also see improvements in other areas of their fitness from these lifts.

What are the benefits of the Olympic Lifts? Why do we train them? Do we even NEED to train them?

Firstly, what exactly are the Olympic lifts?

The Olympic lifts are the weightlifting movements that are performed in the Olympics. These are the snatch, and the clean & jerk. There are many variations or segments of these lifts that can commonly be considered Olympic lifts (power clean, hang snatch, etc etc) but the only true Olympic lifts are the ones that would be performed in competition.

These lifts have a number of benefits that can be both directly felt in the weight room, but also indirectly felt in your everyday life. There are a myriad of benefits for professional athletes to be performing these, but there are also plenty of benefits for normal everyday people to perform them as well!

In no particular order of importance…

Improved Full Body Strength

When working the snatch or clean and jerk (or any variation), it is a full body effort. Truly the only large muscle group that might not be as utilized are your pectorals, but even then they play a large role in overhead pressing and stabilization. With your entire body experiencing that time under tension, you can get a lot of bang for your buck with the Olympic lifts.

Improved Coordination

Because of the full-body demand of these lifts, continually training and refining the Olympic lifts will actually help your coordination and body awareness.

Improved Durability and Protection From Injury

The Olympic lifts have a large range of motion (ROM) which requires a large demand on your body. By continuing to work through these large ranges of motion, we can continually improve muscular function throughout these otherwise compromising positions. In addition to the muscular benefits, the Olympic lifts help train our flexibility and stability across all of the main joints (hips, knees, ankles, and shoulders). With the proper loading and watchful eyes of a coach, the Olympic lifts can help you get rid of aches and nagging pains.

Improved Capacity and Power Output

The barbell is a highly ergonomic mechanism to help you lift loads that are far greater than what you would normally run into in your everyday life. However… after training at these higher loads, even the heavier objects in life will seem easy. A 35lb bag of dog food is nothing compared to a 95lb power clean. Your twenty pound toddler wants you to throw them in the air? That’s pretty simple after you’ve performed some split jerks with 75+ pounds on the bar!

They are FUN

These movements are fun, empowering, and exciting. They’re a really great way to keep your training interesting, and to keep you excited about working out. If you’ve been struggling with motivation for your fitness, we highly recommend getting into some of our classes to experience the Olympic lifts!

If you do want to experience the benefits of the Olympic lifts under the watchful eyes of some world class coaches, come and see us! Email [email protected] and we’ll get you all set up for your No Sweat Intro, and into the last fitness program you’ll ever need to start.

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