Incorporating Olympic Lifts into Your Training

There are two Olympic lifts – the clean and jerk & the snatch. In short, they are the two ways you can lift the most weight off of the ground and put it over your head. Why should you incorporate them into your training program? Let’s start with the general benefits.
• Triple Extension – teaches you to utilize the muscles of the hip, knee, and ankle joints in a coordinated effort
• Compound, Multi-joint Movements – by know, you know that BucksFit prefers compound movements and designs programs around those exercises
• Develops the pulling musculature, too often athletes are relatively over developed in their pushing muscles compared to the pulling muscles.
• Develops hamstring and glute strength – strong hamstrings and glutes are inversely correlated to ACL injuries
• Develops lower body power. As measured by the vertical jump, Olympic lifts do a great job making athletes more powerful
• Increased Bone Density – Due to the heavy loads, athletes who regularly do the Olympic lifts have a higher bone mineral density (BMD) than athletes who don’t do the Olympic Lifts.
• Increased Core Strength – both of the Olympic lifts require intense stabilization of the torso, training the abdominals to do what they are primarily meant to do. Stabilize the spine.

There are a few downsides to these movements, but if the athlete takes his time and listens to his body all of the downsides can be circumvented. First, they are skilled movements. It takes some practice to learn the lifts. We recommend slowly incorporating a few sets of Olympic lifts with just PVC pipe or the unloaded bar in between your warm-up and your other strength training until you become proficient at the movements.
Secondly, some critics will tell you the lifts are dangerous. They will cite breakdowns in technique in exchange for greater loads. If you focus on technique as opposed to weight lifted, you won’t have any safety issues. Remember we are using the Olympic lifts to train athletes; we aren’t competing in Olympic lifting*.
If you are interested in becoming a stronger, more powerful, overall fitter athlete, seriously consider adding the Clean and Jerk, Snatch and their variations into your training program.


*Competitive weightlifting is a noteworthy pursuit but an acceptable competition lift, may not always meet our strict training standards in terms of technique.