Olympic weightlifting includes the clean and jerk, and the snatch. Clean and Jerk? This is supposed to be a health and fitness site, so why are you talking about cleaning a carpet…car…err…house…scraggly
beard? and the jerking part? A clean and jerk has nothing to do with good grooming or disinfecting anything…or whatever else you might imagine. It’s just a style of lifting. The movements are explosive compared to regular strength or bodybuilding movements. There are elements of the squat, deadlift, shoulder press and lunges, depending on how you do them. The speed and explosive power required to perform these exercises, is what separates it from regular strength and bodybuilding movements. Now you can perform the cleans separately (many variations) or include the jerk (press) to do the whole exercise. So, what are the benefits Olympic weight training compared to deadlifts and other less dynamic strength and weight lifting exercises? I though you’d never ask.
Improves athletic ability It can help your vertical jump. Good news for short people with tall hoop dreams. Maybe short men can jump. According to research on high school kids, subjects that trained in Olympic lifting (power clean, snatch, clean pulls) were able to increase their vertical jump, more so, than subjects that did power-lifting . Similar benefits were found in other research [2, 3, 4]. It does make sense, since Olympic training has squatting, as a part of the exercise. The squat motion is very explosive, just like the movement required for a vertical jump. In a 2014 study of rugby players, comparisons were made between those that did back squats and those that performed the power cleans, in terms of sprint performance. It was found that whilst there was improvement in sprint times for both groups, the power clean group posted better sprint times . There is more research out there that shows that Olympic lifting helps with vertical jump and improved sprinting time. I would imagine that it could also be valuable for martial artists/mma fighters due to the explosive power developed from the exercises.
Better Cardiovascular health Yes sir. Increased VO2 max, decreased resting blood pressure and lower resting heart rates are all benefits to be expected from Olympic style weight training . Try doing a set of 5 clean and jerks or snatches, or just cleans and tell me how you feel after. I bet it works you harder than running on a treadmill.
All round strength improvement These lifts work every muscle in your body. Think about it, your’re squatting, deadlifting, performing an overhead press and possibly lunging, depending on the variation of the exercises. Everything gets a workout. So you can expect to see an overall improvement in strength. Plus since you’re doing multiple exercises in a single movement, you can definitely have a complete workout in a shorter space of time. In and out of the gym with no fuss. Ideal for people with busy schedules.
Improved coordination This goes without saying. Performing Olympic lifts require more coordination than regular weight training. This is due to need to have the upper and lower body working at the same time doing different movements in an explosive manner. Form of technique is extremely important to prevent injury. Training these lifts automatically trains your coordination and will have a carry over effect to other sports. The downside is that they are complex movements and if you don’t know what you’re doing or have a coach to teach you the movements, it’s pretty easy to screw up and injure yourself.
How to do Olympic Lifts
Let’s start with the snatch. I could put it in words, but I think a video illustrates the exercise much better. Besides, I know you prefer to watch a video, rather than read any more of my scribblings.
Summary Olympic lifts are a great addition to your workout regimen. They work every damn thing. Look at the videos again if you doubt me. They could potentially cut your gym time down significantly due to the multi- bodypart workout. So you don’t necessarily have to do isolation exercises wotking one or two body parts at a time. Perfect for people with a busy schedule. But. if you’re gonna do them, I cannot emphasize working your technique enough. Find someone who knows how to do these exercises and have them coach you if necessary. If not study the hell out of the videos and practice the movements in front of a mirror without weight, then jus the bar and finally light weights to make sure your form is perfect. It’s is easy to mess up, but with a little practice, you will get them.