How To Improve Your Strength With Olympic Lifts

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Personal/Fitness Training Blog

Olympic weightlifting is not something which people naturally pick up and find fantastic success at on a frequent basis. While it is true that some people who are gifted at Olympic lifts may transition/get started quite easily into the formal competition lifts (snatch as well as clean and jerk), the harsh reality is most beginners and newcomers (in addition to lifters who have been training however have not continue to progress past the first surge of success) may not be doing everything they should to truly advanced one’s Olympic lifting.

The Clean And Jerk Is Perhaps The Most Recognisable Olympic Lift Of All

The barbell begins on the floor in front of the athlete. The Olympic lifter will then utilise an overhand grip in order to grasp the barbell. The lifter will then lift the barbell in a jerking fashion, while making use of the legs and straight back in order to move the weight forward, up and then on to your chest or shoulders.

Finally, the ending position is with the barbell to be lifted over your head and kept there for two seconds without the Olympic lifter moving. This move is also known as the military press as armies use it in order to test their soldier’s capabilities to lift as well as move equipment and supplies.

The shoulders, knees and legs will make use of explosive movements in order to shift the barbell upward in two motions. You are able to utilise your torso to ‘catch’ the barbell prior to the final press. It’s very important that you have a strong back, particularly your spinal erector muscles along the spine. To train this lift, you should utilise an empty barbell and focus on the movement and then slowly add weight. Focus on form and your breathing.

For those practising the Clean + Jerk, there are two main issues to conquer:

  1. Having skilled technique regardless of the weight on the bar, and
  2. Acquiring the highest 1RM possible.

Much attention is given to method, as well it should be, however we frequently don’t discuss what exercises are best utilised to actually build strength in the Clean + Jerk.

There is always the clear. “You want to be better at the Clean + Jerk? Well, then do more Clean + Jerk!” Of course, that’s true. However, what ELSE is there? There are some fitness coaches and athletes out there who feel they should max out every day. To me, however, testing your personal record (aka “P.R.”) often isn’t the answer. It may help for a limited time but will ultimately lead to overtraining, fatigue and injury.

Squat With Integrity

Many Olympic lifters prioritise squatting strength and justly so. Weightlifting puts a high demand on an athlete’s maximal strength, in particular the high bar back squat. Many Olympic lifters, however, may choose to sacrifice integrity in the squat (so allowing a less vertical torso and hips shooting up out of bottom) so that they almost do a hybrid low bar/good morning/whatever else will shift more weight (same is true for the front squat).

Squatting in weightlifting should be made use of in order to increase one’s clean, and jerk as it is the ultimate strength movement in order to build a stronger, more forceful base. Without squatting using the same mechanics required to have a direct correlation to the lifts, your weightlifting (clean and jerk) performance may stay stagnant even though your squat numbers go up. Bottom line, squat with integrity, then add load.

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