Olympic Lifting For Athletes – Made EASY!
By: Patrick Beith
Strength training and power training are critical components to the success of any athlete competing in sports that rely on speed and power for success. More specifically, the proper use of the Olympic lifts (the snatch, clean and their variations) facilitate improvements across a variety of modalities. When learned and executed correctly, Olympic Lifts increase and improve strength, power, speed, coordination, balance, flexibility, as well as overall conditioning. As a coach, you understand the role that all of these functions play in developing competitive and successful athletes.
However, the Olympic Lifts require extreme focus on the part of both the coach and the athlete in order to take advantage of the many benefits that these movements provide. If these lifts are not performed correctly, athletes drastically increase the likelihood of sustaining potentially serious injuries. For this reason, if athletes have not learned the correct way to perform the exercises they should not attempt to execute the exercise at all.
Fortunately, the Olympic Lifts can be taught and learned easily by following progressions. During instruction, each lift should be broken down into simple movements that athletes should master before progressing to more complex movements. With the number of exercises available, athletes of every level will be able to quickly learn and execute the movements. Therefore, you will be able to improve the efficiency and explosiveness of your athletes the very next time you step into the weight room.
When learning any Olympic Lift, it is critical that emphasis is placed on learning proper, explosive technique by using light weights. Most of the time, athletes employ the ‘more is better’ philosophy, thinking they will see greater benefits by using as much weight as possible. This will only lead to injury. Our goal is to increase power output and that comes from moving the weight quickly. If the weight is heavy, the weight will move slowly, the athletes’ technique will suffer and injury potential is increased. Mastery of technique must be emphasized in order to reap the full benefits of these exercises.
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