Benefits of Olympic Lifting
Olympic lifting is a form of training that has existed for a significantly long time and focuses on the precise execution of the clean and jerk and snatch. The benefits of resistance training and more specifically Olympic lifting are being more commonly recognised for a number of reasons and are frequently being utilised to improve athletic performance in a variety of sports.
Olympic lifting is unique in the sense that it creates significantly higher levels of neurological and muscular adaptation compared to general weight training due to power output development and increased velocity. Furthermore, training in this way improves all facets of skill development including strength, flexibility, power, speed, balance and coordination.
Some of the primary benefits of Olympic lifting are mentioned as follows:
As mentioned above Olympic lifting significantly increases power output and enables athletes to develop speed at a more rapid rate. Whilst squats and dead lifts may be useful for strength development, cleans and snatches are ideal for improving explosiveness which is beneficial for team sports such a rugby or individual sports such as sprinting.
Increased jumping ability
Several studies published in the journal of strength and conditioning clearly indicate that regularly performing Olympic lifts improves vertical jump height in physically active individuals and in comparison to power lifters.
Increased sprinting speed
Olympic lifting has been show to improve starting strength among athletes (starting strength is one’s ability to initiate movement and overcome resistance). An example of starting strength is the dip an athlete performs prior to completing a jerk. This directly correlates to a sprinter commencing a race and is therefore sport specific and transferrable.
Improved body composition
Regular training of Olympic lifts aids in the development of lean muscle and promotes muscle hypertrophy. The greater the muscle mass, the greater ones resting metabolic rate which in turn can reduce the presence of adipose (fat) tissue.
Olympic Lifting and Injury
The performance of such complex movements can at times lead to injury. This is common amongst amateurs due to poor technique or progression of weight prior to mastering form under a lighter load. It is also prevalent in elite athletes and may occur due to fatigue or overtraining/overuse.
As a general rule one must question why the injury occurred and this is where we can help you. At Lambton physiotherapy we will seek to do the following:
- Observe execution of lifts
- Identify any technical faults
- Provide relevant cues or strategies to improve technique
- Identify any muscle imbalances
- Provide relevant strengthening exercises to assist with developing equal strength among both sides
Another key component of Olympic lifting is the relationship between core engagement and stability through the proximal portion of the extremities. Weakness and latent activation of the muscles that stabilise the trunk can be made apparent when observing both Olympic and power lifts and in most instances has a flow on affect to the extremities. Inability to appropriately engage the core can lead to the development of poor muscle recruitment patterns which translate directly into every day functional movements such as squatting. Furthermore weak pelvic stabilisers and weak scapula stabilisers can also make one more susceptible to injury whilst performing high velocity complex movements such as the snatch and clean and jerk.
As physio’s it is our goal to encourage and teach correct movement patterns and address any areas that may be lacking due to strength discrepancies, muscle overactivity, reduced muscle length, reduced mobility or poor positional sense.
Other sports medicine and sports physiotherpy services we provide: