Benefits of Learning & Using the Olympic Lifts in Your Fitness

When we consider weightlifting, it can be frightening because it is a totally new experience. However, if you want to tone your body, increase your stamina, and strengthen your muscles, incorporating strength training, specifically Olympic lifting, into your fitness program is a way to do this quickly and efficiently.


What is Olympic Lifting?

Olympic lifting precludes exerting maximum effort for a few bursts of rapid, precise, and intense force. Olympic weightlifting is categorized into two types of lifts: clean & jerk and snatch. Both are lifts that require a full range of motion and the goal is to use a barbell to lift the most weight at the fastest possible speed.

Clean & Jerk

It consists of two parts: the clean, which involves lifting the barbell from the floor to the shoulders, and the jerk, which involves moving the bar from the shoulders to overhead.

Snatch

The barbell is lifted from the floor to overhead in a single, continuous and explosive movement. The lifter is allowed to move their feet or squat under the barbell as they lift it before returning to a standing position.

Why Olympic Lifting?

It involves the integration of strength, power, speed, and mobility with highly technical movements performed at a rapid pace. Thus, it is more advanced than the usual powerlifting which fixates only on strength in three main lifts: the squat, bench press, and deadlift. Power lifts, while beneficial, do not offer the speed, mobility, and muscle recruitment that olympic lifting does.

 

Why should you include Olympic lifts in your fitness program? Let’s take a look at the potential benefits

  • Involve the entire range of motion. Olympic lifts are beneficial to more than just your core as they also work your back, arms, shoulders and extremely effective at assisting individuals in utilizing multiple muscle groups simultaneously because involving several large muscle groups in a short timeframe results in the highest caloric expenditure. Therefore, muscle contraction requires the formation and breakdown of ATP on a regular basis.  The energy released from the breakdown of ATP fuels skeletal muscle contraction, increasing the body’s energy requirements and increasing caloric expenditure.
  • Establish Dynamic Stability. According to a study, short-term core stability training improved dynamic balance and trunk muscle endurance in weightlifters learning Olympic lifts. Since the core is the foundation to the strength of the body and Olympic lifting involves a lot of core stability and strength, it helps to keep the body upright and gives a source of balance. 
  • Improves Endurance & Enhance Coordination. These are full-body movements that involve exact coordination, rhythm, and timing. Therefore, incorporating a snatch or a clean and jerk session into your routine will help you improve your high-intensity exercise endurance. You’ll be able to recover faster and complete more hard exercises and intense sessions as time go on. It increases an individual’s longevity by increasing their muscle threshold.
  • Increase Lean Muscle Mass. To build muscle mass, it is required to lift heavy weights with few reps as this helps the person develop the capacity to lift in a short period of time as it is a great way to decrease body fat. 

 

Olympic lifting has many huge benefits but cannot do so in isolation. Research and anecdotal evidence shows a strong correlation between the introduction of the Olympic Lifts into a fitness regime and decreased body fat and increased lean muscle mass.

At CrossFit Southpaw, our experienced coaches teach you how to perform these lifts safely and incorporate them into a well balanced fitness program that helps working professionals get in the best shape of their lives without needing to spend extra time at the gym!


Want to learn more? Contact one of our coaches today to schedule your Free Consultation and see if CrossFit can help you become your strongest, leanest, and happiest self! Click here to reach out today!

Is Boutique Fitness Right for Me?

 

If you’re ready for results it’s time to ditch the health club…

There was a time when we got all the exercise we require from our daily activities. But as hunting and gathering lead to farming and eventually the industrialized world we live in today the need for human “labor” has been nearly eradicated. Now that we work desk jobs, eat our meals from the hot bar at Whole Foods, and enjoy a generally sedentary lifestyle we are required to reintroduce this missing physical activity. For some reason, the question of how to add physical activity, or work, back into our lives is one that has proven to be puzzling, controversial, and difficult terrain to navigate.

In response to the demands of the market the fitness industry has grown tremendously, particularly in North America where an estimated $28 billion was spent in 2015. Much of this industry is dominated by health clubs and large gym franchises that offer a sampling of strength equipment, cardio machines, TV’s, massage chairs, and minimal staffing. Granted how many staff members do you need when your members don’t actually attend the club? In a study done by students at UC Berkeley found 67% of gym memberships are never used in the population they surveyed.

“If you are not going to the gym, you are actually the gym’s best customer.” -Stacey Vanek Smith, NPR

The savvy marketers at big box gyms know how to target their marketing towards individuals who won’t actually come to the facility. As humans, we often get a rush of excitement by a new fitness undertaking. “This is it, the time I actually change, no looking back,” you say. The challenge is that the health club has made zero commitment to you. They don’t care if you show up or not. Luckily there is someone out there who does.

Boutique fitness is the alternative to the traditional health club model. Boutique gyms offer specialized classes based on the expertise of the owners, teachers, or coaches. CrossFit boxes, Barre studios, Bikram yoga, parkour facilities, spin classes are all great examples of the boutique fitness model.

These communities succeed when all parts are working together; the owner, staff, and clientele all succeed when they each meet their goals. This synergistic effect leads to faster results and more satisfaction from all parties. As a client you have a team of coaches and fellow members who are all rooting for you, teaching you, and most importantly holding you accountable. Becoming fit doesn’t have to be a chore, a challenge, or a pain point. In fact, it can even be fun!

Boutique gyms have been seen rapid growth in the past decade as clients recognize that when it comes to fitness, not all gyms are created equal. Some of the most common excuses sound like:

  • “I have a hard time sticking to a routine”
  • “I’m just too busy to exercise”
  • “I get bored with going to the gym, it always feels like work”
  • “I don’t know how to lift weights/choose a routine/eat the right food”

These are great excuses, but since you’re ready to make a change it’s time to ditch the excuses and focus on RESULTS. By implementing a system that counters your excuses you’ll be left with the only option, the results that you want to achieve.

If you struggle with sticking to a routine you will benefit from the coaches, friends, and community members that you’ll meet at each class. A group of people that will ask you about your day, learn about your goals and life, and most importantly encourage you to show up consistently to your workouts.

If you claim to be too busy then you should sign up for classes ahead of time. The wide variety of classes that are available each day at time frames that are consistent with your schedule make it easy to squeeze in an hour-long workout.

If boredom is your challenge then a workout that changes every day is exactly what you need. Not only that but the different coaching styles and friends you’ll make at different times of the day make each class a totally unique experience.

If information is the enemy then relax, because that’s already been taken care of for you. Your coach has put a lot of thought into a training program that will improve your fitness and will be by your side to instruct you on form, breathing, and what weights to use. Keep an eye out for group nutrition challenges to boot!

To get the results you want sometimes you need to try a new approach. If that trip to the gym feels more daunting than Frodo walking the ring to Mordor then it’s time to see what a boutique gym has in store for you!

_____________________

If this piqued your curiosity, consider joining hundreds of others who have made the switch! Click Here to book a free 15-minute phone consultation to learn more today!