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.
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!
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