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The Benefits of Olympic Weightlifting

The Benefits of Olympic Weightlifting

Friday, November 09, 2018

In recent years, Olympic-style weightlifting appears to be not just beneficial to athletes or weight lifters but to the everyday exerciser as well. Whether you are trying to improve your sports performance, better your body composition, or just wanting a new, dynamic, full body workout, Olympic lifts are something that almost anyone can include in their exercise program. Let’s take a closer look at five of the most important benefits of including Olympic lifts into your training program.

1. Increases Power. Power is scientifically defined as the amount of force applied multiplied by the distance traveled divided by the time it takes. This is simply broken down as power being the ability to display strength with speed. The Olympic-style movements are great for enhancing this ability. Easier, simpler, compound movements such as squats and deadlifts are important foundational exercises that help build a person’s to promote power output, the power outputs of the Olympic lifts are significantly higher than those of the basic exercises. So why do you need power? Powerful movements work the fast twitch fibers of the muscle, helping you to accelerate faster and recruit more muscle fibers to do work. Overall, having power makes you more efficient.

2. Increases Jumping Ability. As stated before, performing Olympic-style movements helps to strengthen the fast twitch muscle fibers that are responsible for quick explosive movements we sometimes demand from our bodies. Jumping is one of those such movements – if you perform a jump slowly, then you are unlikely to leave the ground. Olympic lifts help by mimicking the fast contractions our bodies need to make in order to quickly move ourselves and other weight against gravity.

3. Increases Speed. While combining the above mentioned benefits 1 &2, the ability to create power and the ability to move resistance against gravity together can be referred to as starting strength. Starting strength enables us to use our muscles and bodies to create enough force or power to push off a surface and propel our bodies quickly and effectively.  As people age, they not only see an age-related decline in lean muscle mass, but they quickly see a reduction in power production and therefore starting strength. Do you want to be able to get out of a chair without using your hands and arms for help? Then it’s time to consider exercises for power and speed to increase your starting strength.

4. Improves Body Composition. Olympic lifts are becoming important key exercises in many high intensity workouts because the exercises are really effective at helping the exercisers burn fat and build lean muscle at the same time. Olympic lifts involve the usage of many different muscle groups at the same time. Engaging many large muscle groups in a short amount of time helps yield the best caloric expenditure. If you really want to burn fat, you must find metabolically taxing exercises.

5. Improves Core Strength/Stability. Just like the more basic compound movements, Olympic-style movements involve a lot of core stability and strength. As many weight lifters are aware, the core is the foundation to the strength of all the body. It helps to keep the body upright and gives a source of balance. These both are tested and trained when performing Olympic lifts due to the complex, powerful movements required as well as the angles and placement of the bar (weight). Your “core” is so much more than just your abdominals – Glutes, lower back, and obliques all are sources of core strength and stability. Olympic lifts leave no muscle untouched, as they require strict form and sequence in order to optimize power production.

Aaron Gutjahr

Manager, Move by BJC