I’ve heard people say “I’m never going to compete in the Olympic Games, why should I bother using Olympic movements when I work out?” There is no question that Olympic lifters are the strongest athletes on the planet. So by borrowing some of their techniques, and filtering these lifts systematically into our program, we can also get stronger, faster and become more accurate. There are 2 Olympic lifts; the snatch, and the clean and jerk.
First, practicing the Olympic lifts teaches us how to “explode”, or propel ourselves in a desired direction. For example, if you are playing an on field sport and you suddenly want to change direction to make a play or be in a better position, it helps us react explosively. These movements will help you reposition yourself as quickly as possible and therefore increase your sport specific skills. In addition to being able to generate this type of force, we also become conditioned to receiving similar external forces. This is extremely helpful in contact sports, combat, and other physical situations like carrying objects.
There are countless other benefits from Olympic lifting, and I’ll touch on them in future posts. Sadly, I’ve never seen any Olympic lifting in the typical “gym scene”. It is thanks to CrossFit that these movements have become more mainstream and many more people are now able to benefit from them.