6 Reasons You Should Train the Olympic Lifts
If you currently own a barbell then I have to give you a big pat on the back and a thumbs up – because you’ll never get bored with your workouts. A lot of people approach me with the idea that they would love to get in shape but are miserably tired from doing the same thing over and over and…..you guessed it, over again. Further exploration shows that they rely on the same old training devices – machines and “cardio” equipment that plods them through the same workout with similar movements. They mine as well wear a school uniform while working out because things become so dull.
But you own a barbell so you don’t have to worry about that. This also means that you should be doing the Olympic lifts to some degree. It offers a chance for more variety in your training, as well as the opportunity for the bodybuilder or powerlifter to add some explosiveness to their physique. A balanced physique is a happy one, that’s for sure.
You certainly don’t need to compete, but there are plenty of motives for you to start doing them. Here are six reasons you need to get your Olympic lifting on:
- Get Crazy Explosive: The Olympic Lifts can make you fast, quick, and explosive. Training for power can increase what we call rate of force development, meaning that your body learns how to use muscle fibers to make you more explosive (1). If you’re an athlete, then some form of the main lifts is essential to your game, but if you’re just the average gym rat (and I mean that in a good way) you’ll benefit from adding some power to your physique.
- Quality of Life – Balance on the training floor is essential – too much of anything is a bad thing. Bodybuilders could benefit from powerlifting, and runners would drastically improve their race time with some weightlifting. I come across a lot of people in my line of work, and while some may be lean and others are pretty strong, I’ve never come across a client with a great vertical jump and a lot of explosiveness.
- Enhance Your Toolbox- Bored with your training? Is your body aching for some different movements? Learning the O lifts allows you to learn their accessory movements. Snatch pulls, clean pulls, snatch presses and overhead squats are just some of the different moves you can learn and slowly pluck into your training programs. More variety means a happy body which in turn means a happier you!
- Gain Confidence- Want to feel like a champion? Nothing feels better than launching a weight on the floor and having it sit directly above your head. When I learned the lifts for the first time, I couldn’t imagine ever putting weight on the bar. The lifts are highly technical and things just didn’t feel right. But the more I tried, the better I became and it helped me gain confidence in and out of the gym. Plus it helps to turn the volume down on everything else in life when you’ve managed to look like a rockstar in your training.
- Get Lean – Now let me make one thing clear – the O lifts should never be used as a weight loss tool. With that being said, they are full body movements, as they incorporate a pull, hip hinge, squat, and press all in one. They’ll challenge your metabolism and hit muscle fibers you don’t normally use.
- Learn About Yourself –I’m not going to lie: the Olympic Lifts are tough to learn. It takes a lot of time to get good at them, and you’ll have your patience tested multiple times. How many times you keep trying far outweighs the times you miss a lift. There may be no better way to test your grit and determination.
So are these reasons enough for you? Don’t wait any longer! Get yourself some good lifting shoes, hire a qualified coach to teach you, and you’ll never look back!
1. Mangine, G.T. Ratamess, N.A., et al. “ The Effects of Combined Ballastic and Heavy Resistance Training on Maximal Lower and Upper Body Strength in Recreationally Trained Men.” (2008) Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 22;1, 132-140