Olympic Lifting For Fitness?


Olympic weightlifting is a highly technical sport. I have done a whole thesis only looking at the start position and I still have so much to learn about it. There are heaps of papers out there exploring the technical aspects of the lifts (but still insufficient studies to help elevate the sport).

However, many sports use these lifts in training and some trainers or strength & conditioning specialists use them to train their clients or athletes. However, many never consider whether they are doing the right thing or not. Yes it's true that you do not need to be good at a sport to coach it. But if you do not understand the fine details or even have that experience of lifting, how are you going to impart the same knowledge that you claimed taught you the lifts and that you actually possess to the people you train?

So, if you are a trainer, make sure you understand the movements you are prescribing to your clients because if you do not understand what the movement involves then they probably won't as well.

There was once an incident where I saw that the instructor at a commercial gym (no names mentioned) taught his client to do a snatch with horrendous technique. This is a recipe for disaster from a strength & conditioning point of view. Chances are the trainer himself has no idea how to perform the lift.

Another incident was on YouTube where I saw this guy performing a Crossfit wod (Grace - 30 Clean&Jerks for time). Moment he started the workout, I had tingles down my spine. The entire pulling movement came from his lumbar region when technically, you should be using your legs to initial the movement. Instead of being impressed, I ended up being concerned because there is so much talk about being particularly about technique in performing the Crossfit workouts but using Olympic lifts and performing them like that simply paints another picture of what Crossfit actually stands for.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g99ax-omKJI&w=425&h=349]

Here's the video for your pleasure/displeasure.

So that's why here at the Training Geek, I make sure that technique for any exercise is always emphasized before pushing yourself in your workouts. Only like that then you can gain the full benefits of the exercise. And for the trainers out there, think otherwise before you prescribe the Olympic Lifts to your clients. Do it as a favour for yourself.

Disclaimer: I am not claiming that I have the best technique or anything of that sort as I am always learning more about improving my lifts. But seeing a few incidents involving Olympic lifts have fired me up to speak about using the sport I train in to its full benefit and not making it detrimental to training.

Stay Strong and Keep Moving,

The Training Geek.