A large part of our training methods involve Olympic weightlifting. The Snatch and the Clean and Jerk are the two lifts performed in Olympic weightlifting competitions. Not every athlete needs to learn the full movements that are used in competition, but it is the components of the lifts that are invaluable to sport. Teaching these movements in a controlled environment and utilizing weights that emphasize speed and technique are the best way to increase an athlete’s speed strength and neuromuscular coordination. Every athlete can benefit from being faster and stronger, and the Olympic lifts teach the body how to produce maximum force when the body demands it.
Arthur Dreshler, MSS, author of, The Weightlifting Encyclopedia, eloquently describes the benefits of Olympic lifting and its derivatives for athletes.
1) Olympic lifts teach an athlete how to explode (to activate a maximum number of motor units rapidly and simultaneously).
2) Olympic lifts teach the ability to apply force with his or her muscle groups in the proper sequence (i.e., from the center of the body to the extremities). This is a valuable technical lesson for any athlete who needs to impart force to another person or object.
3) Olympic lifts teach how to accelerate objects (including other people) under varying degrees of resistance.
4) Olympic lifts teach how to effectively receive forces from another moving body.
5) The actual movements performed while executing the Olympic lifts are among the most common and fundamental in sport.
6) The Olympic lifts are commonly used to measure an athlete’s force output capabilities.