overhead squat jon
Olympic lifting (the clean and jerk and the snatch) are valuable training methods for increasing full body power. The ability to recruit high-threshold motor units or type II muscle fibers (fast twitch fibers) means you’ll be able to produce more force in a shorter amount of time, be able to sprint and accelerate faster and be overall, stronger and more athletic.

Sounds like perfect traits for any athlete to have and want. However, some shy way from O-lifting for fears of injuring themselves or their athletes or that they are too difficult to learn. Rightfully-so though as these lifts are very technical in that each movement executed in either the clean and jerk or the snatch has to be performed in the correct sequence with the correct timing. If proper technical and learning progressions are applied and loads are not excessive, O-lifting can be safe, fun and as noted above, very beneficial to athletic performance.

The list of benefits of incorporating O-lifting into your training is long, but here are 3 benefits you may not have thought of.
 

1) Core Stability Development

 
The core stability craze has people in a friendzy wanting to work their core in every workout. Well, it may surprise some to hear that improving core stability doesn’t just have to include plank variations. “A strong core is necessary to maintain the torso position from the ground up through the first and second pull” writes Wil Flemming in Complete Olympic Lifting.The inability to maintain a stable torso during the clean or snatch serves as an energy leak and to an inefficient pull. In the clean for example, because the weight is in front of you from the ground until the bar is received on your shoulders, your torso wants to flex forward, thus the clean can be viewed as an anti-flexion core exercise. Flemming likes to use the cue “lock down the lats” to aid in stiffening the torso prior to initiating the pull (from the floor or hang). Lastly, stabilizing heavy weight above your head (not just a weight you can press overhead, but a weight heavy enough to require explosive power to get it up there) requires a tremendous amount of core and full body stabilization.
 

2) Single Leg Strength Development

 
The split position in the split jerk (following the clean in “clean and jerk”) “requires great stability in the lead leg, similar to the striking of the foot to the ground while in sprinting” says Flemming. The fact that a heavy load is held above the head in this split position compounds the strength and stability challenged in the lead leg and also in the hips and trunk.
 

3) Shoulder Stability Development

 
Supporting a heavy weight overhead, such as after the jerk or when receiving the bar in the snatch develops “intrinsic shoulder strength” and a great deal of shoulder stability, says Flemming. With the shoulders packed into the body, the dynamic stability function of the rotator cuff and all the supporting musculature around the shoulder and scapulothoracic joint have to create a stable platform so the bar can be balanced in the correct position overhead.
 

*****

 
COLwebimageIf you enjoyed this post, you will really enjoy Wil Flemming’s new product Complete Olympic Lifting. I had the pleasure of receiving a review copy a couple weeks ago and to be honest, I was blown away. It’s an electronic manual (PDF) with a real (yeah, real, not just YouTube videos) DVD.

I own a ton of electronic fitness products and this product from Wil is at the top of the list when it comes to production value. The graphics, photos and layout are amazing and a pleasure to the eyes. Yes, I just said pleasure to the eyes. The information is also top notch but that’s no surprise because of all the quality content Wil contributes to T-Nation.

Coaches and trainees will both benefit from this great resource. Wil also has several sample programs for all abilities. I strongly encourage all trainees learn how to O-lift from actual coaching sessions (one-on-one or in a small group and hands on) but this manual and DVD will act as a great resource for you years down the road. At least, it will for me.

Click HERE if you’re inserted in finding out more about Complete Olympic Lifting.

That’s a wrap.

Please leave your comments below and please share this article with others if you think they’ll find it useful.

-JK

I’m 43 and started at JKC just over a year ago. I started at JKC because of multiple recommendations from existing clients. There are 2 main elements that distinguish JKC for me. Firstly the sense of community. I’ve been to multiple gyms in multiple cities/countries, you just  can not manufacture the sense of community and support you get from other gym goers and the team. It’s very motivating and happy to say I’ve made some friends at JKC.

The other major distinguishing factor for JKC is the expertise and passion of the team. Jon, Thomas and Craig craft highly personalized programs based on my fitness goals and know how to push me best without being pushy. They pay close attention to ensuring my form is solid before encouraging me to take on more weight for the exercise. Plain and simple they love what they do and it shows.

I have never previously seen the passion and level of care that Jon and Thomas bring to everyone who works out at JKC. Their knowledge, insight and skills are extraordinary, and they work with everyone individually to ensure the best possible results. The attention to detail and to every person’s specific requirements and goals, and the incredible, constant encouragement they provide, is, in my opinion, what truly distinguishes JKC from any other program in which I’ve participated. I am extremely pleased with the progress I’ve achieved thus far, and it’s largely attributable to Jon and Thomas and the approach they take to training and working with people.

I recently turned 40, and I have been training at JKC since the summer of 2020. My partner Michael had already been training at JKC, so it came highly recommended. We had set up a home gym at the start of the pandemic, but needed to mix it up after the first lockdown. JKC differs from other gyms because of the personalized workouts. Jon, Thomas and Craig are great at challenging me to do more than I would on my own.

I heard really good things about it from my sister, and I could see the positive results she was getting.  I needed to do something.  I was overweight, depressed, and recovering from a back injury.  I had reached a point where simply getting up out of a chair was becoming difficult.  I knew that if I didn’t do something about it my senior years would be very burdensome to the people close to me.  I’m so glad I did!  After just a few weeks my day-to-day pain was drastically reduced, and my mobility increased. I had the confidence to try sea kayaking, and I now play ice hockey twice a week!

The key difference is the expertise.  The trainers know the gym equipment and the exercises, but they also have degrees in kinesiology, and can apply what they know to your workout.  As someone who was in poor physical condition starting out, I was worried about hurting myself.  Previously I tried an outdoor weekly bootcamp and injured my knee by pushing too hard.  The trainers at JKC constructed a program that started at the right level for me, evolving it as I grew stronger and more fit.  I feel well looked after.

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