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 started strength training at JKC in the Spring of 2021. I am in my 60’s but happy to say I feel much younger since joining this gym. I joined JKC upon the advice of a doctor. I went through some difficult medical issues last year, that’s when one of my doctors recommended strength training at JKC. I have been physically active most of my adult life but mainly running and completed many road races as I am a distance runner. Strength training has definitely benefited me by increasing my stamina and energy. It sure has enhanced my recovery over the past year. I have the added benefit of becoming a stronger runner as well.

I am 62 years young and I started training with Jon in 2013. I originally came to join JKC as a recommendation from other family members that were onboard with Jon. Their enthusiasm for the gym experience was quite evident.  I was not to be outdone, so I decided to join as well. JKC, in my mind, certainly stands out from the crowd. I feel it’s a combination of the skill and passion the coaches have for their job and their clients. Each client is treated with the upmost respect and given time to explore their fitness journey without any pressure. JKC is certainly not a cookie cutter gym.The coaches customize your fitness program to suit your needs and your fitness level. This certainly makes sense because no two clients are alike.  This is where JKC excels! Jon, Thomas, and Craig keep the atmosphere at the gym light, but productive. A great combination that obviously works and makes the clients want to come back. Lastly, the camaraderie at the gym is everything. Meeting likeminded people who make you feel you are not alone in your fitness journey is everything.

I had signed up for other gyms in the past and never went or rarely went. Something always got in the way or I was just too tired and lacked motivation to go. This way I’ve made a commitment to Jon or Thomas and I try very hard to keep my sessions once I’ve booked in. JKC is different from other gyms that I’ve tried in the past because no one is there to be “seen”. We are all there to get a good workout in and go on with our lives. And it’s a small gym so you get to know everyone and it’s like a big family. When I joined JKC, I couldn’t do a chin up with an elastic band, but I’ve slowly worked up to 10 free hanging chin ups. That was big because I hate chin ups.

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’ve been weight training on and off for years but never really had a specific goal or target in mind so routinely stalled out, plateaued or stopped training all together. Before I joined JKC I was definitely in a fitness slump and needed something to motivate me and get me back on track. I did a bit of digging online, looking at various personal training options and gyms around town but JKC seemed like the best option by far. I’ve tried big box gyms and other personal trainers in the past but none of them have had the perfect combination of goal specific fitness programming, welcoming and supportive environment, and the knowledge and passion to back it all up that you’ll find at JKC. Jon and Thomas are great to work with, they know how to motivate you if you’re having an off day and are well versed in all the different ways to make your muscles burn! I also have noticed some major improvements in my deadlifts since I started with JKC and was really happy with the result.

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