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

Astrid Billfalk-Kelly

Personal Strength Training by Thomas King

I wanted to add strength training to my cardio, but have always felt gyms to be a bit intimidating, and was worried I would hurt myself without some supervision and help. JKC was highly recommended by several work colleagues. Thomas and Jon are both fantastic, making sure that everyone gets a highly personalized work out in a very supportive environment. The attention to detail and professionalism are second to none. The groups are very small, but very supportive and make the workouts even more fun. Since getting pregnant (36 weeks as I write this) I’m so happy that they continue to help me get stronger while always being safe.

trap bar deadlift

A few of my wonderful friends and colleagues recommended JKC. I was told by one colleague that “It’ll be the best thing you ever do for yourself” and she was right! To be honest, I didn’t have much experience in any gym setting. And NO prior weight training experience. It was always so overwhelming! But from the first day, nothing was intimidating about JKC. Each workout is set up just for me, and with my specific skills and goals in mind. There are no stupid questions, you learn as you go, and what I really love, I always feel included and important, regardless of my skills/experience.

lisa jumping onto a box

JKC was recommended to me by a fellow runner. I was experiencing injuries, and feeling weak and fragile. When I started with JKC, Jon asked me about my goals and my focus. I wanted to concentrate specifically on running, and preventing injury. Jon developed a program for me that has enabled me to focus on my form and strength and has been flexible enough to enable me to train for many different races. I have been training with JKC for six years, and during that time I have enjoyed Jon and Thomas’s expertise in a very warm and supportive atmosphere.

Courtney Sharpe

Nutritional Coaching by Julia Howard

For the past two months I have worked with the JKC team and have never felt better! In addition to a personal fitness plan, JKC’s holistic nutritionist, Julia, worked with me and around my busy schedule to educate me on healthier food options and meal planning. I maintain a daily food log which Julia reviews and provides feedback on and we also have weekly chats to discuss my nutritional goals and potential improvement areas. Julia also helped me to identify and work around dietary constraints which have caused digestion issues for years!

Julia and the rest of the JKC family have helped me get my confidence back! I love starting my days with a good sweat and a healthy breakfast. I understand what foods make me feel my best and my body is well on its way to becoming more lean, fit and happy! I would totally recommend Julia and the entire JKC team!

I had been struggling with work-life balance resulting in not exercising or playing hockey as much as I had been doing in the past. In addition to being out of shape, I was starting to experience some back/shoulder issues and realized I needed to make some changes. Around this time, a friend (who was also a client) recommended JKC and that’s when I started!

You really feel part of a community where everyone is welcoming and supportive. You get a program that is designed specifically to achieve your goals, with the ongoing coaching, progress tracking and support required to achieve them. The JKC team are very knowledgeable about fitness and conditioning, and very engaging with everyone to answer questions or discuss anything and everything training related. I also like the flexible scheduling and gym times that work for my schedule (I like early mornings and evenings).

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