What are the benefits of learning Olympic weightlifting?
Olympic weightlifting is not just beneficial to athletes or weight lifters but also a great weapon to include in your everyday workouts as well. Whether you are trying to improve your performance, improve your body composition, or just wanting a new type of training, Olympic weight lifts are something that almost anyone can include in their WOD.
We Olympic lift because they are the two movements which encompass the highest combination of the 10 physical skills and physiological attributes in one expression of movement (which we want to possess on our journey to reaching our true athletic potential).
Every day that you Olympic lift you are expressing your ability to maintain a higher quality of physical fitness and therefore quality of life.
Whilst the biggest reasons for olympic weightlifting lifting should be for enjoyment, performance and to reach a sense of accomplishment, check out some of the benefits you may not have thought of.
- Transforms your physique:
Performing a snatch or a clean and jerk are full-body movements that require a lot of moving parts.
Your body requires energy to keep these things moving and the more intensity you add, the more energy you’ll require.
Compare a snatch to a bicep curl and you can see how much more effort is required.
You’re using your legs, glutes, back, abs, shoulders and arms all at the same time which means you’re becoming a caloric furnace.
If you don’t believe us, give it a try.
- Protects you against illness and injury
Your physique isn’t the only beneficiary of weight lifting and ideally, once you’re feeling great in your own skin, it won’t be the focus either.
Your body works better the more that you use it.
By training, your body becomes more effective and efficient at ticking over metabolic processes.
Whilst most people associate stronger and bigger muscles with lifting, the rest of your connective tissue also benefits. Your tendons and ligaments are crucial in your performance, but also your injury prevention also.
The idea is for your soft tissue to be “long and strong, rather than short and weak” so it can produce more work at higher intensities and lower risks of injuries.
The most common reason people lose their mobility and ability to keep moving into their 50’s and 60’s is because of their musculoskeletal injuries.
By learning how to lift, you’ll not only enjoy your movement more, you’ll enjoy it for longer.
- Improves strength
Strength and stability go hand in hand.
The stronger you are, the more you can do and the harder you are to kill.
As your ability to produce force goes up, so too does your work capacity. If your 1 rep max is 200kg, then everything less than that becomes ‘sub-maximal’ and therefore can be repeated.
If you’re weak and can’t produce raw force, then relatively speaking, your entire life will feel relatively harder than if you were stronger.
The longer you can maintain this strength, the more work capacity you will have and the longer you’ll have it for.
- Improves range of motion
Sometimes people associate lifting heavy weights with being stiff and bulky, however, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
It is not the muscle mass itself that makes you stiff and bulky, it is the way that you train your muscles to work and the stimulus they are provided.
Olympic lifters are some of the most flexible and mobile athletes in the world due to the demands of the sport.
By forcing yourself into deep range positions, you will ultimately see adaptations that correlate.
Your muscles respond to the stimulus they are provided.
Much like you’ll end up with a rounded back and a closed, inflexible upper body if you sit at a desk all day, if you spend more time in deep squat positions, then you’ll be blessed with great ankle, knee and hip range too.
Your body is has a phenomenon called “neuro-muscular plasticity’, which means that it will mould and adapt to the positions that you spend the most time in”
In fact, lifting weights in the right way is directly related to increased strength, speed and power and will therefore make you faster, not slower.
Muscle mass is functional.
Fat mass is non functional.
- Improves skill acquisition
Whilst you may think Olympic lifting is too hard and unnecessary for the general population, it’s not.
Unless you’re fine with lacking the ability to combine multiple physiological adaptations simultaneously and missing out on a bunch of physical preparedness that will enhance your life.
Everyday you Olympic lift, you are moving the needle towards fitness and away from decrepitude.
You can get through life without it, but we don’t live to be mediocre.
Step outside of your comfort zone and learn something new.
You will more than likely suck for the first few months or years, (we all have and do) but sucking at something new is the first step to becoming epic and expanding your potential.
Remember: Every day that you Olympic lift you are expressing your ability to maintain a higher quality of physical fitness and therefore quality of life.