3 Reasons Student-Athletes Need Olympic Weightlifting

3 Reasons Student-Athletes Need Olympic Weightlifting

Find out why college athletes should train with us!

Student-athletes and their parents dream of college scholarships. Whether you’re an athlete, a parent, or a varsity coach, you can benefit from understanding what it takes for high school athletes to become collegiate athletes. In most cases, top athletes – the ones who achieve football scholarships or wrestling scholarships – get to that level with focused extracurricular help. Olympic weightlifting is one of the most common and effective training protocols for these athletes. Let’s discuss a few reasons why. 

Build the Strength to Meet Benchmarks

The first step in playing football at a Division 1 school, earning a wrestling scholarship, or making a collegiate basketball team is to familiarize yourself with the requirements. Let’s look at a couple of examples: football and wrestling. Below, you can see two tables with a few of the basic benchmarks (minimums) to compete in Division 1 football programs and collegiate wrestling programs, respectively.


#resources – Garage Strength – Dane Miller 

Snatch (x1)225 lbs225 lbs175 lbs275 lbs
Clean (x1)305 lbs300 lbs225 lbs265 lbs
Back squat (x1)405 lbs365 lbs275 lbs315 lbs
Front squat (x3)350 lbs315 lbs250 lbs300 lbs
Single-leg squat (x3)275 lbs315 lbs225 lbs275 lbs
Bench press (x1)365 lbs315 lbs225 lbs275 lbs
Incline bench press (x1)275 lbs250 lbs185 lbs225 lbs


Bench press1.6 x body weight
Pull-upsMax weight = 40% of bodyweight
Rope climbs4 x 16’ on 2” rope + 1 x 16’ on 2” rope with 25 lbs on the belt
Sled pull1 x 60’ unbroken with 550 lbs (no easy turf)
Isometric lunge3 minutes with 95 lbs on back
Single-leg squat315 lbs x5 each leg – must show control throughout the movement
Back squat440 lbs x5, 374 lbs x 5 in 7.5 seconds
Front squat1.6 x bodyweight in 7-8 seconds
Clean1.2 x bodyweight x2
Snatch1.25 x bodyweight

To safely and effectively perform these movements, young athletes need qualified coaching and technique training. They also need conditioning, and they must develop fast-twitch muscle fibers for explosive, dynamic movements. While it’s critical for athletes to practice their specific sports, practice and sport-specific training are not always enough to gain the strength and capabilities required to get to the next level. In a structured, focused weightlifting program, athletes work on strength and conditioning, as well as technique. 

A coach who is aligned with the athlete and their parents on the athlete’s goals will program training cycles with those goals in mind, with drills and exercises designed specifically to complement the work they’re doing in sport. The program will utilize progressive overload to ensure that the athlete is gaining strength, explosiveness, and speed over time. As an added bonus, the movements and strength that athletes gain in a weightlifting program are all transferrable across multiple sports. Football players who weightlift will be faster, stronger, and more resilient than those who do not. Wrestlers who weightlift will experience the same benefits, as will lacrosse players, soccer players, gymnasts, and other athletes.

Avoid Injuries that Leave Athletes Benched

When they see the benchmarks that they need to work toward, many young athletes will get laser-focused on achieving those goals. While we love to see that focus, athletes need the guidance of a knowledgeable coach to ensure that they don’t overtrain or perform movements in an unsafe manner. When student-athletes try to do too much with too little rest, and without the right technique guidance, they can easily get injured. 

If a student-athlete sustains an injury that keeps them off the field, court, or mat, they’re going to have even more difficulty achieving their goals. Olympic weightlifting helps young athletes develop the strength and stability to perform movements under heavy loads without injury. Plus, it has one of the lowest injury rates of all Olympic-contested sports.

Develop the Discipline Necessary to Excel in Sport, School, and Life

An athlete may have goals to play football for a Division 1 school, or they may have dreams of a wrestling scholarship. Or they may just want to play sports in school, enjoy time with their friends, and get some energy out. Whatever the case, following a prescribed strength training program will help them develop the discipline necessary to excel in the challenges life throws at them. Developing as an athlete includes personal growth and development. They’ll learn how to listen to their bodies, how to handle days when they don’t perform as well as they wanted, and how to come back from disappointment to achieve more in the future.

Are you a student-athlete or the parent of a young athlete with dreams of competing at the collegiate level? Let’s talk! Contact us today and find out more about how Cherokee Barbell Strength & Nutrition can help them achieve their goals.


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