Olympic Weightlifting offers a path towards a complete range of fitness and strength attributes.
Quite simply, Olympic weightlifting can completely change one’s holistic levels of strength and fitness. Developing on the more basic gym lifts – such as the squat, deadlift and shoulder press – Olympic weightlifting has no equal for developing speed, flexibility and coordinated, total-body strength and muscle.
The core strength and mobility that is developed by the sport means that Olympic lifters have some of the highest vertical leaps of all athletes.
The speed of the movement requires Olympic lifters to recruit every fast-twitch muscle fibre. These type IIb fibres, which fire anaerobically, are also associated with sprinting, which is why the fastest people in the world use weightlifting to gain that extra edge.
While we can perhaps all instinctively walk into a gym and perform a deadlift, it takes a long time to master the intricate technical aspects of Olympic weightlifting.
In competitive weightlifting the two lifts are the snatch and the clean and jerk. The objective of the snatch is to lift the barbell from the ground to overhead in one continuous motion.
The clean and jerk, as its name suggests, is made up of two movements. First the barbell is lifted from the floor to shoulder-height. During the jerk the lifter raises the barbell to a stationary position above the head, finishing with straight arms and legs.
Both lifts demand coordination, flexibility and complete concentration. The technical aspects of the sport go a lot further in developing mental and motor skills than regular free-weight lifting.