Olympic Lifts – Pro’s and Con’s

Mar 16th, 2015

Category: Athletes

Olympic Lifts – Pro’s and Con’s

Thing to consider

-Olympic lifts have blast on to the scene within the past decade mainly due to Crossfit’s implementation of them.
-The Olympic lifts have many benefits, but are they a must for an athlete?
Olympic lifting is a sport within itself.  So it goes without saying that this requires much more than just being strong.  It is truly a skill and one that must work on with consistency.  The big question that most people have is “Do I need to do Olympic lifting?”

 

Pro’s

Olympic lifting develops sheer power and speed production from moving heavy loads as quick as you can and from getting under the bar as quick as you can.
Olympic lifts increase athleticism.  They increase dynamic flexibility, static flexibility, and strength through various positions, which translates very well to real world sports.
One of the most common screening methods is a derivative of the snatch and that is the overhead squat.  Olympic lifts will show you what ranges of motions you are limited in and this in turn can help you make your weaknesses your strengths.

 

Cons

The Olympic lifts require the most technical skill of any lifts.  This requires hours and hours of learning the positions before beginning true loading phases.  So depending on an athletes time available and their goals it may not be worth the time involved in learning the technique for the goals that are placed.
-An example of this is when we work with our off-season NFL guys.  We may have 4-8 weeks at a time with them.  If these guys aren’t efficient in the Olympic lifts then the time put into trying to master these lifts would not be productive to the overall goal of training to become bigger, faster, stronger in our small window.
-The average gym goer doesn’t have access to an Olympic training bars nor the plates and Olympic shoes which make the lifts much more stable, safe and efficient.
The higher risk for injury is just an additional con to the lifter who hasn’t mastered the skill and starts adding kilos/pounds to the bar.  Trying to catch a heavy bar with no technical efficiency can lead to some very awkward positions for your wrists, elbows, knees and hips.

 

Summary and Tips

-Olympic lifts are very valuable tools but you must master the lifts and their progressions to continue to make progress with minimal risk.
-If your time budget does not allow for practicing these lifts than you can use plyometrics, accommodating resistance, overloaded positions in the power rack and many other tools to develop power and force that don’t take near as much time to master.
-Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.  Find a coach with a solid background in Olympic lifting or you will be wasting your time and setting yourself up for injury down the road.
-If you don’t have time to implement the lifts, there are plenty of other ways to develop power. Medball throws, kettlebell swings, jumps are just a few way to easily program power production into your training.