How to build a better athlete in the gym

I want to talk to you about why it’s important for younger athletes or just athletes in general to utilize Olympic style weight lifts in their training.

When we are olympic weightlifting, what’s happening is we are starting with the bar on the floor and then we are getting that bar to our chest or overhead. How we do that is we’re creating force, a hard force through the ground, reaching triple extension at our knees, hips, and ankles.

We develop that power by going against the resistance of a load (barbell or similar) and exploding that load up and overhead.

This force generation is important when we’re looking at sports. Most if not all of the sporting activities involve creating a similar force from the ground up.

 Some common examples are:

  1. Running, we are extending at each stride. 
  2. Jumping, we are reaching that triple extension to explode higher and higher. 
  3. Throwing, it’s a little more of a rotational extension, but we are still extending at our hips and extending at our knees and ankles at the same time to create a ton of power.

When we’re programming these lifts for athletes however, we have to remember we’re not trying to make them better at weightlifting. we’re trying to make them better at their sport.

With this in mind we have several variations we can use to extract the maximum benefit.

A full clean and jerk or snatch contain complexities with our overhead position, front rack overhead position, or even being able to get down into a deep squat when we’re receiving the load.

We can eliminate mobility requirements, like being deep in the squat or overhead position with a few simple modifications. 

1: Pulls. 

With a pull, we’re really able to load up the bar and we’re not worrying too much about that catch position. We’re really just focusing on getting that triple extension as aggressive as possible.

2: Power variations.

Power variations keep the athlete above parallel. This greatly simplifies the lift again allowing the athlete to focus on force development. 

All of the above highlights the importance of have a coach that unders the athlete individual needs and creates an environment that allows them to developed their abilities. 

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