I would first like to state that Olympic Weightlifting is not the ONLY way for an athlete to increase speed strength and power, but is a proven method of giving these results. It is a common practise for coaches and parents to play the “danger card” when it comes to these lifts simply because they require an experienced coach to teach and monitor the somewhat more complex techniques. They are, however, no more dangerous than other forms of training IF taught safely, correctly, and patiently.
When teaching the lifts, I first assess my client’s overall fitness and health. I find out what they are trying to achieve, what kind of experience they have with strength training or Olympic Weightlifting, and make sure any injuries or health conditions will not compromise the effectiveness of the training. I NEVER believe in a “one size fits all” approach to teaching, and the rate at which I progress the lifts varies with each client. This is why simply reading an article on these lifts will simply not make you ready to perform them.
The benefits of performing the Olympic lifts in training are numerous and include:
Also, due to the complex nature of the full, classical version of the lifts, I rarely recommend using them with athletes and clients. They are far more complicated to teach and don’t add much benefit to people outside the sport of Olympic Weightlifting itself. I keep to what we call the “Power” versions, where the client receives the lifts without squatting past parallel. This will force them to use maximum power to raise the bar to the desired height.
In training with these lifts, especially with beginners and athletes without much offseason to work with, I focus on the main aspects of the techniques rather than all the minor intricacies that can take years to perfect. It all depends on how fast they learn, what kind of experience they have coming in, etc. Again, a tailored approach rather than a text book one works best in this case. The point of these lifts is not to get them ready for an Olympic Weightlifting competition, but to give measurable results that can be carried back to the field of play.
To sum up the main points:
I am available for consults and programming via the internet, and locally at our center. We are in the process of adding dozens of cool videos, some of which are geared towards Olympic Weightlifting. Stay tuned!