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How to Train for Olympic Weightlifting

Apr 27, 2022
You probably began your weightlifting journey years ago and now that you’ve reached your plateau, you’re wondering what’s next. You want to challenge yourself more but you’ve already ticked off goals on your list including building muscles, toning your body, and lifting the heaviest weights you were just imagining to lift years ago. You are at that point in your fitness journey that you are yearning for a challenge to make what has become a routine for you exciting once more. Aside from inspiring others to do weightlifting as well, you want to achieve a personal goal. One of your friends brought up joining the Olympics. You are in disbelief that your friend will even suggest for you to join arguably the most prestigious sports event in the world. You don’t even know how to apply and how you could get there. But it screams out of your comfort zone that you really want to try your hand at joining. You might be needing to join regional competitions before you get selected to represent the country on such a global scale. This is the perfect plant to give you the excitement in weightlifting that you are looking for. Basically, there are two Olympic lifts. These are the snatch and clean and jerk. In the snatch, you have to lift the bar from the floor to overhead in one clean move. In the clean and jerk, you will “clean” the bar into your shoulders and then push it overhead, and then drop it to the floor. In the Olympics stage, a weightlifter would be given three attempts for each lift and the combined total will be the final score that would determine the winner. Strength and conditioning coaches would advise you to jump with weights. In this way, you improve strength, speed, and rate of force development. This is not at all a piece of cake. It’s not something you can swiftly train for and win Olympic gold. You need to have good mobility, flexibility, and balance. Practice the two positions diligently so that over time, you will be seeing progress in the flexibility of your knees and hips. If you’ve had a bit of an experience, don’t hesitate to add cardio to your workout routine. But a word of caution is to remember not to exhaust yourself because fatigue can reduce the quality of your reps. You need to learn your technical limits before you combine cardio with your training. You should know as early as now that it will require a lot of practice because lifting at the Olympics could get very technical. This is not a sport for those who get bored easily. So for you to not get bored, you have to focus on the benefits the sport can give you. You’ll gain strength, a good physique with power, and reach a level of flexibility. It will be really fun reaching and clearing your targets one by one. These are some of the things you have to work on:
1. Hook Grip
Your thumb must be under your first two fingers. It would most probably hurt but we can guarantee you that it’s all for the best. Over time, you will be able to lift higher loads when you master your hook grip or how secured the bar is in terms of your hold. You can improve your deadlift as well when you’ve gained mastery of the hook grip.
2. Power Hangs
According to Coach Magazine, “power variations are lifts caught in a half squat or higher. You can do your cleans and snatches during the hang. What this means is starting anywhere at the knee to the mid-thigh part and not from the floor. Where do you exactly start? It depends on what technique or part you are currently working towards mastering or toning.
3. Clean and Jerk your Own Body Weight
If you can do this already, congratulations because you’ve made it! This means the training has been doing you real good. Most athletes’ benchmark is when they can clean and jerk their own body weight. Before doing all these, know that the standards of these competitions are high. If for example, you weigh 85kg, you need to be able to carry a total of 239 kilograms to qualify. According to Coach Magazine, these sessions will begin with a snatch or a snatch variant. This move will require you to be speedy so that’s why they make you do it first. During training, you should do a mix of different exercises so that the crossover would be limited and you won’t experience fatigue easily. Some sessions will require a heavy squat; some a pull. They very rarely ask for both these moves. In training, you also need to dedicate time for pressing, rowing, working on your back, and toning the abs. The five moves you should know how to do are the following: snatch pull, high hang clean, front squat, bent-over row, and hanging leg raise. Do five sets, two reps each of the snatch pull; four sets and two reps for the high hang clean and front squat, three sets with eight reps for the bent-over row, and 3 sets with 10 reps for the hanging leg raise. The snatch pull will generate power from you. The bar is on the floor and then your hands are wide apart from each other. Lift the bar upwards and bump it off your hips as you move it in the upwards direction. Drop the bar and then do it again for another rep. The difference between the high hang clean is you start with the bar in your hands. You bend your knees a bit and then jump a bit as well while bringing the bar up to your shoulders. The front squat is when you rest the bar across the front of your shoulders. You squat down, putting the weight on your heels and then you go again for another squat. The bent-over row is for the arms where you bend forward at hips level and you pull a barbell to your sternum. You pause a bit before you lower it down again. Last is the hanging leg raise where you will hang on a bar with the legs straight. You bring your legs up until they are in line with your torso, maintaining its straightness. Pause at the torso level before lowering down and doing another rep. All this training can be done in your garage if you are able to maximize its space. Install smart storage solutions such as overhead storage racks and wall shelves so that you can use the free space in the garage for your weightlifting training.