How To Add Olympic Lifts To Regular Workouts

So, you've seen it on YouTube or at your local gym-people hefting heavy weights that look way too big for them, cleaning, jerking and snatching as part of their regular routine, and now you want to know how to add Olympic lifts to regular workouts, too. You might even have seen that in a Sacramento California high school PE class, instead of playing dodge ball like they ought to, kids are adding Olympic lifts to regular workouts. In fact, a young Olympic weightlifting competitor, Sarah Bertram, began performing Olympic lifts in high school to enhance her javelin and discus throws. With Olympic lifts helping all kinds of people meet their fitness goals, maybe it's time to add them to your routine.

What you will need:

  • an Olympic weightlifting bar
  • rubber bumper plates
  • Olympic weightlifting platform
  • coach or trainer

Now you know what kind of gear you need, here's how to add Olympic lifts to regular workouts:

  1. Check with your doctor. Because these exercises put a lot of stress on your body and heart you want to make sure your health will allow you to add these exercises to your routine.
  2. Analyze your current workout. What is the goal of your workout? Are you trying to gain strength, lose weight, increase performance, feel better, or be healthy? Olympic lifts can help reach each of these goals, and knowing your goal will help you add them to your workout.
  3. Replace isolations with compound whole-body movements. Are you doing tons of delt flys, leg presses, shoulder presses, curls and tricept presses? Ditching these exercises and replacing them with clean and press (for beginners) or clean and jerk (for advanced lifters) will utilize all of these muscles in one exercise. For your safety, hire a trainer to coach you on Olympic lifts since they are complex and because poor form may lead to injury.
  4. Determine the number of reps and sets based on your goals. If your goal is to develop muscle, use weight you can lift eight to twelve reps without losing good form. To increase strength, use weight you can lift one to six times without losing good form. If your goal is endurance, use weight you can perform for fifteen repetitions with good form and without taking a break.
  5. Create a lifting routine-or three-that lasts less than one hour. Many trainers encourage lifters to develop three unique routines each performed once per week. Break up the Olympic lifts into their component parts by adding high pull (part of the lift called the "clean") to one routine (Monday), push-press (part of the "jerk") to another (Wednesday), and one-arm dumbbell snatch to a third (Saturday). Alternately, add the full clean and press or clean and jerk to the first and third and the snatch to the middle routine. 

Learning how to add Olympic lifts to regular workouts can add a fun challenge to your routine,  and before you know it, you will be the person others will be looking at saying, "Hey, nice snatch."

Georgia State University, Strength Training

 ht Team USA Weightlifting


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