Many strength and conditioning professionals agree that Olympic lifting has no equal for developing speed, flexibility, coordination, force, power, and total body strength and muscle.
What is it about these two Olympic lifts - the Snatch and Clean &Jerk - that accounts for this opinion?
1.They engage almost all the muscles of your body. An expert compared the Snatch to a combination deadlift, weights shrug, jump squat, and overhead squat done repeatedly in one fluid motion. The Clean and Jerk A mixture deadlift, upright row, front squat, and push press.
2.They move weights more and faster than 'ordinary' workouts, working you harder, firing your metabolism, and building your balance, coordination and power.
3.Each repeating takes only a second or two from beginning to end, targeting your fast-twitch muscle fibers; these fibers have the greatest potential for size &strength, and are ignored in the majority of weight workouts.
Another benefit of lifting's raw athleticism is the vertical jump. Yes: Olympic weight lifters jump a lot higher than everyone. The instructors at Olympic Training Centers attest to Oly lifters having greater average jumps than other sportsmen, including basketball players, gymnasts and sprinters. (Top United states lifter Shane Hamman weighs 350 pounds. and may jump 36 inches; NBA'ers maximum 34 inches).
Olympic lifting builds lean muscle. In addition to being the strongest, Oly lifters are also one of the leanest of all the athletes on the planet. And, an average Olympic lifter can churn as much calories every day as an average marathoner can do, and on an average he will have not more than 5 percent of fat in the body. (Yes, they lift heavy loads, but they eat a lot too).
Olympic lifters use the best quality gear. Years of precision engineering and tooling have gone into developing today's Olympic weights, constructed of chrome, steel or iron.
And then there're the fans of thick Olympic bars for developing hand and forearm strength. If the diameter of the standard Olympic bar is an inch or so, the thick Olympic bar is 2 or 3 inches. The thicker the bar, the less control the hands and fingers have to grasp it, so the hands, wrists and forearms are stressed during free-weight movement. And stress builds strength.
Oly lifting advantages? Consider this: when you do a bicep curl, the bar arcs some 12 to 16 inches. In a Clean &Jerk, the Olympic bar moves from the floor all the way overhead, 7 to 8 feet high. Every muscle in the body is used - not only the main movers, but the stabilizers, all of your joints and a strong core for crucial support. Olympic lifting utilizes the whole body into action. As you add weight, your body compensates by getting bigger and stronger. A lean, efficient, explosive, strong, well balanced machine.
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