Olympic Lifts Get the Best Muscle Gain of Your Life
The above video of Olympic lifts is of 3-time Gold medal Olympic lifter Pyrros Dimas from Greece in training. For his size he has to be one of the strongest men in the world. He is around 180lbs (82kgs). In this video he snatches 330lbs (150Kgs) and clean and jerks 375lbs (170Kgs).
There are only two types of Olympic Lifts. They are the snatch and the clean and jerk. They are a compound style of lifts. This means they involve various exercises combined to form one fluid motion of shear strength. I will explain more about this below.
The magic in these style of weightlifting comes from the engagement of nearly all your muscles to move weight much further and faster than a normal exercises. They allow you to improve the forgotten fast-twitch muscles. Done properly, these exercises have huge potential for your muscle fitness.
✓ Olympic Lifts Greatly Improves Your Vertical Leap– Shane Hamman, who is the top American lifter in history can vertically leap 36 inches at 5’9″, 350lbs. Most NBA players’ top is 34 inches.
✓ Killer Calorie Burn– The top elites of the sport burn as many calories as marathon runners do. All while consuming 6000-8000 calories a day!
✓ Fast-Twitch Muscle Fiber Workout– When these fast-twitch muscle fibers get a workout they give you an advantage in gaining size and strength. As I mentioned above these muscles are greatly ignored in most strength training workouts.
So you maybe wondering why you don’t see a lot people doing Olympic lifts at your local gym? They are complex and not easy to preform. You need the help of a professional to make sure to have correct form and to teach all the correct movements. This will help in not only injury prevention, but also preforming the movements incorrectly. My Workout Guru Zach
has a great wealth of knowledge when preforming these workouts and has helped me tremendously.
Below are the actual Olympic Lifts and also exercises that can be incorporated in your current weightlifting workouts that can build you towards preforming the lifts. These are mini workout routines that you can incorporate into your current workouts. Do them twice a week before going into your regular workout. Give yourself at least one rest between each lifting day. I suggest bookend these mini-routines for example one monday the next on friday.
TIPS: The jump shrug and the high pull are working on your timing that is necessary for preforming Olympic Lifts, they are are speed exercises. To be the most effective with them use a weight that gives you effort to to lift quickly, but not so heavy that you have a hard time controlling the bar. For the deadlifts, squats, and push press find a weight that allows to do no more than 8 reps.
The Exercises: Day One
Think of this Olympic lift as compound movement as a deadlift, barbell shrug, and a overhead squat in one fluid motion.
Here is a workout routine that will build the muscles necessary for preforming a snatch:
Exercise 1: Deadlift
Deadlifts are a great great lower back strengthening exercise. It is also your second largest muscle so it holds a lot of muscle building testosterone.
Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your feet flat and underneath the bar. Next Bend down and grab the bar with a over hand grip. Bend at your knees and hips, keeping your arms and back straight which you will do throughout the entire exercise. Keeping the bar as close to your body as possible lift the bar by extending your hips and knees to a full standing position. Pull your shoulders back at the top of the lift and push your hips forward. Lower the bar back down the same way you brought it up keeping the same good form.TIP: If you are new to the deadlift use a just the bar or a very light weight so you can build up your muscles without straining them.
Rest: 1 minute between each set
Exercise 2: Jump Shrug
Start by holding a barbell just below your knees. Use a an overhand grip that is twice as far as a should-width grip (a snatch grip). During the entire exercise keep your back flat and your arms straight. In one fluid motion thrust your hips forward, while shrugging your shoulders and jumping straight up. Land on the balls of your feet and go straight into the next rep.
Reps: 5 reps
Rest: 1 minute after each set
Exercise 3: Front Squat
For this exercise I suggest using a squat rack. Start by grabbing the barbell with a reverse overhand grip that it slightly more outside than should-width. Hold the barbell on the tops of your shoulders with your elbows pointing straight out allowing the bar to rest on your fingers. Stand in a shoulder-width apart stance. Keep your back straight and not allow your arms to move during the entire exercise. Keeping you weight in your heals, lower your body from the knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Next, push yourself back to starting position TIP: To keep the weight in your heals before preforming the exercise push your hips back.
Rest: 1 minutes after each set.
The Exercises: Day Two
The Clean and Jerk– This is Olympic Lift is a combination of a deadlift, upright row, front squat, and a push press.
Exercise 1: High Pull
Start by holding a barbell at the end of your knee caps. Use a shoulder-width overhand grip. Keeping you back flat, your arms straight down, bet over at the waist, and knees slightly bent. As fast you as your can explode up, as if you were standing up. During the motion bringing your hips forward. As the barbell passes your thighs keep your momentum moving upward raising your calves until you are on your tippy-toes. Keep the bar raising upwards as high as you can by bending your elbows, lifting your shoulders and upper arms. Come back to your starting position and repeat the motion.
Rest: 1 minute after each set
Exercise 2: Push and Press
Start by standing with your feet at shoulder-width apart. Next place your hands shoulder-width apart using an overhand grip. Place the barbell upper chest, just below your collar bones even with your shoulders. To preform the exercise bend the knees and push up with your legs as you press the bar over your head. Lower the barbell back to the starting position and go into your next rep.
Rest: 1 minute in between sets
Advanced Move: Overhead Squats
This is not a beginner exercise. I suggest start with just the barbell or even a broom stick. Start with a wide snatch grip with a barbell over your head. Lockout your elbows, the last thing your want is the bar to collapse as you go in your reps. During the entire exercise try to pull your hands apart this will help maintain isometric force throughout the exercise. Keep everything else the same as a back or front squat. Keep your weight in your heals as you lower yourself until your legs are parallel to the floor and bring yourself up to start position.
Rest: 90 seconds between sets
Try these cooldown stretches to get your back and hips back in alignment after this type of weightlifting.
Cat and Dogs
This will stretch your cartilage disks. Get down on all fours,, with your knees and toes on the floor and your palms facedown in front of you.
Next inhale pulling your belly button back towards your spine making your back curve. Hold the breath for a 2 count and slowly exhale as you curve your tailbone under and lifting your head. Do a total of ten each.
Keeping the same position of being down on all fours. Next tighten your core and straighten one arm and at the same time the opposite leg. Keep extending these limbs parallel while your hips and torso is in a straight line. Hold this position for 3-4 solid breaths. Slowly lower the extended limbs and repeat and do the same with the opposite arm and leg. Do a total of ten.