Some of you may be asking, “What in the world is Olympic weightlifting?” Olympic weightlifting (aka Oly lifting) is comprised of two lifts: the snatch and the clean & jerk. These are the two ways to get a load of weight from the ground to the overhead position.
7. Improved bone health
Decreased incidence of osteopenia and osteoporosis: the two categories of decreased bone density and health. The less muscle you have, the less work your bones have to work. You will loose what is not used thus shedding osseous material. In the medical field, there is no denial of the benefits of weightlifting for both prevention of bone loss and the rebuilding of new bone. Do not mistake what I am saying as treatment for osteoporosis or for saying that I would tell woman with osteoporosis to load a heavy bar and do an Olympic lift. However, lifting weights for the prevention of osteoporosis is a no brainer as is proper weight-bearing exercise for those already diagnosed with osteoporosis along with a treatment plan agreed upon between a patient and health care provider.
6. Injury prevention
Many of you may be thinking that Olympic weightlifting seems dangerous and perhaps too difficult. However, the truth is that when one masters flexibility, coordination, and balance, it only makes sense that future injuries will be prevented. Every one of us "clean" objects on a daily basis, whether that’s picking up a bag of dog food or a kid. One of the top complaints health care providers get is back pain and/or injury. Some of this stems from a weak core, which is certainly improved with Oly lifting. Other components of injury include poor body mechanics or lifting technique, lack of coordination, or flexibility.
As people age, there is an increase in injuries that often occur from falls. What if there was something you could do today that developed the skills to prevent injury and harm in the future? For example, we have women in their 60’s at Primal Life Training who are strong, healthy, and completing these moves, while you hear about untrained women of the same age having fall incidences or other various injuries.
5. Self-confidence and empowerment
These lifts can often be a mentally challenging task, and I have seen many get frustrated trying to perform them. However, when a woman sets a new PR (personal record) lift or even has the technique suddenly click, there is a vast amount of empowerment in that moment. Presenting Case 1: I was recently doing a personal training session working on the clean. After an hour of drilling it over and over something, suddenly clicked and voila a 25lb PR occurred. This woman who came in nervous and perhaps even a little frustrated at what was on the training agenda walked away from our session with her head held high and posted the video of her PR to FaceBook!
4. Increased physical strength
Olympic weightliftig forces the development of general physical strength. A person will neither out clean their greatest front squat not out snatch their greatest overhead squat. In fact, I would argue that one cannot clean & jerk or snatch greater than approximately 95% of their best associated lift.
3. You won’t need no stinkin’ man
I have got to be completely honest... It feels incredibly good to not need help loading dog food, sand bags, concrete bags, or furniture. And yes… I have actually done all of these things utilizing the strength and proper lifting technique I acquired by practicing the Olympic lifts. Even if you didn’t need to use these skills because you always have someone else who to assist you, it is still reassuring to know that if you didn’t it wouldn’t matter! In the age of the independent woman, the strength and technique to lift anything is a necessity!
2. Improvement in overall physical fitness
At Primal Life Training, we have 10 skills we measure fitness by: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. Although all 10 are related in some capacity, I will highlight a few that are either difficult to obtain without Oly lifting and/or greatly improved upon with Olympic weightlifting.
Speed and power go hand-in-hand as you work to move the barbell quickly with great force. The Olympic lifter has to learn to contract more muscle fibers more quickly than the untrained person.
Coordination needs no explanation if you have ever tried either Olympic lifts or even watched them be performed.
Balance is the ability to maintain the center of gravity over its base, which is an obvious necessity in both the clean and jerk and the snatch.
Accuracy is important as the movement of the barbell is not completed with the mere hope that you can fling the weight and it land in the right spot. It takes precision and accuracy to be aware of the path of the traveling bar in relation to the path or motion of the body.
1. Less fat= more muscle
A study by the American College of Sports Medicine compared the rate of energy expenditure during and after slow contraction exercise versus explosive exercises where more muscle fibers are used. Results consistently revealed that explosive exercises demanded more energy, thus more calories burned during and after exercise and, therefore, enhanced weight loss. Beyond this specific study, we know that greater muscle mass results in an improved metabolism and less body fat. As a result, Olympic weightlifting is a win-win.
By more muscle mass, I don’t mean you are going to look like a female body builder! I am talking about being firm and smokin’ hot! There is no better core builder than Olympic weightlifting. Those fit women that you envy in the photos did not get those abs by doing 1000 sit-ups a day… they got them from lifting heavy weights utilizing the core. Furthermore, skinny-fat (the person who is thin but has a high amount of body fat instead of muscle mass) is detrimental to one’s health. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that nearly 25% of skinny people have pre-diabetes and are “metabolically obese.”
Where do you learn how to Olympic weightlift?
Olympic weightlifting is a component of our programming at Primal Life Training. It is important to not only receive this type of training at a gym certified for Olympic weightlifting, but also ask them about their training and expertise in the lifts. In addition to training hundreds of clients in these lifts, the coaches at Primal Life Training have completed the Olympic weightlifting certification. Additionally, Primal Life Training sponsored and held an Olympic weightlifting seminar conducted by two-time Olympian, Kendrick Farris for the benefit of the coaches and its members. When training at a Primal Life Training location, you are always under the direct supervision of a certified trainer who is highly prepared to assist you in meeting your fitness goals in a safe and effective manner. Frequently, you will have two or more trainers in a class.
Seeing women become empowered, confident, healthier, and stronger people is never a rarity at Primal Life Training. Contact us today to learn how we can help you reach your goals!
Primal Life Training, Inc. was established in 2011 and revamped in 2014.
Our goal in working with all of our community is to optimize health, movement, and performance thus improving life and allowing for goals to be more easily achieved.
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