Olympic Weightlifting for Regular Guys

Watching Olympic weightlifting with my dad is one of my favourite childhood memories. As a kid I saw the sport as the domain of 300-pound supermen, but after six months training with the barbell I’ve seen the light.

“Olympic lifting has long been the preferred practice of elite athletic programs to develop explosive power and strength in their athletes,” says Dhani Oks, owner and director of Academy of Lions. Oks operates an elite Olympic weightlifting program under the direction of Alex Varbanov, 10-time world champion and Olympic medallist. He has seen how its techniques  have a wide array of athletic applications. “Football, track & field and rowing – the list grows larger by the year.”

O-lifting involves only two lifts: the clean & jerk and the snatch. But they’re both complex movements that require practice to avoid injury. “Perfect your form and don’t lift beyond your limit,” says fitness coach Forrest Scott. “Know your one rep max and do percentage work based on that.”

Dhani stresses the importance of experienced support and a safe environment, especially for beginners.  “Make sure you receive good coaching in a proper facility that has rubber bumper plates and platforms.  These movements require technique to avoid injury and get the best out of your training.”

Stay motivated by visualizing the results, Oks advises. “Olympic weightlifting can produce a lean, strong, highly athletic and flexible body. I have seen Olympic lifters well into their 60s and 70s move and lift better than some 20-year-olds.”

Here are 5 lifting tips that won’t necessarily turn you into an Olympian, but might make you feel like one:

Focus. It’s normal for beginners to make mistakes but proper form is learned with full concentration.
Warm-up. Fire up your muscles first to avoid injury.
Rest. It’s just as important as a good, intense training session.
Be fearless. On the weightlifting platform are only you and the steel. Don’t be afraid of this piece of metal–make it your friend.
Goal set. Push your personal limits for consistent improvement.

Apply these tips to your next tussle with the barbell and you’ll get more from your workout. I may never be a Superman, but I’m feeling a lot fitter these days.

Image courtesy of jontunn.

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