Should I Use The Olympic Lifts With My Athletes?


The benefits of Olympic weighting and its transfer to sport are well documented. Any time an athlete can perform a movement that allows them to move dynamically it is a huge plus. If you can add weight to that movement, things can get exciting very quickly.

However, there are many coaches and athletes that believe the road to great athletic achievement can only happen through performing the Olympic lifts.

While of benefit there are other ways to train explosive movement that do not involve the snatch, clean and jerk and other variations of these movements: pulls, jumps, sprints and presses and plyometrics are all forms of explosive traning that develop speed, strength and power.

Every athlete can benefit from being stronger, faster and more explosive. While performing the Olympic lifts can result in a stronger, more explosive athlete, the results are predicated on your ability to perform the movements correctly.

If you don’t have the proper coaching or understanding of how to pull the bar off the ground in the clean or snatch they are not as beneficial and time should be spent developing proficiency on movements that can performed well.


Another issue we deal with is injury or flexibility with athletes. If an athlete can not catch the bar in a good position due to a shoulder, wrist or lower leg injury then the Olympic movements can not be as beneficial as they are taking away from movements can help develop speed and power.

If an athlete is healthy, has good flexibility, good coaching and proper equipment, incorporating the Olympic movements along with sprinting and jumping into a well planned strength and conditioning program can produce great results.

However, just adding in the Olympic movements because an expert writing for some online magazine says you need the Olympic movements to get to the next level wont produce the results you expect.

The snatch and clean and jerk are highly technical movements that require coaching and consistent practice. Thinking you can just wing it by watching YouTube videos of the best lifters in the world is a dangerous way to train.

If you want to start training the Olympic movements find a good coach and dedicate yourself to mastering the movements along side your sport specific preparation.

About The Author

John Welbourn is the founder of CrossFit Football and Power Athlete. He's a 10-year NFL vet turned strength and conditioning expert.