Olympic Weightlifting Variations in Sports

Olympic Weightlifting Variations in Sports


At Garage Strength, we use Olympic weightlifting for every sport we train. From football to golf, it is always involved. Snatches, cleans, and jerks all help athletes in multiple ways. Olympic weightlifting helps athletes get stronger, put on muscle, and increase their speed all at one time. Each sport needs it, but we don’t just use the competitive lifts, we will use numerous variations of competitive lifts depending upon the sport.

The first variation we use a lot of is power snatch and power clean. Most athletes that join Garage Strength say they have cleaned or snatched before. This is not the reality, they have power snatched and power cleaned before and do not actually know what the actual lifts are. These variations are probably the easiest to correct/teach because the athlete is familiar with them. Power snatches and cleans are also good for athletes teaching them to finish tall, shrug, and use their hips in the Olympic lifts. Form and technique are still key with these lifts though, they shouldn’t be doing the classic football power of catching with their feet 10 feet wide and just throwing the bar all over the place not having control.

Another variation we use a lot of is low hang snatch and low hang clean. We use low hang cleans probably more than low hang snatches. This is great because the athlete can get their back set tight. Then they have to lower the bar down below the knee keeping it tight, this engages the lats and keeps the back engaged on the way down. At this point, the athlete is in a power position used across many sports. Football is perfect because it is the position right before you go to make a tackle, wrestling right before you take a shot, swimming/track and field coming off the blocks. It is a great tool to use to gain explosiveness in your sports power position.

We base variations depending on the sport the athlete plays. Baseball players are a great example of extremely tight upper back and shoulders. We will use muscle snatches for say 3 reps and after the third rep, then they have to do an overhead squat pausing in the hole for a couple of seconds. This variation strengthens their shoulder and upper back on the muscle snatch and then the overhead squat helps loosen up their tight shoulders and upper back. As they pause in the hole, this will also help their ankle flexibility and hip mobility as well.  

Track is another sport we have a lot of athletes in. One of the variations we use for track is jerks. Jerks are a perfect movement for specifically the throwers we have here. Short range explosiveness just like the finish of a throw. Typically we use behind the neck for throwers to start. This is due to their lack of mobility in their lats, forearms, triceps, and shoulder to hold the front rack position. Once the athlete has worked and gained new mobility, front jerks are then used as well.

Overall, Olympic weightlifting is important for every sport. The strength and mobility gains alone from the sport is good enough results to make every athlete do it. When taught properly Olympic weightlifting and the variations could be the most important lifts in an athletes program.



Want to learn how to program Olympic weightlifting variations?

Click HERE to go to the Weightlifting University educational course on programming!

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