Squatting and How It Relates to Olympic Weightlifting

Squatting and How It Relates to Olympic Weightlifting


Olympic weightlifting is a very technical sport. Technique is king, but you still need to be able to build leg strength through other exercises besides just the main lifts. This is where squats come in. Squats are a very important part of being a successful weightlifter, but having a huge squat is not a must to hit a huge total. Squats for Olympic weightlifting are more important to move heavy weight fast and with good posture than just hitting big numbers. Pyro Dimas, a 2-time gold medalist, has said one thing he wished was that he didn’t squat the amount of weight he did, it just left him feeling beat up and it was unnecessary. The squats we use the most are back squat, front squat, and single leg squat.

Back squats are most effective for the pulls of the snatch and clean, while also being very effective for jerks as well. They strengthen your quads, hamstrings, back, abs and glutes on every rep with good posture. All of these are activated in your pulls. Right off the floor, it is mainly your glutes and hamstrings and then as you start to finish the quads and glutes. Throughout the entire pull, your abs and back should be working together. All of which are being worked while you back squat. From an athlete perspective, I have found that squatting without gear as much as possible is what will help strengthen the muscles best. Really for Olympic weightlifting overall, you shouldn't use gear until 90% or higher, you can watch more about this through our Weightlifting University Course.

Front squats are the most important squats in Olympic weightlifting. They are the most relatable to the competitive lifts, specifically clean and jerk. Front squats really activate your quads and glutes the most, while doing unbroken sets can really get the hamstrings burning. Front squats also simulate the exact movement of catching and standing up with a clean. Depending on the athlete whatever they front squat for 3 reps they should be able to clean and jerk. Sometimes an athlete needs 5 reps to hit that if they are really weak. Again, the least amount of gear as possible to get the best translation to the Olympic lifts.

Single leg squats are a perfect variation to the two main squats. These are typically implemented into an athlete’s program after they have just completed/peaked for a meet. Using a bilateral movement to help keep the athlete balanced, and plus they suck to do. Nothing better to get back into training than to do squats that suck and make you super sore. Single leg squats are great for hamstring and glute development. Also, the isolation on each leg for the quad is perfect for imbalances you see in an athlete. No gear should ever be used for single leg squats.

Back squat, front squat, and single leg squats are the top variation for Garage Strength, but there are many more variations. We cover a lot of these topics in our Weightlifting University course that you can checkout HERE. Back squats for pulls and jerks, front squats for clean and jerks, single leg squats for imbalances after competitions. If you use these squats properly you are headed in the right direction, if not, start using these to help improve your training.

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