The Unmatched Benefits of Olympic Weightlifting Training for Sports Performance
The kind of training performed by Olympic weightlifters not only improves their strength, power and skill enormously, but it has unmatched benefits in terms of helping athletes in other sports to develop strength and power – qualities that can be used with great benefit on their respective fields of play. Regardless of the benefits of the Weightlifting movements, every benefit can be equally detrimental when not performed correctly or under the supervision of a qualified coach. The benefits of the weightlifting movements are as follows:
Ground Based and Functional: Weightlifting is ground based and involves the kind of lifting, throwing, jumping and striking motions that characterize most sports, from baseball to the martial arts. Weightlifters learn to generate force while standing on their feet, largely by driving upwards against the ground. The weightlifting movements and the ground based motions it incorporates not only contributes too, but are the foundation of power generation in the vast majority of sports.
Multiple Joint Actions: The weightlifting movements require the body to innervate muscles spanning over several joints in a specific order. Weightlifting movements trigger the filing of muscles from the largest to the smallest which mimics the demands of other sports such as a pitcher throwing a ball or a golfer swinging a club.
Develops the “Core” and Kinesthetic Awareness Simultaneously: The sport of weightlifting develops a sense of proprioception or kinesthetic awareness, which is an understanding of where an athlete’s body and the barbell are in space. The gains in proprioception due to weightlifting have a profound effect when transferred into other sports leading to greater balance and force production.
Generates Both Hypertrophy and Neural Adaptations: The progressive resistance applied by weightlifters generates an increase in muscle fiber diameter known as hypertrophy. Unlike bodybuilding movements and repetition patterns which can develop hypertrophy that outpaces improvements in muscular function. Strength improves not only as a result of hypertrophy, but also from neural adaptations such as improved inter and intramuscular coordination, motor unit recruitment, and firing
Enhances Flexibility: Age old myths about being “muscle bound” notwithstanding, weight training performed through a full range of motion, such as those performed during the execution of weightlifting movements, actually increase flexibility. In fact, weightlifters are among the most flexible athletes in all of sport, clearly demonstrating unusual flexibility in their ankles, hips, spine, wrists, and shoulders.
Improved Ability to Promote Force Attenuation: Weightlifting does not only involve lifting and throwing heavy weights, but it involves “catching’ them overhead or on one’s shoulders. Consequently, weightlifters develop the skill and physical conditioning to receive external objects such as heavy weights and bring them under control safely and efficiently.
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