Which Olympic Lifts Should Bodybuilders Learn to Do?
I know what you’re thinking.
You’ve read the title of this article and are ready to litter the Muscle & Strength inbox with your vitriol that a coach is egregiously trying to promote a crossover that isn’t useful in any way.
Before you do that, hear me out.
The thing that makes bodybuilders successful is their day-in, day-out emphasis on just that when training: Bodybuilding.
A form of training involving a combination of heavy lifts and lighter lifts, generally done to create a base of strength and to chase a pump by increasing the volume in each muscle belly.
No one’s taking anything away from that, because when it’s time to be stage ready, that’s exactly the recipe that can separate the winners from the losers.
But we have to remember something. Bodybuilding and physique competition often features competitors on stage in their weakest, most depleted state. They may look lean and jacked, but the second that competition comes to a close, they’ll be stuffing their faces with food, and possibly taking a short break from training also.
I say all of this to make one point: For any goal – especially a very specific and possibly extreme goal – there will be an expense to pay in the form of another goal being neglected.
For people looking to lose weight, their muscle mass may suffer, at least a little. For well-trained people seeking to get lean, chances are they won’t be quite as strong as they were when they weren’t lean. And for those trying to get big and strong, their conditioning, flexibility, or mobility may pay a price.
With all of this said, it would do a typical bodybuilder well to get the best of both worlds – exercises that exploit flexibility and mobility while not sacrificing their goals of attaining muscleand strength.
Olympic lift variations offer just that, since they’re moving significant loads very quickly.
An Injury Waiting to Happen?
It’s easy to think that, but it also depends on the variation of Olympic lift we’re talking about.
The standard Olympic lifts are the full clean and jerk, and the full snatch. They ask a whole lot of a lifter’s athleticism to perfect, and it’s not realistic to think someone neck deep in bodybuilding life is going to have a quick and easy learning curve to these kinds of lifts.
With that in mind, it’s useful to simplify lifts into their derivative patterns and still receive all of the benefits.