What does your average gym workout consist of? A few sets of bench press? Maybe some half-hearted Â bicep curls while you glance in the mirror at your fleeting pump? This likely describes the workout routine for hundreds of thousands of gym users. I can certainly say that in my gym, these are the two exercises I see 90% of people doing, 90% of the time.
You know what? I donâ€™t blame them, people want mirror muscles, muscles they can show off on the beach, muscles that make their Abercrombie & Fitch T-Shirts look great, and exercises that primarily work the chest and upper arms are the logical choice. Being logical doesnâ€™t make it right however, and in order to build some impressive muscle youâ€™re going to have to get a bit more inventive with your regime.
In fact, scrap that, you donâ€™t need to be inventive, all you need to do is mimic what some of the world strongest athletes do, day after day, of course Iâ€™m talking about Olympic weight lifting. Donâ€™t worry, Iâ€™m not going to task you with hoisting a 150kg bar above your head, but incorporating some Olympic lifts into your programme using the most basic gym equipment could really accelerate your progress.
So how can you do these lifts without slipping a disc or looking like a total clown? Here are the two crucial Olympic lifts you need to know;
The snatch is without doubt the most difficult Olympic lift to get right. It involves getting the bar from the floor to an overhead position in one smooth movement, without bending the elbows. The bar should be lifted above the head before from a deep squat position before descending into the squat position again and exploding up to a stand up straight with the bar held overhead.
Clean and Jerk
The clean and jerk is a little easier to learn than the previous move since it can be split into two distinct parts. The first part, called the clean, involves wrenching the bar from the floor and â€˜catchingâ€™ it across the top of the chest. The second part consists of transitioning into a split stance to aid stability while pushing the bar above the head before bringing the feet to together to complete the move.
If youâ€™ve never performed these lifts before, you need to be extremely careful and begin with a very light weight, or even no weight at all. Form is important with all lifts,Â but due to the compromised position the Olympic lifts put you spine in, getting them wrong could result in a literally crippling injury. It is certainly worth investing the time in learning these compound movements as they are great â€˜bang for your buckâ€™ exercises that will get you results.
How to be a Gold Medallist
Incorporating Olympic lifts into your routine can be tricky, especially if you are used to spending your workouts sat on a variety of machines or walking on the treadmills; in fact there are two easy ways to get these into a workout. You could either go through a two month phase of focusing solely on Olympics lifts, performing them on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for example, or you could start each of your current workouts with a Â few sets of Olympics lifts.
However you choose to slot these exercises into your program, doing so will be a welcome boostÂ to your current plan. Olympic lifts are compound movements that test every muscle group in the body, doing these on a regular basis will not only do wonders for your conditioning, they will also give you a stronger core, meaning all your other lift poundages will go up.