You might have noticed that here at Texan Fitness, our Impetus Barbell Club is specifically focused on Olympic weightlifting.

But you might not be familiar with what Olympic weightlifting focuses on and why it might be right for you.

First, it’s important to distinguish between Olympic lifting and powerlifting.

Although both have their benefits, it’s Olympic lifting techniques that usually find their way into CrossFit (and our barbell club). The distinguishing factors come from the types of movements used.

Olympic lifting focuses on rapid, explosive motions, the snatch and the clean and jerk. Powerlifting is centered on slower, controlled simple motions, like the deadlift, squat and bench press.

These core Olympic weightlifting movements, the snatch and the clean and jerk, are both technical methods of lifting a barbell over your head. 

With the snatch, the barbell is lifted from the floor to overhead in one smooth continuous motion. The clean and jerk is a two part lift where athletes raise the bar first from the floor to shoulder height, then raise it overhead.

Traditionally in competitions, the snatch comes first and the clean and jerk second.

The speed and precision required by these movements make them more challenging than a lot of powerlifting moves, which means this is a great route for getting a wide range of results fast.

The flexibility and speed required are like the weightlifting equivalent of a sprint, and in fact Olympic lifting can be a great complement to a sprinter’s routine.

Because of the complexity of the movements and the high intensity, it’s easy to get injured in the process if you haven’t had the right training. That’s exactly what a barbell club is here for.

As you’ve likely gathered from the title, this form of lifting is the type that athletes compete in during the Olympic Games. This feat of strength has its origins in Greek and Egyptian cultures.

The program of the modern Olympic Games has included weightlifting since the games began in the late 1800s. It’s been a staple ever since, missing just a few years in the early 1900s.

 In 2000 in Sydney, women’s lifting finally became an official event as well. Currently, men compete in 8 events and women in 7 at each Summer Games.

If you’re still wondering who Olympic lifting is right for, the answer is, in short, “almost everyone.” The right trainer can help you develop the right mobility and form to do the motions safely with the right weight increments for your strength level. Although traditionally seen as a masculine exercise, Olympic lifting is just as effective and safe for women.

The benefits of these high-power motions are endless. Because of their rapid speed and force, the snatch and the clean and jerk have a strong cardio component, boosting your heart and lung health.

The long-term effects of lifting also include higher bone density, greater flexibility and a well-toned body. 

If you’re sold on Olympic lifting or just want to learn more about how it could be incorporated into your fitness routine, come check out our Impetus Barbell Club with coach Ben Stevens!