The Olympic lifts offer one of the most powerful tool kits a personal trainer can keep in their locker. The lifts themselves are a test of strength, speed and skill and training on them develops these qualities in a client. They also require good mobility which motivates a client to concentrate on this often neglected area and a new personal best engenders a great sense of achievement which improves self esteem and quality of life.
As well as the classical lifts (the snatch and clean & jerk) there are a wealth of assistance exercises based on the lifts which not only concentrate on specific parts of the movements but also add variety to training programmes and allow great training sessions to be had without skill in the full lifts being required. The list is almost endless and there is something to suit everyone – squat jerks , pulls, power snatches, hang cleans, muscle snatches, one arm and one legged variations, all come from the same root of Olympic weightlifting. These can be used to put together extremely challenging circuits or easy technical progressions, whatever suits the client.
It is often said that the lifts are too difficult to learn but on the Greenwood Weightlifting Instructors Course we use a teaching sequence of simple assistance exercises which can be used as a warm up and expanded over time until the client has learned the lifts. The teaching sequence itself can become a good way to develop fitness and strength. Many people find the concentration required from the Olympic lifts adds interest to their training and they find they are getting fit and strong while they are enjoying learning a new skill.
There are many opportunities available for the more imaginative personal trainer to expand beyond simple one-on-one training to the benefit of both their business and their client’s experience. Why not try holding a “squad” session for several of your clients where they get a chance to run up to personal best attempts in the company of others doing the same? These give a focus for their regular training and help retain clients as they add variety to your offering. This seems vastly preferable to an awkward evening out at Christmas once a year to thank your clients for their business. There are obvious opportunities for teams of clients or trainers from different gyms to compete against each other or train together. Then, for the brave, there is competitive weightlifting – your regional championships await you!
All of this is great fun and challenging while training on exercises which strengthen the whole body, improve core stability, mobility, speed and power.
Before I finish consider this workout:
Snatch, stiff legged deadlift, bench press, crunches.
This workout builds strength and power and works the whole body in 4 exercises. You’ll be wondering how to fill the rest of the hour!