Recently olympic lifts have become more and more popular, thanks also to the rise of Crossfit and functional training, but they have been around for a long time and used to be the dominant exercises in gyms before the advent of the machines and fancy fitness centers.
So, even if you are not a crossfitter you should incorporate olympic lifts, such as the clean and jerk, the push press and the snatch, in your training program.
Why? Here are some advantages of olympic lifting:
Olympic lifts actually improve cardiovascular endurance with respect to other weightlifting exercises, because the bar moves from the floor to over the head, making them the exercises with the longest movement length.
Moreover all the body contributes to the movement in an olympic lift, all the muscles are collect into act; as you can lift more and more weight, you will also become bigger and stronger. Olympic lifts increase the size of all the muscles.
Olympic lifts require discipline in choosing the correct weight for your abilities, that’s why most of the time it’s difficult to overtrain and reach failure. It’s important to start with low weights if you are a beginner and work on speed and technique.
At the end, since time is important, olympic lifts will only take little time from your workout, being very taxing and demanding, start with a warm up set and work up till your 1RM performing 3-4 sets.
Especially for olympic lifts power and speed may be more important than the weight lifted, thanks to the latest technologies, like Beast Sensor, the measurement of speed and power of lifts has become available to everybody, not only to pro athletes and trainers.
If you own a Beast sensor or a similar device to measure speed and power, you may have noted the difference between average and peak outputs.
Should you use peak or average velocity to measure Olympic lifts?
The answer, like most of the times, is it depends; if you are training for a weightlifting competition than you should probably look at both, average and peak, more the two are similar, more you are performing the exercise correctly. If you are training for sports you are probably doing Olympic lifts to increase speed-strength, than you should probably use the peak values, because the average might not be the best variable. The athlete beside technique may have other issues that prevent him to rack the bar faster, like for example shoulder mobility.
How do I understand if the technique is correct by looking at average or peak values?
Recent researches on velocities during Olympic lifts show that the peak velocity is reached at the top of the second pull, you can also see it from the best repetition graph of a clean or snatch from Beast web portal (see below). If your technique is correct mean values should be closer to average values, this implies that your technique is correct and you’re able to accelerate through the whole movement; if the mean values are far from the peaks you may be slower in racking the bar, but attention because there may be other factors, like a shoulder injury, that prevent you from getting under the bar faster.
From the settings on the Beast application you can choose to visualize peak or average values. Use the previous indications to choose what best fits you.
In conclusion select peak or mean values from the settings of your Beast depending on the exercise you’re performing and weather you want to focus on the speed of the execution at his peak or throughout the whole repetition.