Training for sports performance is a huge topic. Simply put, you are trying to reproduce the efforts you exert on the pitch or track within the gym. As a result, the exercises you choose need to be reminiscent of the movements you perform in game play. However, the gym is used to improve the forces, loads and stress the is put body through. It is important to remember the difference between a technical session and a workout. What movements can you use to recreate the forces, loads and stress required? In my opinion, Olympic Weightlifting is a brilliant tool you can use to improve sports performance, but it is often overlooked.

You may view Olympic Weightlifting as dangerous or not specific to your sport. For example, why would I include a Power Clean in a long distance runners programme?


Olympic Weightlifting IS Sport Specific

Let’s break down the movements and positions used by an athlete
performing a Snatch.  right from the set up a Snatch is matching movements used in many sports.

  • External rotation of the  shoulder and hip
  • A braced, neutral spine
  • Equal weight distribution
  • The build up of torque throughout the body (imagine compressing a spring, ready to release)

Move into the actual performance of a rep and the list continues to grow.

  • Production of force throughout the body
  • Core to extremities transfer of power
  • Explosive triple extension (ankle, knee & hip)
  • Deep triple flexion (ankle, knee & hip)
  • Thoracic & overhead mobility
  • Shoulder Stability and overhead strength


The list can go on and on. Now try to tell me that you’re sport doesn’t need any, if not multiple of these factors! Going back to the example of the runner, every time you take a stride you will see;

  • Core to extremities transfer of power
  • Triple extension (ankle, knee & hip)
  • Production of force throughout the body (lower body dominant)
  • A braced, neutral spine

Olympic WeightliftingNow I’m not saying a long distance runner needs to work on their 1RM Snatch or aim to lift double body
weight in the clean. This is where the training becomes sports specific. Take a look at the needs of your sport and programme accordingly. Explosive sports such as sprinting or triple jump, along with team sports such as rugby, can look to work at higher resistance. Lower impact and longer duration sports such as running, golf and tennis will all have crossover with Olympic Weightlifting.

In addition, weightlifting has one of the lowest injury rates in sport. That being said, be sensible and minimise risks by remembering technique is king. A quote I saw recently summed this up perfectly.

“Technique builds strength. Strength does not build technique.”


Interested in Olympic Weightlifting

As a leading Personal Trainer in Richmond I have experience in introducing Olympic Weightlifting to beginners across multiple sporting disciplines. The benefit hugely out weigh the risks when performed in a controlled and safe environment. To learn more book your FREE consultation here.