Weightlifting (snatch/clean & jerk) is a great way to develop and improve on power, but unfortunately, in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting, it is very easy to caught up in the snatch and clean & jerk. It is common to get obsessed with wanting to just do snatch and clean & jerk to beat your previous PRs. If an athlete is having a problem hitting higher numbers, the solution may not be to continuously go heavy in the two lifts. To be clear, I am not talking about missing PR lifts a couple times. I am talking about an athlete who hasn’t been able to PR in over a year. If this is the case, it might be time to switch things up a little bit. If you have ever heard Coach Danny say “Well, it’s time to be an athlete,” that is the track we are going down in this blog. In order to build more power, it is even more important to find some sort of complementary training. Here are some examples of different training routines you can use to switch things up.
I mean, there is no question that Strongman athletes are strong (it has strong in the name for pete’s sake). Doing strongman workouts can be very good for Olympic weightlifters. The two are both strength athletes and share similar philosophy. I am not saying you have to completely stop training for weightlifting and switch over to strongman but it might not hurt to add some their exercise into your training program. They can be used as accessory work for after training or on active rest days. Strongman training for weightlifters would primarily consist of different variations of carrying (farmer carry, overhead carry, single/double arm carry, yoke (back) carry, yoke (front) carry, and etc), sandbag movements, and sled work. Of course, a lot of these exercises are dependent on the weather and/or the amount of space you have. Typical, we want to start by find a certain weight carried to a certain distance (i.e, heavy 60m carry and 3-4 downsets at same weight but carry to 30m). For sandbag movements, these will be the most beneficial in creating power. We will be generating power from our hips as we extend throwing the bag/D-ball over our shoulder. If you have these tools, give these exercises a try on active rest days or for accessory work on shorter training days.
Jump, Jump, Jump Around:
Doing jumps (plyometrics) is a great way to develop power and explosiveness. There are tons and tons of options to use for doing jumps for your training. Ideally, I would recommend saving any types of jumps for your active recovery day. We want to be completely fresh when we do these so we can generate the most power and gain the most benefit. Something very important to keep in mind, we want to keep the reps low on these. These are not meant to be used as a hypertrophy exercise. We can gain the most from doing reps between 3-5 jumps. As I stated earlier, there are tons of exercises to do. The most simple exercise to do is a standard box jump. Again, there are different variations to do (seated box jumps, single leg box jumps, depth box jumps). Another good exercise to do are broad jumps. This is a good exercise to use to focus on full extension and really exploding forward. It is also fun to have mini competitions.
As weightlifters, cardio is not our best quality. We are not going to willingly go outside and run 5 miles. Plus, it would not make sense for us to do that. Instead, we want to focus on short bursts of speed and power. There are a couple ways we can do achieve this goal. Sprinting is a very good way to work on generating power in your legs. This does not mean you have to go to a track and sprint a 100 m dash ten times. If you have enough space at your gym or even where you live, you can do a few sets of sprints up to 30-50 m. Sprints have the same type of concept as jumps. We want to keep the distance shorter to really focus on that power and explosiveness. If you are looking for a little variety, we can also do sprints on a stationary bike. Again, I am not talking about biking for distance. We want to think short bursts of power. The way we can achieve this is to go max effort for 15-20 seconds or calories. The rest afterwards should be pretty generous due to the fact that we want to be fresh for all rounds.
These are some examples of how you can switch things up in your training when you find yourself in a slump. It is better to be an athlete than a robot. Thank you for reading!