Olympic Lifting is a power sport consisting of two lifts:
- The Snatch
- The Clean and Jerk
Both techniques require excellent flexibility, although it may not seem this way from a casual onlooker. The sport requires great flexibility in the hips, knee and ankles. Moreover, the spine, shoulders and scapula need proper mobility for the optimum strength output.
While Snatch requires an ability to squat deep, the Clean and Jerk also calls for hip flexors and upper adductors flexibility. Lifters are constantly surprised by the amount of additional weight they can lift, once deeper flexibility is developed.
Mobility and Strength
The reason mobility has so much impact on strength is simple. The strongest range of the muscle contraction is in mid range. Not in deep range (start) and not in short range (end) of the movement. By becoming more flexible the lifter, extends the mid-range (strongest range) into the previously deep (and weak) range.
Standard Olympic Lifting stretches involve either passive, relaxed stretches or dynamic light weight warm up. The former slows down the muscle contractions, and the later does not build long term flexibility. Kinesiological stretching techniques take different approach:
- Each muscle is taken apart. Each is quickly targeted one by one. This allows to find where the tightness is and focus in on it.
- Because of kinesiological stretching action vs action technique, the pain of stretch reflex is avoided. This allows for very fast flexibility gains.
- Together with the flexibility exercises, skill specific strength exercises are shown. This allows to develop strength in deep ranges and direct it into the skill right away.
- Many of the students are able to become comfortable in deeper ranges and increase the weight right away.
This program also contains exercises to improve the extension of the lower and middle spine. At the same time the neck flexibility is worked to comfortably get the head out of the way during the Jerk.
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