As a coach we are often faced with the questions as to which exercises to select for our programs. The objective is always to improve the overall performance of our clients. Exercise selection is very important because each exercise is a stepping-stone on the path to the end result, the clients’ goal. The question then becomes when to implement one exercise over another?
Exercises implementation of the Olympic lifts: the snatch, and the clean and jerk are often used only within athletes’ programs. Most trainers and coaches are not familiar enough with the technique to even make use of these two lifts. However, these Olympic lifts are two of the best multi-jointed exercises trainers and coaches can integrate into their training programs. These two lifts are two of the hardest to coach as well as to perform. Although, if a coach or trainer were to invest the time educating themselves on these lifts, the rewards for their clients would demonstrate time well spent.
For the who trains daily if the objective of weight loss, or change body composition, then big multi-joint total body exercises must be integrated into their programs. Both the snatch and the clean and jerk are full body exercises. The lifts activate and recruit a plethora of major muscle groups, such as hip extensors (glutaels, hamstring, quadriceps), and posterior chain upper body muscles like, latissimiss dorsi, rear deltoids, trapezius, and the erector spinae just to name a few.
The Olympic lifts are difficult to master due to the technical expertise they require. So, before integrating the Olympic lifts into a training program, coaches and trainers should make sure to teach a great foundation for these lifts through exercises like the squat, front squat and dead lift. A client must also demonstrate a level of comfort with holding weight over their head. Coaches and trainers should only introduce the Olympic lifts when clients have demonstrated proficiency with these exercises.
The calorie expenditure concept is the ability to burn more calories then you ingest to create weight loss. Therefore the perfect reason to implement big movements like the snatch and clean and jerk are because of the energy required to perform them. Force production is the ability to move a static object (the weight + bar) as quickly as possible. The snatch and clean and jerk require a great amount force generated to complete the movements. For any client desiring a change in their body composition or wanting to shed pounds, it is in this instantaneous need for energy in generating such force in a total body effort that will increase the calorie expenditure and result in a positive change in weight loss or body composition.
Since clients only have a short amount of total time in the gym per week, it is your responsibility to maximize that time, in order to achieve your goals as efficiently as possible. Therefore, to get the most out of your clients, use full body exercises. Otherwise, you are designing training programs with multiple exercises to achieve the same results that could be obtained with just two total body exercises, thus making your programs less efficient. If you haven’t learned the snatch and the clean and jerk yet, invest the time in doing so. Anything else is an inefficient use of your time and a disservice to your clients.
Joe Gernetzke CSCS