Today I had the first of a two day course for certification as an Olympic lift weightlifting coach. Already, I can see and feel some of the benefits of this training. Personally, I can imagine how these benefits could improve my health and athletic performance. I am also excited to clinically integrate this information with my diverse patient populations. I would argue more people than you would expect could benefit from these concepts or adapted concepts.
I started incorporating many of the mobility exercises and stretches, noticing significant improvements in my ability to perform the clearing tests. In some instances, I utilized some of my previously learned mobility or motor control techniques to increase my motion for the lifts. Having functional flexibility goals helps to motivate me and see functional gains. Along similar lines, when actually performing many of the techniques you have an opportunity to use that new found flexibility in that functional context.
In a sport like running, my primary sport, flexibility aids in performance and injury prevention. It is a little harder to perform these fixes while running. It is also hard to train into these end range motions you just acquired, particularly when going on a standard distance run. Beyond the short term anecdotal findings, past research has found that strength and power activities can positivy impact running performance. I think it would be reasonable see that same effect here. That is why my short experience here is particularly encouraging with my history as a runner.
The other major benefit is strength and more importantly power development. For most people we rarely work at a high enough intensity level to maximize strength and power gains. These are particularly important areas to address as we age. Increased loading is needed to improve bone mineral density. To catch ourselves when falling we benefit have an increased ability to prevent or slow down a fall when we can create more power. Either by starting in our youth or possibly initiating modified programs with a geriatric population we could potentially limit the devastating consequences of falls.
I know I am just beginning my orientation to the world of Olympic lifts, but I am pumped about all this potential that I see. Like any other activity or sport are there limitations, but right now I believe there are more potential benefits for me and some of my patients. Like most activities, moving more tends to be better than moving less. Supervised and gradual immersion into activity is the best way to mitigate this risk. I myself still have a lot to learn and understand how to apply. I hope to keep sharing some of this progress with you as I continue my journey.
Hope this helps,