The Olympic lifts are amazing exercises for displaying athleticism. They can also be effective for building it, too. Olympic lifters have some of the best vertical leaps on the planet.
Should YOU use these exercises to see the same benefit? Well, are you willing to devote months or years to improving technique and flexibility? If not, you're better off adopting easier-to-learn exercises that have similar benefits.
What are the Olympic lifts known for developing? Violent, aggressive hip and knee extension. This translates to better sport performance, improves your squats and deadlifts, and builds a powerful set of glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Master these exercises below and you can get the benefits without so much technique practice.
Heavy Kettlebell Swing
Light kettlebell swings for high reps are great for conditioning, but you can get away with being slower with your hip extension. With a heavy kettlebell (40kg/88lbs or higher), that sucker isn't moving if you aren't aggressive with your hips.
You need powerful hips in this exercise, just like the clean. Add them into your training program for 5-8 reps per set. Focus on getting your hips straight back and pushing through the floor with your heels.
Don't let the simplicity fool you. This exercise will improve your explosive strength like a box jump. I prefer it over box jumps for three reasons:
- You can learn to receive the force when landing. Accepting the eccentric force is a skill that we don't develop enough.
- You can focus more on how high you jump, rather than the height of the box.
- You're not as likely to filet your shins if you mess something up. Too many shins have been lost trying to box jump.
Do 5-8 reps. Focus on pushing hard into the floor through your feet and getting your hips up as high as possible.