Why Olympic Weightlifting Will Make You a Better Sprinter


As an athlete, life is less complicated if you end up quick. In many sports activities, sprinting velocity is without doubt one of the predominate bodily traits that differentiates an athlete’s degree of enjoying means(1)(7).

Sprint training is usually riddled with gimmicky drills. Coaches and athletes are at all times determined to study any new trick that may assist them slash their dash instances. Becoming a higher sprinter doesn’t must be difficult, and there are undoubtedly no tips to getting quick. If you may possess the pliability to maneuver effectively with out restriction, and also you train to place extra drive into the bottom at a quicker price, you’ll have the ability to run quicker.

Sprinting is clearly paramount to enhancing sprinting efficiency, however off the observe, Olympic weightlifting actions might be an athlete’s subsequent greatest instrument to reinforce sprinting velocity.

Factors Affecting Sprint Performance

To dash quick, it’s essential to run with environment friendly kind and produce enormous floor contact forces with each foot strike(6). Many coaches and biomechanists debate what’s the most idealistic mannequin of dash kind, however on the foundational degree there’s an settlement on a few attributes that each good sprinter wants.

An athlete should possess sufficient unrestricted vary of movement on the ankle, knee, and hip. If any flexibility restriction exists, there’s an elevated threat that there shall be unfavorable deviations in decrease limb operating mechanics that may have an effect on stride size, stride frequency, and posture. The world’s greatest dash teaching instruction can’t overcome an athlete’s incapacity to maneuver their limbs on the angles crucial for environment friendly drive utility and restoration.

[Related: 3 Movements to Increase Hip Mobility for Weightlifting, Squats, and Functional Fitness.]

A powerful core is important to take care of a operating posture that retains the pelvis in a comparatively impartial place all through a dash. At the identical time, the core wants to maximise hip flexion and extension whereas adequately stabilizing the weight and rotational forces appearing upon the runner’s torso. The hip flexors play a position within the speedy restoration of the stance leg following foot strike, and the knee extensors should be eccentrically sturdy to take care of optimum vertical stiffness at high velocity.

The hip extensors (glutes, hamstrings, and adductor magnus) have the best position in operating velocity. These muscle teams present the propulsion to drive the runner ahead, and their proportional contribution relative to different decrease physique musculature will increase with growing operating velocity. This implies that throughout a dash when quicker speeds are reached, the hip extensors burden to propel a runner ahead vastly will increase.

Sprint Specificity of the Olympic Lifts

Olympic weightlifting is an superior complement to dash training as a result of it should improve all of the requisite attributes to run quicker.


Performing weightlifting actions similar to a full snatch or overhead squat will construct flexibility within the ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders(3). Motion round these joints play a essential position in executing an optimum operating gait. An overhead squat has typically been espoused because the king of all mobility exercises, and all sprinters ought to reap the advantage of this exercise for the upkeep of optimum movement.

[Learn extra: Your ankle, knee, and hip mobility checklist for the overhead squat.]

Core Strength

The particular kind of core strength wanted for sprinting is sometimes called bracing strength. A sprinter’s core should stay impartial and stiff to soak up and switch floor contact forces that may exceed 4x body weight at maximal operating velocity.

Core strength, particularly bracing strength, is greatest developed with axial loaded actions similar to a again squat or entrance squat and overhead actions similar to push presses, jerks, and snatch variations. These actions are sometimes staples in any training program making use of the Olympic weightlifting actions. The extraordinarily heavy hundreds that can be utilized provide a wonderful training stimulus for the event of core bracing strength.

Hip Extension

Improved hip extension energy is probably the most wanted advantage of the Olympic weightlifting actions in sports activities efficiency(5). While there are numerous common and efficient exercises that enhance hip extension strength similar to deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, and good mornings; these strength training exercises lack the rate specificity crucial for optimum switch to improved operating velocity. When sprinting, drive utility to the bottom happens in lower than 150 milliseconds. This is just not sufficient time to generate maximal drive, the precise strength being developed when strength training.

The second pull of the clear or snatch, or jerk drive are hip extension actions that happen at a lot increased velocities that higher switch to improved sprinting efficiency. Not solely is there nice specificity in hip extension velocity when utilizing Olympic weightlifting actions, there’s additionally higher joint angle specificity. When sprinting, forces are utilized to the bottom when the leg is comparatively straight and hip practically absolutely prolonged. The vary of movement the place the very best velocities and energy outputs are produced in Olympic weightlifting actions happen on the conclusion of the second pull within the clear or snatch and jerk drive, the place the leg can also be practically straight and hip practically absolutely prolonged(2).

Practical Application

If enhanced sprinting velocity is the first aim of an athlete, sprinting should at all times be the cornerstone of the training program making all different modes of exercise secondary. Olympic weightlifting actions needs to be the best choice for a secondary part of a dash training program as they tackle lots of the elements affecting sprinting efficiency.

When programmed appropriately, Olympic weightlifting actions are prescribed at excessive intensities and low training volumes. This is a appropriate prescription to optimize power outputs and motion velocities, whereas additionally producing minimal fatigue and muscular soreness. Speed and energy traits degrade in a fatigued state, so velocity can solely be expressed on the observe when an athlete has recent legs.

Power variations of the clear and snatch, the place a lifter receives the barbell in a partial squat place, are fascinating exercise variations since they might assist to develop the eccentric strength with the knee and hip in prolonged angles upon receipt of the barbell. Eccentric strength on the knee and hip at prolonged leg angles may help to take care of vertical stiffness at maximal operating velocity.

Additionally, power cleans and snatches might be started from a mid-thigh place (grasp or from blocks) for joint angle specificity. From a mid-thigh start place, the knees and hips start in a practically prolonged place the place drive utility is most crucial in sprinting. This may also additional cut back the fatigue of Olympic lifting by eliminating the additional work of the first pull within the actions.

[Looking for a program? Read extra from the writer: How to include Olympic weightlifting into your athletic training here.]

Wrapping Up

Getting quicker might be a robust battle, however Olympic weightlifting actions may help you win the combat. They possess lots of the particular qualities crucial for enhanced sprinting velocity, and they are often executed with out producing a lot of undue fatigue that may set you again on the operating observe. If they aren’t at present included in your velocity training program, the Olympics lifts might be the lacking link wanted to dash quicker and separate your self from the competitors.

Featured picture by way of @dwightdagreat on Instagram.


1. Abrantes, C., Maçãs, V., & Sampaio, J. (2004). Variation in soccer gamers’ dash check efficiency throughout completely different ages and ranges of competitors. Journal of sports activities science & drugs, 3(YISI 1), 44-9.
2. Garhammer, J. (1980). Power manufacturing by Olympic weightlifters. Medicine and science in sports activities and exercise, 12(1), 54.
3. Hedrick, A., Wada, H. (2008). Weightlifting Movements: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks? Strength & Conditioning Journal. Dec. Volume 30 – Issue 6 – p 26-35
4. Jensen, C., and G. Fisher (1990). Scientific Basis of Athletic Conditioning (2nd ed.). Philadelphia,PA: Lea and Febiger.
5. Suchomel, T. J., Comfort, P., & Stone, M. H. (2015). Weightlifting pulling derivatives: Rationale for implementation and utility. Sports Medicine, 45(6), 823-839
6. Weyand, P. et. al. (2000). Faster high operating speeds are achieved with higher floor forces no more fast leg actions. Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol. 89, Issue 5 pg. 1991-1999
7. Young, WB et al. (2005) Physiological and anthropometric traits of starters and non-starters and enjoying positions in elite Australian Rules soccer: a case research Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport , Volume 8 , Issue 3 , 333 – 345



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