In recent years Olympic lifting has become more and more popular with an ever increasing amount of press. Various strength coaches have touted the lifts (the clean and jerk and the snatch) as being essential for optimum physical development and athletic performance. But what does that mean for the average personal trainer?
Firstly, very few commercial gyms and fitness/health clubs have the equipment necessary for proper Olympic lifting. The very minimum required is a platform and bumper plates, both of which are essential if missed/failed lifts are to be dropped safely and without damaging equipment. Secondly, if you understand the progressions used in coaching Olympic lifting, many are not only safer for the typical client, but will also produce the same or better results.
So where should you start? One of the best bang for buck exercises is the high hang power clean. Good Olympic lifting coaches understand that the full lifts are highly complex movements and progress athletes accordingly. In contrast, the high hang power clean has a very short learning curve and requires minimum skill to pick up.
To perform this lift correctly, start with a bar held at arms length against the thighs and the hips slightly flexed, with the shins remaining vertical. Snap the hips forward and at the same time shrug the shoulders up towards the ears. You should generate enough force to elevate the bar to around shoulder height. As the bar passes nipple height, push the elbows up and under the bar and catch it across the shoulders. Reverse the movement to lower it quickly, but under control, back to the starting position.
An excellent choice for both metabolic conditioning and fat loss, this should be a go to tool in any personal trainers toolbox.