Here’s What Can Go Wrong For You in Olympic Weightlifting

Published 06/26/2021, 5:32 AM EDT

One of the most heroic physical feats one can do is lift a big blob of weight over their head. Seeing athletes lift tonnes of weight over their head inspires us all to perform such a feat in whatever our capacity we can.


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Weightlifting is one of the most physically taxing sports, no doubt. However, it is all worth it when the barbell is over your head.

In pursuit of that feeling, we often neglect our bodies. However, lifting weights like this can be harmful to us as time progresses. Some of the most successful Olympic weightlifters are not privy to these injuries.


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For Olympic weightlifting, the two lifts that are judged on are currently being judged on are clean and jerk and the snatch.

However, an athlete cannot restrict to these two lifts only. Olympic weightlifting is a very demanding sport, not unlike the other sports. In order to excel at the lifts, an athlete has to strengthen all parts of their body.

This is primarily because the snatch and the clean and jerk engages all parts during various parts of the lift. However, the shoulder grill and the knee are the two major body parts that get heavily strained while performing the lifts.

Overexposure to these lifts leads to some cumulative injuries.

Some common injuries resulting from Olympic Weightlifting

One of the most common exercises that a weightlifter needs to excel at is the squat. The Squat, back, and front both, need a really heavy practice, that too on a regular basis. Many weightlifters practice the squat and its variations twice or thrice a week.

That too at 80-85 percent of their 1 rep max. This is essential for the holistic development of the quadriceps, the muscles that drive off the “whole” in the Olympic lifts. Overdevelopment of these muscles puts an excessive strain on the knee.

Many weightlifters have reported having multiple issues with their knees. The most common of these is patellofemoral pain syndrome. It happens directly due to heavy squats initially, where the pain is only reported when squatting heavy.

However, as the condition progresses, it is reported even with less weight.

Needless to say, a solid base of good form is highly essential to progress as a weightlifter. It is also crucial to progress in terms of weights. Good form also minimizes the risks of sudden injuries.

Most Olympic lifting camps spend a hefty amount of time on developing the perfect form for the squat. On the face of it, squatting is a very basic exercise.

Keep the bar squarely on your shoulders, decent down so that your hips are below a parallel level to the ground. But it requires tonnes of practice, patience, to get it down to a T. That too, under the watchful eye of a coach.

After the knees, the shoulder girdle is something that comes under constant strain. Development of the deltoids along with the rotator cuffs is essential to push off the weight from the shoulder. Or, in the case of the snatch, directly hoist it over the head.

Strengthening of the deltoid muscles is attained with hypertrophy of the muscles. However, specific attention to strengthening the rotator cuff is essential to avoid a rupture.

Exercises like rotator cuff raises and overhead dumbbell flys are generally recommended to close strength gaps between the deltoids and the rotator cuffs.


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Even though strengthening of the lifts themselves is the foremost priority of a weightlifter, but due diligence should be given to muscle strengthening.


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Akshit Pushkarna

94 articles

Akshit Pushkarna, who has a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication, is an MMA writer for EssentiallySports. Before his current role, Akshit worked on the Urban Development beat at the Urban Update magazine. However, combat sports always called out to Akshit, who pursued both boxing and wrestling at a regional level before shifting his focus to MMA journalism.



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