4 Reasons You Should Have Olympic Lifts In Your Bodybuilding Routine

sumo deadlift

Olympia meets Olympics.

Bodybuilding is all about hypertrophy. Building muscle is the reason for exercise after all and that means working your muscles hard until they experience hypertrophy. This, of course, promotes growth. Because a dedicated bodybuilder is going to want their entire body to be proportionate – that means working multiple muscle groups with a number of different exercises that will ensure the overall package is well defined.

But despite shaping an aesthetic physique bodybuilding does little in the way of increasing your overall strength. As an athlete, a bodybuilder should want to make improvements to more than just their physique. For that reason, adding some Olympic lifts to your routine is a great way both improve your strength as well as gain muscle.

While many people will say that Olympic lifters don’t look all that impressive physically, particularly when compared to a bodybuilder, the fact is that they possess great strength and can in fact build a great amount of muscle depending on how they train. The reason many Olympic lifters don’t have a godly physical appearance is because they’re focused on technique and improving the specific Olympic lifts.

Usually they just want to get the bar up by performing either the snatch or the clean and jerk, both movements emphasizing strength, explosion, and speed. Because of this, the time they spend under tension is limited to a few seconds at best. Undergoing hypertrophy means having increased time under tension to really tax the muscle and get them to grow.

Despite that fact, you should definitely try adding the Olympic style training to your routine. But why you ask? Well, here’s a list of reasons on how you’ll see some drastic improvements.

Provides cardiovascular training

The explosive movements you must utilize in order to lift the bar from the ground during your training is much the same as sprinting. The distance of the bar movement while performing the Olympic lifts, several feet from floor to over head, means utilizing more of the body’s core mechanics, the same you’d use if you were running on a track. Compared that to lifting a dumbbell and you’ll see which requires more cardiovascular strength.

It’s a total body workout

Olympic lifts are also a great tool for getting a total body workout. You can’t just perform the snatch and clean and jerk and call it a day. Olympic style training requires you to have good fundamentals in the deadlift and the front and back squats. You’ll be training those lifts along with the Olympics lifts which will ensure your entire body is being worked.

The increased strength and explosion

This should be a no brainer. Having increased strength and explosion in your lifts will easily translate over to improvements in all your lifts. That includes bodybuilding staples like the bench, squat, and the deadlift. Training the Olympic lifts means overall performance gains.

Easy to add to a routine

The movements can easily be added to any of the routines you do in the gym. It can be added at the beginning or the end of your training session. If done correctly they can be great for crashing through a plateau or just generally improving your abilities. Try a light form at the beginning of your workout for a great warm up or at the end to thrash an already taxed body.

Do you have Olympic lifts in your routine? Let us know in the comments and forums. Be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook and Twitter.

Jacob Ladon
Jacob Ladon is a staff writer and former amateur bodybuilder. He has been passionate about bodybuilding since he was 15 years old and discovered the joys of training in the gym. He reports and comments on all bodybuilding related matters.