olympic lifts

Do Olympic Lifts Build Muscle? We Asked the Experts

The clean and jerk and the snatch are two of the most challenging exercises you can do in the gym, but do they build muscle? The answer depends on whom you ask, but there’s one thing everyone can agree on – these lifts will certainly help you get stronger, especially when used in conjunction with proper nutrition and weight training. Keep reading to learn more about whether Olympic lifts build muscle or not, plus some tips to help you perfect these challenging exercises.

What Are The Benefits Of Olympic Lifting

Ask any Olympic athlete what their favorite sport is and you’re guaranteed to hear one of two answers: weightlifting or gymnastics. That’s because both sports offer athletes an unparalleled opportunity to build muscle while also improving flexibility, agility, balance, speed, and overall athleticism.

A lot of people think that Olympic lifts are all about getting strong—and they can be used for that purpose—but there are a variety of reasons why these movements were included in each of these sports (and many others). If you’re interested in adding them to your workout program, here’s how and why you should do so.

Are Olimpic Lifts Practical?

Olympic lifts are great—they’re explosive, they’re fun to watch, and they make you feel like a badass. Unfortunately, most people don’t have access to Olympic training facilities or coaches who can teach them how to perform them correctly. And if you do train at a commercial gym, using heavy weights for these exercises is typically frowned upon. It doesn’t take long for an inexperienced lifter with a bad form to get injured when trying to execute an Olympic lift.

What muscles do Olympic lifts work?

Unfortunately, that depends. Some Olympic lifts—like snatches and cleans—are full-body exercises that involve nearly every muscle in your body. Others—like jerks, push presses, and split jerks—work smaller muscles like your shoulders, arms, core, and glutes.

Some lifts will work more of your body than others do while some build [sic] explosiveness and power better than others do, says Nick Tumminello MS CSCS founder of Performance University. In general, almost all lift variations will make you stronger.

Is It Safe To Begin Weightlifting If I Am A Beginner?

Any exercise that helps you move better and more freely is valuable, but weightlifting has been shown to offer a number of benefits. With that said, if you are new to working out or new to resistance training, it’s important to talk with your doctor before you begin any program—particularly something as intense as competitive weightlifting.

Your doctor will be able to tell you what exercises and activities are good for you and which could cause trouble. If your fitness goals include building muscle, it’s best to first focus on getting strong through basic lifts like squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, and rows. These compound movements will help build muscle in a safe way while also improving overall movement quality.

How Often Should I Lift Weights

It depends on your fitness goals. If you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to get comfortable with basic weight training first. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends doing one or two sets of eight to 12 repetitions at moderate weight for each exercise, twice a week—or three days in a row with a day off between sessions—to improve strength and muscle tone.

As you grow stronger, gradually increase your weight load and number of repetitions over time. Once you can easily do five reps with an extra-heavy weight, you’ll probably want to add in one more set and eventually consider hiring a trainer who can show you how to lift safely and avoid injury by using proper form.

What Weightlifting Programs Should I Follow

Rather than thinking about weightlifting as a whole, it’s better to think of it in terms of different methods, or programs. The most common programs are: powerlifting, weight-training for athletic performance (gymnastics), and CrossFit. You might also see some less common programs like sheiko and 5×5 three days a week. No matter what you choose, keep in mind that there isn’t one program that is better than another; they all work under certain circumstances.

What are the 6 Olympic lifts?

The six lifts in the weightlifting competition are:

  • snatch
  • clean and jerk
  • long jump
  • shot put
  • discus throw
  • javelin throw.

Weightlifters compete in one of seven bodyweight categories (the heaviest category is open). The goal of a weightlifter is to achieve as many points as possible through technique and proper lifting form. Scoring occurs when an athlete lifts above his or her head three times in succession during a competition; once at mid-thigh level and twice above that. Each lift is also worth a certain number of points; see below for what each type of lift contributes to your overall score.


In our society we have culturally agreed-upon standards of beauty, says Dr. Gulati. Many women look at those ideals and believe that’s how they should look. I

If you find yourself constantly comparing your own body to others, think about why you feel compelled to do so. This can help you move away from any bad idols that might be influencing your perception and instead focus on healthy goals that will help you achieve a happier body.

Who Can Benefit From Olympic Lifting

A common misconception is that you have to be an elite athlete to perform Olympic lifts. This isn’t true at all. Anybody can benefit from performing them and they can be done by anybody of any fitness level or experience level.

Regardless of your sport, you may notice improvements in your game after adding these lifts into your routine—which is something professional athletes do for better performance, too. But don’t let yourself think you need a professional or competitive side to benefit from weightlifting. A full-body workout like a weighted squat will help with everyday tasks like carrying groceries and lifting furniture around when you move houses.

Commonly Asked Questions

Here are some of our most frequently asked questions about weightlifting and CrossFit. Do I need to join a gym to get fit? How often should I work out? What is a weightlifting plateau, and how do I break through it? The list goes on, so here are answers to some of your most pressing questions. Whether you’re just getting started or looking for a little more guidance in your fitness journey, we hope you find these helpful!

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