The Olympic lifts are terrific to incorporate into any serious sports performance program. My only concern is when
athletes are unsure how to perform them correctly still try to utilize these lifts. This is really where injuries may occur.
If one is taught these lifts properly they are far from dangerous and can provide numerous benefits. I would suggest if someone
were interested in learning the lifts to find an USA Weightlifting Coach in their area.
Ok, so how do the Olympic lifts and their variations help the vertical jump? As I mentioned earlier the hips are
primarily responsible for the success in a vertical jump. What the Olympic lifts do is teach the lifter how to use their hips
explosively. This ability to translate force will allow one to utilize the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) more efficiently
leading to a better jump. A good example of the power of the SSC is the following. Try to jump, but before you explode up
hold the bottom position for four seconds. Measure how high you jump. Next, dip down as fast as possible and come back up
as fast as possible. See a difference? Chances are you saw significance between your two efforts, the second jump being much
The other benefit from the Olympic lifts is if you use their full movements you can greatly increase the flexibility
in major joints such as the hips and shoulder girdle. The Overhead squat, Drop Snatch, and others are great exercises to develop
overall body strength and power. However, they will still increase range of motion in all important areas.
If you would like a stronger example of the impact of the lifts let us look at the following. I would like to thank
my colleague Chad Ikei for the following information. This excerpt is from his article "Pulling To Jump Higher."
"Nicu Vlad of Romania, World Record holder and Two time Olympic Medallist, came to the United States back in 1990,
with now current U.S. National and Olympic Team Coach Dragomir Cioroslan, for a training camp. It was here at the U.S. Olympic
Training Center in Colorado Springs, that this 100-kg (220 lbs) weightlifter recorded a 42" vertical jump. Not to mention
he was in weightlifting shoes, which weighs a lot more than tennis shoes and no formal warm-up. (Snatch 200 kg, Clean and
Jerk 232.5 kg)