Snatch and Clean & Jerk for Athletes!

I’m going to attempt to make this as reader friendly as possible for parents and athletes!

First, let me explain what a weightlifting program includes. In the sport of weightlifting, we compete in the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. Our main goal is to get as good at those lifts as possible. To do so it includes a lot more than just those two exercises. Here is a short list of what a weightlifting program includes:

Snatch / Clean and Jerk

Front Squat

Back Squat

Snatch Pull / Clean Pull

Deadlifts / RDL’s

Push Press

Military Press


And many variations of all the above…..

All of these above exercises have been proven to have a large impact on athletic performance. Yet are rarely highlighted in athlete development programs. Let's dig


Be More Powerful

Most can understand and often recognize a “powerful athlete.” This is actually something that can be developed. Think of power as having Fast Strength or Strength-Speed (hitting a baseball, tackling, changing directions quickly, jumping, throwing, etc.). The weightlifting movements are extremely effective in developing this due to the fact that the goal is to move heavy weight as fast as possible.

The Athletic Stance

Let’s look at it even more simply. Here is a picture of a typical athletic stance. Knees bent, hips back, shoulders forward, chest and eyes up. The reason for this position is to be ready to react quickly and explode into a run or jump.

Now look at the middle position of the clean and snatch. Looks very similar, doesn’t it? Ready to explode upwards with the weight. The position from the knee to the extension of the clean/snatch has an extremely high rate of force development and measures significantly higher than things like plyometrics, squats, and deadlifts alone. Not that those don’t have a place in training but this should help draw a direct link between the biomechanical positioning of the weightlifting movements and the typical athletic stance where an athlete is ready to react quickly.

Weightlifting Myths

“Weightlifting is dangerous.”

Weightlifting has shown to have extremely low injury rate, especially when compared to other sports like football and soccer. Also, most injuries in weightlifting are avoidable with proper coaching where one helps develop the proper form and technique along with understanding how much volume and intensity an athlete needs.

“It takes too long to develop the technique to get any benefits.”

This one drives me crazy and is just lazy. 1) It doesn’t take long under proper coaching and adequate exposure. 2) There are other less complex exercises still trained within a weightlifting program that athletes can benefit from right away. (squats, pulls, presses, plyometrics). 3) Don’t let an athlete learn that if something is hard and takes time then they should just skip it. Put in the time and reap the long term benefits.

‘We already do power cleans and squats at school.”

Now, this is how you can rapidly end an athletic career. Athletes, kids, teens, adults, etc. need to learn how to lift from a trained professional. This doesn’t mean just anyone who has a history of weightlifting or lifting weights. This means an experience USA Weightlifting Certified Coach that works or has worked with athletes for years. You would be surprised what a 3 month training program with a good coach can result in. Find a local club and get with them!


Athletes who weightlift will develop more strength, speed, power, force, coordination and more. . They will jump higher, sprint faster, throw and hit harder, become more mobile, develop stronger joints, and more. Find a local or not so local club nearby and get started!

If you are interested in BlueWave Weightlifting feel free to email me at:

Check out BlueWave Athlete Gage Harris hitting a 120kg (264lb) Snatch at Nationals as a 73kg Lifter CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO

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