Even the sheer name strikes fear into people who are maybe a little overwhelmed by gyms and exercise.
Then they learn a little more about it, and the fear only grows!
And we have to admit, it does look pretty scary. Muscly people at the Olympics lifting heavy weights over their heads are definitely pretty intimidating.
But if we dig a little deeper, it turns out that not only is Olympic Weightlifting not as crazy as it seems, but it’s actually one of the most important and underutilised styles of training for people of all shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life.
It’s of particular importance for people who see exercise as an important part of their long term health. And there are two big benefits.
Increase in fast twitch muscle fibres:
As we age, we lose muscle… but not just any muscle. We lose the muscle fibres that specialise in fast movement. And you’ve probably noticed this with people as they age. Sure, they lose strength, but you may have noticed that they also lose speed. Everything slows down.
The fancy name for this is ‘preferential atrophy’, which basically means we lose speed even faster than we lose strength.
Olympic lifting is the perfect antidote. Because it’s a form of exercise that increases our power (being able to lift weights quickly), it helps to hold on to (and even increase) these ‘fast twitch muscle fibres’.
Preventing cognitive decline:
There’s a school of thought that says we should stick with the exercise basics, because they’re easier to learn, and therefore you can get a physical benefit straight away.
But we don’t just exercise for physical benefit. In many cases (particularly as we age) the mental and cognitive benefit can be even more important.
We all know that when it comes to our minds, it’s a matter of ‘use it or lose it’. It’s why there’s so much evidence of the benefits of crosswords and Sudoku puzzles to help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Olympic lifting can be challenging to learn. But far from a reason not to do it, this is exactly why it’s so good for your mind.
Learning new complex skills means that not only will you get all the physical benefits of Olympic Weightlifting, but you’ll get the cognitive benefits too.
Is Olympic Weightlifting one of the tools you’re using to maximise your long term health? If not, adding it in might just be life changing.