“Weightlifting” as opposed to “weight lifting” or “weight-training,” refers to the Olympic sport, which includes the “clean and jerk” and the “snatch.” Weightlifting, as it is often referred to, develops strength (especially in the hips), speed, and power like no other training modality. It is little known that successful weightlifting requires substantial flexibility. Olympic weightlifters are as flexible as any athletes.
The benefits of weightlifting do not end with strength, speed, power, and flexibility. The clean and jerk and the snatch both develop coordination, agility, accuracy, and balance and to no small degree. Both of these lifts are as nuanced and challenging as any movement in all of sport. Moderate competency in the Olympic lifts confers added prowess to any sport.
The Olympic lifts are based on the deadlift, clean, squat, and jerk. These movements are the starting point for any serious weight-training program. In fact they should serve as the core of your resistance training throughout your life.
Why the deadlift, clean, squat, and jerk? Because these movements elicit a profound neuroendocrine response. That is, they alter you hormonally and neurologically. The changes that occur through these movements are essential to athletic development. Most of the development that occurs as a result of exercise is systemic and a direct result of hormonal and neurological changes.
Curls, lateral raises, leg extensions, leg curls, flyes, and other bodybuilding movements have no place in a serious strength and conditioning program primarily because they have a blunted neuroendocrine response. A distinctive feature of these relatively worthless movements is that they have no functional analog in everyday life and they work only one joint at a time. Compare this to the deadlift, clean, squat, and jerk which are functional and multi-joint movements.
Start your weightlifting career with the deadlift, clean, squat, and jerk then introduce the “clean and jerk” and snatch.