If your pre-workout prep consists of a cup of coffee and a few squats, Bill Starr has some advice for you.
As every Olympic lifter fully understands, doing full snatches and clean and jerks requires a high degree of flexibility in every part of the body. All the major muscle groups and corresponding attachments are involved in the two competitive lifts: shoulder girdle, back, and hips and legs. A lack of flexibility in the shoulders will prevent the lifter from locking out snatches and jerks. It may also keep him from racking a weight on his shoulders while cleaning. Tightness in the hips will have an adverse affect on getting into a low position for snatches and cleans.
Because every part of the body is activated during the execution of the two Olympic lifts, every joint and muscle group needs to be given some attention before doing any heavy lifting. And this is where there is confusion between the two disciplines needed to enhance flexibility: warming up and stretching. While closely related, they are not the same. Merely stretching a muscle or joint isn’t sufficient preparation for a heavy session in the weight room that will be filled with complicated athletic movements.
In this article, I will explain why warming up and stretching are both vital disciplines for all Olympic lifters. Everyone knows a warm muscle is more elastic and reacts better to movement than a cold one. And it’s only common sense to know supple muscles are less prone to injury than tight ones.