Weightlifting is surely a lot about strength and technique, but like we’ve recently seen with the Chinese weightlifting school, stretching and mobility play a big part in building a champion.
Imagine buying a brand new Chevrolet Corvette, and feeling like there’s something wrong, like it could put out more power. It surely felt more powerful when you went for a test ride. That’s because you’re driving it with the handbrake pulled. No big deal right?
In weightlifting, that “handbrake” is stiff muscles. They will prevent you from getting in the right positions and generate the right angles, and wrong angles will make the barbell travel on a sub-optimal path. You won’t be able to put out the power that you could potentially generate.
Consider this set of stretching exercises like a “Swiss Army Knife”, every lifter, newbie or expert, will practice them on regular basis. This will help you releasing the handbrake and put out more power in your weightlifting training.
Usually the most problematic area. This is your car’s transmission, to do another automotive example. The engine (legs) will need the transmission to address the power vectors on the most vertical direction possible. Bad hips mobility will lead to both a bad starting and bad finishing position, and let’s not even try to imagine the random trajectory the bar will follow on its way up.
Not as problematic as the hips, ankles are probably the second main mobility problem in Olympic Weightlifting. Lifters with issues in this area won’t be able to push their knees beyond the barbell in the starting position, and are also very unlikely to break parallel in a squat while keeping their chest upright.
While the first two problematic areas are usually the result of a sedentary lifestyle, this one has a genetic component to it. If both a lifter’s parents would fail an Apley’s scratch test, their child is very likely to fail it too. There’s many ways to work around it and adjust the angles when it comes to going overhead, but still, stretching will help you write bigger numbers on your training log.
Two thin bones supporting other 35 thinner bones of which 8 are part of a joint that can rotate in any direction. If an engineer were to present this project to build part of a robot he would probably get fired. But this is how we’re built and we have to deal with it. The wrist is insanely complicated and as weightlifters get stronger their wrists get stiffer as a result of adaptation.