I’d like to make the case why your teen athlete should get more involved with weightlifting, because there are several reasons I think are important.
By the way, weightlifting is NOT the same as weight training.
Weightlifting – at its most fundamental level – is an individual sport (called Olympic weightlifting) that is all about pulling a heavy amount of weight off the ground and catching it overhead. This is accomplished at the competitive level using two required lifts: the snatch and the clean & jerk.
Weight training is a form of exercise that involves the use of resistance to stimulate muscle growth, build strength, etc. Generally, group fitness classes are weight training classes that use a variety of tools to improve fitness – weightlifting is ONE of those tools that sometimes is used.
Why should your teen athlete be using Olympic weightlifting more?
One of the most convincing arguments is that studies have shown that an athlete who is proficient in weightlifting tends to outperform their non-weightlifting peers in vertical jump performance. Vertical jump performance is widely viewed as an indicator of sports performance (e.g. starting athletes tend to have a higher vertical jump than non-starters; varsity players tend to have a higher vertical jump than junior varsity players).
Notice I said proficient.
It takes time – repetition after repetition, training session after training session – not only to learn the proper technique but to reap the benefits of weightlifting.
Other benefits to sports performance include improved mobility and increased kinesthetic (body) awareness. Imagine an athlete whose movement looks fluid, agile, and powerful – this can be a product of “natural talent”, of course, but consistent athletic movement can be developed through consistent weightlifting training.
One more important benefit of weightlifting: confidence!
High-level athletes have confidence in bucket loads. But confidence is a fragile thing, and it is especially difficult for teen athletes, who feel they are not as “athletic” or as “strong” as their peers, to develop that confidence. Weightlifting is a great tool for building confidence.
Maybe everything I’ve said up to this point sounds fantastic, but you’re worried about safety? Fear not! Several studies have compared the injury rate of weightlifters to that of other strength/power athletes and other forms of weight training (e.g. CrossFit, bodybuilding, and powerlifting), and weightlifting has been shown to have one of the lowest rates of injury.
So how do you get your teen athlete more involved with weightlifting? Purchase a Barbell Club membership at CFG! Class is held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 6-7pm. Cost of a 2x/week membership is $145, while 3x/week is $170. Members receive individualized training from a USA Weightlifting-certified coach, who is also a competitive weightlifter. We currently have 3 spots available, and September would be a perfect time to sign up before the Fall high school season starts!
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register, or arrange to drop in for a FREE training session, meet the other teen members and see if Barbell Club is right for you and your sports performance goals!