Olympic Lifting – The Resurgence
Olympic weightlifting is a strength discipline that has gained back a lot of its popularity in recent years. In my opinion, the following points are critical for this resurgence:
- Promotional activities of the Functional Training Movement
- You can become very strong
- You can build your muscles up very nicely
- You can become more explosive and faster
- In combination with a supporting diet, the training has a high fat-burning effect
However, the demands on the trainee are a challenge. The training requires a high total body mobility (especially in the hips, shoulders, wrists, and thoracic spine), a high stability and strength as well as very good coordination (body control).
The training is technically and physically very demanding and because of these prerequisites, it’s not suitable for everyone. Often, corrective exercises to improve mobility and intensive technical training must be done for an extended period of time in order to safely deal with significant weights and to avoid overstressing or injuries.
It is said that kettlebell training is the Olympic weightlifting for the “ordinary person”. Kettlebells are easier to handle in comparison to a barbell, are more forgiving when mistakes are made, they stress the joints less, and handling kettlebells can be learned more quickly. The movement patterns can be transferred easily to Olympic weightlifting.
The same applies to sandbags, only the training has many other advantages. Among other things, it has a much higher variety of possible exercises and hand grips, finely-stepped progressions in the exercise execution, and a greater transfer to daily situations due to the instability of the training tool itself.
Sandbags are easier to handle compared to barbells since they are not large and rigid, they do not require very flexible wrists, and the movement sequences can be learned quickly. The transferability to everyday and sports movements is very high since basic movement patterns can be trained in all movement planes and much more demand is placed on the stabilization muscles.
The latter leads to the fact that people who train often with (heavy) sandbags can cope with astonishingly high weight numbers with a barbell because they have developed an extremely high stabilization capability in different joint angles. Conversely, the practice shows again and again that people who train mainly using barbells have noticeably more difficulty in comparison when handling much lighter sandbags.
Another great advantage of sandbag training is the possibility to incorporate rotation and anti-rotation exercises, which makes the training much more versatile and functional. Sandbags are, for me, the most versatile training devices, especially since they can also be used in combination with rubber bands and sling trainers, which again greatly increases the number of exercise possibilities.
The basic movement patterns of Olympic weightlifting can be learned in a more user-friendly way with sandbags.
In summary, it is said that training with sandbags is easier, more gentle, and more versatile than training with barbells and beginners can quickly and securely be introduced to Olympic weight lifting, especially as the important stabilization muscles are more intensively stressed.
Beginners often have difficulties especially with building up the body tension and maintaining it during the exercises. Training with sandbags can be quickly and easily adapted to their abilities.
The training can be more versatile and the equipment required is much more cost-effective compared to an Olympic barbell set. A special rubber floor for catching dropped or fallen weights is not necessary with sandbags, which allows for an effective weight training, for example at home on tiles, parquet or laminate floors.
Under no circumstances is this article intended to detract from the many possibilities and positive effects of Olympic weightlifting, which in many training facilities has its permanent place in athletic training, but simply suggests the sandbag training alternative, at least for beginners.
A good workout is not solely based on one training device, as this could restrict the possibilities and results, but is primarily aimed at the safest and fastest possible achievement of the individual training goals. For this purpose, a combination of different training tools has proven to be most successful, because they all have their strengths and weaknesses. It remains the trainer’s art to find and apply the most appropriate means and methods for the trainees individually.