Safety and Injury Aspect of Weightlifting
Various studies were done showing Olympic weightlifting to be the safest form of resistance training there is. One study assessed the injury potential and safety aspects of weightlifting movements and Olympic weightlifting proved to be the safest (Stone, Injury). Another aspect that keeps many people away from weightlifting is the supposed fatal injury to the back. Again this is a false assumption spread through ignorance. A study was done comparing weightlifting to a control group of normal active men and their back pain was assessed. It turns out that only 23% of the weightlifters experienced back pain compared to 31% of the normal active men (Granhed). Another study was performed concerning the injury per 100 hours and yes again weightlifting faired better than other forms of resistance training. In fact, for weightlifters the injury rate was less than half of the other forms of weight training (Hamill). Weightlifting training and competitions together are much safer than other sports such as football, basketball, soccer, etc (Stone, Muscle). It is clear to see that Olympic weightlifting is an extremely safe form of resistance training and sport for people to participant in.
Another important benefit of Olympic weightlifting is it teaches the body to fire all the muscle fibers at once; to explode in a sense (not literally). An 8 week study was done showing the capability of the Olympic lifts to improve sport performance and vertical jump ability. A study was performed and a group of lifters did various Olympic lifts (High pulls, Power Clean, and Clean and Jerk), and were compared to a group using vertical jump exercises (Single and Double Leg Hurdles Hops, Alternated Single-leg Hurdle Hops, etc) and after the 8 weeks of training the Olympic weightlifting group had significantly increased their 10 meter sprint speed and their standing jump over the control group using standard vertical jump exercises (Tricoli). Similarly a 15 week study was also performed using football players and compared a powerlifting program to an Olympic weightlifting program for athletic performance. After the 15 week study was over the Olympic weightlifting group had a significant improvement in the vertical jump and 40 meter sprint over the powerlifting group (Hoffman JR). Clearly there are athletic benefits that come from incorporating weightlifting into a sport training program and similarly Olympic weightlifters are also known for developing great athletic ability.
One aspect of Olympic weightlifting that people enjoy is the lifts themselves. People enjoy the feeling of the barbell being weightless as they drop underneath it or they enjoy the speed that it takes to complete the lift or maybe they just enjoy mastering a technical skill. For most people there is a larger sense of satisfaction that comes from successfully hitting a personal best in the snatch or clean and jerk than finally getting those 19 inch arms or something along those lines.
Granhed, H. et al. Low back pain among retired wrestlers and heavyweight lifters. The American Journal of Sports Medicine,16(5):530-533. 1988.Hamill, B. Relative Safety of Weightlifting and Weight Training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 8(1):53-57. 1994
Hoffman, Jr, J Cooper, M Wendell, and J Kang. "Comparison of Olympic Vs. Traditional Power Lifting Training Programs in Football Players." 18 (2004): 129-135. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 18 (2004).Stone, M. H., A. C. Fry, M. Ritchie, L. Stoessel-Ross, and J. L. Marsit. Injury potential and safety aspects of weightlifting movements. Strength and Conditioning. June: 15-21. 1994.
Stone, M.H., et al. Cardiovascular Responses to Short-Term Olympic Style Weight-Training in Young Men. Can. J. Appl. Sport Sci. 8(3): 134-9.Stone, M.H. Muscle conditioning and muscle injuries. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 22(4):457-462. 1990.
Tricoli, V, L Lamas, R Carnevale, and C Ugrinowitsch. "Short-Term Effects on Lower-Body Functional Power Development: Weightlifting Vs. Vertical Jump Training Programs." 19 (2005): 433-437. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 19 (2005).