Another guest article here to whet your appetites and hopefully we can all learn from this. Alex has really helped me with my flexibility training and I think she can help you too. Here is part one of a guest article from Alexandra Craig on flexibility for the weightlifter. She is a professional acrobat and an extremely flexible lady who has took up weightlifting in December. This part of her article deals with the warm up.
How should a weightlifter warm up? That this depends on the weightlifter is a given--everyone is unique--but what remains constant? The movements and positions in which we load our bodies. These movements mean that weightlifters seem to require most flexibility in the shoulders, hips, quads and calves, as well as good spinal mobility.
To prepare the soft tissues we want to get some blood into them to make them pliant enough to avoid injury, and to work out any stiffness which will inhibit good technique. Dynamic stretching is a good way to do this and helps to develop strength in your range, which it can also be used to increase. It involves swinging your limbs in a controlled manner and gradually increasing the amplitude to your maximum range. We also want to mobilise the joints by moving them in all possible directions permitted to increase intra-synovial lubrication.
The mobility warm up which I would suggest, having taken into account the weightlifting sport-specific movements, mobility demands and need to maintain tension, is as follows:
To be performed at a good pace:
Ankle circles: 5 each direction, each side
Ankle mobilisations: 10 each side
Knee circles: 10 each side
Hip figure eights: 10 each side
Full ROM lunges, front and side to side: 10 of each, each side
Kicks, front and back: 10 of each, each side
Cats: 5 happy, 5 sad
Wall thoracic spine roll downs: 5
Shoulder shrug circles: 5 forward, 5 backward each side
Arm cicles: 5 forward, 5 backward each side
Shoulder dislocations with band or stick: 2 x 6 progressively narrowing grip
Wrist walk arounds: I don't count but usually will so this for about 45 seconds.
I also advocate the use of activation exercises, particularly for the shoulder and hip stabilisers during warm up, as well sometimes some form of CNS preparation (discussions of the details of which are beyond the scope of this article); I tend to mix the order of all my warm up exercises together to keep things interesting. I also find that most days there will be particular body parts which require more attention or time and it is important that they get it.
Here are two quick videos for the ankle mobilisation and shoulder flexibility exercises. You will need volume so that you can hear Alex's explanations:
In my own training, I trained on Wednesday and Thursday and worked up to 95 in the Power Snatch and some Front Squats with a few Power Clean and Jerks thrown in for good measure. This is my recovery week so I am doing three sessions in total to get ready for training in Amsterdam next Wednesday for five days with Zag.