In Olympic weightlifting, the core is always used in more of an isometric and stabilizing manner. The abs are never actually in flexion as if performing crunches or sit-ups.
In this regard, doing crunches and sit-ups will have almost no carry over to the Olympic lifts. Instead, core work for Olympic lifters should be performed as isometric holds or where other parts of the body are moving while the core is stabilized.
Examples of great exercises that will transfer over to Olympic lifting are planks, isometric positional holds with a barbell, Hyperextension holds on a GHD machine and weighted leg extensions.
While doing planks, the athlete should keep their core tight and not allow their abs to sink into the ground. Ideally, this should be held for 30 seconds to around 2 minutes.
2. Barbell Isometric Holds
For isometric positional holds, the weight should be around 85-95% of the athlete’s best clean or snatch and the position should be held around 10 seconds.
3. GHD Hyper Extension Holds
Hyperextension holds on a GHD machine should be done around 15-30 seconds and depending on the strength of the athlete, a barbell may or may not be used.
4. Weighted Leg Extensions
For weighted leg extensions, a plate should be put on the shins while the athlete extends the legs out and then brings them back to the body.
Make sure to keep the small of the back flat against the ground and the feet do not return to the ground while performing this exercise. The rep scheme should be 10-15 reps of this.
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