Team USA Weightlifting Exercises

We love to share the expertise of our partners over at USA Weightlifting and with the 2013 American Open Championships approaching in December, we felt like it would be a great time to show an expert breakdown of the four primary Olympic lifts.

Follow our step-by-step guidelines for proper form, and view the following videos for further direction and the best results!

Back Squat and Front Squat

Follow these steps to properly perform the Back Squat:

  • Step 1: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
  • Step 2: Place the barbell on your upper back and use your arms to help balance the weight.
  • Step 3: Bend at your knees and squat downwards till your legs make a 90 degree angle.
  • Step 4: Raise back up to standing position.
  • Step 5: This completes one repetition.

Follow these steps to properly perform the Front Squat:

  • Step 1: Perform this exercise inside a squat rack for safety reasons. Set the bar on a rack corresponds to your height. Bring your arms up under the bar; keep your arms up under the bar and your upper arm slightly above parallel to the floor. Rest the bar on top of your deltoids and cross your arms. Grasp the bar for control.
  • Step 2: Lift the bar off the rack by pushing with your legs and straightening your torso.
  • Step 3: Step back from the rack and place your legs shoulder width apart with your toes slightly pointed out. Keep your back straight. This is the starting position for the exercise.
  • Step 4: Lower the bar slowly until the angle between your upper legs and calves is slightly less than 90 degrees. Your upper legs should be parallel with the floor. Inhale as you do so.
  • Step 5: Raise the bar by pushing the middle of your foot against the floor. Straighten your legs and go back to the starting position. Exhale as you do so.
  • Step 6: Repeat for the desired number of reps.

The Snatch

Follow these steps to properly perform the Snatch:

  • Step 1: Stand with a weighted barbell in front of you on the floor.
  • Step 2: Crouch down (bend your knees and hips, not your back) and grip the bar with a wide grip – about twice your shoulder width apart.
  • Step 3: Get your hips low, and keep your back and core tight.
  • Step 4: Start by pushing out of the squat position and into the hang position with the barbell between your knees and hips.
  • Step 5: Continuing the same motion, pull the bar all the way up over your head pulling with your upper body and pushing with your legs.
  • Step 6: When you get the bar high enough, duck under the bar and drop into the squat position, with palms up and the arms extended with the bar overhead.
  • Step 7: Keeping your arms extended overhead, stand straight up out of the squat position. Once straight up, drop the barbell down to the floor in front of you.
  • Step 8: All steps should be completed in a row as one continuous explosive motion.

The Clean and Jerk

Follow these steps to properly perform the Clean and Jerk:

  • Step 1: Stand in front of a barbell and grab hold of it with an overhand grip.
  • Step 2: Bend at the knees and bend your body slightly forward. Keep your eyes looking straight ahead.
  • Step 3: Position your body in an explosive position and proceed by propelling the barbell up to your chest. Rest the barbell on your chest.
  • Step 4: Push the barbell above your head while moving your legs apart. You legs should have a lead foot in front of you and a foot behind you for support.
  • Step 5: Hold the barbell above your head and then return it to the floor.

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