5 Power Exercises to Replace Olympic Lifts

STACK Expert Jon Drees offers 5 exercises for power development that can replace Olympic lifts.

There's no doubt that Olympic lifts are great power exercises for athletes, but they are far from perfect. Mastering the technique of these exercises takes months, if not years. For most athletes, this reduces the benefits of the exercises, because they spend so many hours learning technique and not actually performing the lifts.

RELATED: Power Training Without Olympic Lifts

Another downside to Olympic lifts is their tendency to cause wrist, elbow and shoulder injuries.

When developing training programs for athletes, we look at two things: is the exercise safe, and will it make the athletes better at their sport? I believe all exercises we use should meet both requirements, which is why we do virtually no Olympic lifting at our training facility. Instead, we employ various movements that create the same, if not better, results, while keeping our athletes safe.

Here are five exercises that are easy to learn, teach great power development and are safe to perform.

1. Dumbbell Snatch

Dumbbell Snatch

  • Holding a dumbbell between your legs, hinge over at the hips, keeping the dumbbell close to the body.
  • Violently extend through your hips, knees and ankles, and pull high with your elbow, keeping the wrist low.
  • Flick your wrist back and receive the weight with your hips.

RELATED: Why You May Not Need Olympic Lifts

2. Dumbell Push Press

Dumbbell Push Press

  • Start with dumbbells just off your shoulders.
  • Slightly dip down and violently explode through the hips, while punching the dumbbells toward the ceiling.
  • Receive the weight with your hips.

3. Underhand Med Ball Throw

Underhand Med Ball Throw

  • While holding the medicine ball underhanded, hinge at the hip and explosively throw the ball to the ceiling, using your lower body.
  • Let the ball bounce.
  • Repeat.

RELATED: 3 Effective Alternatives to Olympic Weightlifting Lifts

4. Kettlebell  Swing

Kettlebell Swing

  • Start with the kettlebell 12 inches in front of your toes.
  • Draw the kettlebell back into your body and violently thrust it off your hips.
  • Use your arms to pull the weight back toward your groin.
  • Repeat.

5. Jump Squat

Jump Squat

  • With hands on hips, quarter squat down and explode off the ground.
  • Land as softly as possible.
  • Repeat.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: SQUAT | PUSH PRESS | MEDICINE BALL EXERCISES | KETTLEBELL EXERCISES | OLYMPIC LIFTS