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How To Get Hidilyn Diaz, Olympic Level Strong

It won't happen overnight but you'll get to that level if you start today
by Wayne Joseph Tulio | Aug 12, 2016
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Monday began on a good note for country with news of Hidilyn Diaz powering her way to a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She snatched 88 kilograms and cleared 112 for the clean and jerk, for a total score of 200 kgs.

Mastering the snatch, the clean and jerk, and lifting as much as Hidilyn did is by no means easy. Case in point: It took her over eight years (and tons of hours of training) to finally win an Olympic medal.

In short, one needs to keep putting in work to get your strength to such, Olympic levels. To get there, a person must progressively train to improve mobility, technique, and strength to start hoisting heavier weight.

Want to be Hidilyn-like? These steps will get you lifting like a beast.

Step 1: Work on mobility and basic strength

"When it comes to Olympic Lifts training, strength and power aren't the only requirements—proper movement is also key," explains Jose Gemora, C.S.C.S, X.P.S., a strength and conditioning specialist and head coach of the 360 Fitness Club chain. "One can have the strength to carry the weight and power to explosively throw it up, but without the mobility and stability needed for catching, you won't be able to maximize your potential."

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First off, simple bodyweight movements, such as the overhead squat for shoulder and hip mobility. Working with a fitness trainer will also help determine tight spots and address them through stretching and foam rolling. "You don't want to add strength on top of dysfunction, and it will be much safer once you start lifting more if you move well to begin with. Poor movement mechanics leads to injury," adds Gemora.

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Thinking of taking it seriously? Then test yourself with bodyweight overhead squats; make sure you don't buckle and are in good form.


Step 2: Lay the foundation 

Before you can even think of doing Olympic-style weightlifting, master these basic exercises first according to Gemora: barbell front and back squat, deadlift, and military press. These are all part of the overall mechanics when you break down the movements of the snatch and the clean and jerk.

Incorporating the said moves to your regular workout gets you one step closer to Olympic Lifts. Always be in proper form and keep things light in the beginning. Remember: lifting mechanics over plates on the bar.

Hoisting progressively requires training diligently and with a qualified coach, to be on the loop if you are doing the right technique. Eventually, you'll be able to lift heavier weight, and correctly, at that.

Front squat

Back Squat


Military press

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Step 3: Train specifically 

Getting better at Olympic lifting means practicing progressively. Multiple movements happen with each rep of the snatch and the clean and jerk, so you need to shore up those muscles all over by breaking down each component and doing specific exercises.

According to Gemora, barbell cleans, overhead squats, and jerks are the way to go to help ready your muscles for the superhuman demands. Again, focus on the proper form and not on heavier weight.

Barbell cleans

Overhead squats

Barbell jerks

At this level though, get a coach that is well-versed in Olympic lifting to guide you to the next stages, which will take years to grasp. There are lots of nuances to learn in getting the technique and weight down pat.

Sounds like a lot of work, for it sure is. Hidilyn Diaz didn't get her medal until her third Summer Games. Olympic-level strength takes serious work.

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