Why Regionals Showed Us Weightlifters Need More Bodybuilding

At the first ever regional competition hosted by USAW there were some eye opening things that happened.  The most important of which were the dislocated elbows of Kelly Charniga, and Darrel Barnes.  Both were during the snatch with weights that the athletes were capable of making.  But the weights got slightly out of position and during the fight to save the lift their elbows let go.  Now why would bodybuilding help these athletes stay injury free? Simply put when done right it will increase the longevity of their joints and allow them to avoid these issues in the future. 

            When these athletes dislocate their elbow after fighting with the weight for as long as these two did it is and issue of joint stability, not ligament strength.  The ligaments are what get injured the most with this type of injury however it is not the fault of the ligament that caused the injury.  It is the inability of the bicep to prevent and control hyperextension of the elbow that is at fault.  Unlike power lifters who do bicep curls in an attempt to prevent the separation of the bicep tendon from the insertion at the radial tuberocity during heavy deadlifts.  Weightlifters need to do bicep curls as a measure to simply control the joint’s movement under max effort loads. 

            Improving the stability of the joint takes chronic training with moderate weights at first and just like any training the resistance must be increased over time.  Whether this is through additional load or volume.  Because the bicep is responsible for elbow flexion the stronger and larger it is the more effective it will be at supporting loads that exceed bodyweight overhead. 

            Training like a bodybuilder can help weightlifters not only look better but preform better as well.  The proof is becoming more apparent at every international competition.  The best weightlifters in the world are beginning to show incredible definition in their upper body, and it is these same lifters who have extended the longevity of their careers.   This does not require you to devote full days to training arms like some of us used to do in high school, but merely requires you to do a few variations of the movement three times a week following your strength work.  The days of being able to over look this are in the past.  So next time you see someone doing curls or leg extensions don’t mock them join them.