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Sample Weightlifting Flexibility Program
Greg Everett

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Ankle stretch with barbell
Flexibility is easily the biggest limiter for athletes starting to use the Olympic lifts. Of course, stretching is also the most boring thing you can possibly do. Getting someone flexible is less about what works and what doesn't, and more about what the individual will actually do consistently for the time it takes to get the job done. I've found too that giving suggestions is rarely adequate; people need to be told exactly what do to and be held accountable, or that fancy stretching program you think they're doing will actually be 45 seconds of wiggling around and doing the couple stretches that are most comfortable, which means they're needed the least.

We have two lifters who I recently created a relatively simple and quick flexibility program for. I would like them to do twice as much, but I know it won't happen. They do additional prep work and stretching, but the following is what I've given them to do every single day before training (and whenever else they feel like doing it - more won't hurt). In a short period of time, this has made a huge difference for them. Have a look, try it, or modify it a bit to better suit your own needs.

Foam Roll
1. T-spine, arms overhead
2. Glutes
3. Adductor/Hamstring Origin
4. Quads

1. Door jamb pec stretch – 2 min
2. Hang from bar – 2 min
3. Spiderman hold – 2 min
4. Squatting ankle stretch – 2 min
5. OHS x 30

1. Superman hold - 10 sec
2. Mini-band squat x 15

The hang from bar is just what it sounds like - hang with shoulder-width grip and try to get your chest through your arms. This may work better if your toes are just lightly touching the floor or a box. Also, you probably won't be able to hang for 2 minutes straight--try to accumulate a total of 2 minutes. The mini-band squat is simply an unloaded squat with a short elastic band wrapped around your legs just below the knees. Don't just push the knees out - push out with the feet against the ground.

There are a ton more stretches that you can play with, but this should give you an idea of what I consider a reasonable volume of work for someone. Much more is getting into the excessive realm and you'll probably find that people aren't willing to do it all anyway.

As a final note, understand thet this prescription is for a couple relatively new lifters who are lacking the requisite mobility to perform the lifts optimally. Static stretching pre-workout is generally discouraged, except in cases such as this where the need for flexibility eclipses any concerns over relatively minor performance degradation as a result of pre-training static stretching. For more advanced lifters with better mobility, training preparation will involve only dynamic flexibilty work (with a couple exceptions such as the ankles and wrists).

Greg Everett is the owner of Catalyst Athletics, head coach of the national-medalist Catalyst Athletics weightlifting team, publisher of The Performance Menu, author of the books Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches and Olympic Weightlifting for Sports, director/writer/producer/editor/everything of the documentary American Weightlifting, and fifth-place finisher at the USAW National Championships. Follow him on Facebook here and and sign up for his free newsletter here.

More from Greg Everett

Catalyst Athletics   Performance Menu

Jason 2013-12-18
Shoulder mobility link at the bottom of this post leads to a 404.

"You can find more shoulder mobility info in this article."
Anthony 2013-12-19
Could you prepare a video demonstrating these movements?
Michael 2014-05-04
OHS with an empty barbell? And what is a spiderman hold?
Steve Pan 2014-05-05
OHS is with a PVC or empty barbell. Spiderman hold is in a lunge, you will stretch the hip of the front leg by reaching your torso and arm inside the front leg.
Kevin 2014-05-06
Also see the Defranco "Agile 8." What are your thoughts on that?
Brandon 2015-02-19
Is there a best time to stretch, or is this something I can do say at night or when I have time?
Steve Pan 2015-02-20
Brandon -

After training is always good as you are still warm from the workout and it will be a good cool down to get your stretches in.
Steve 2015-02-27

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