T Nation

Advice for Aspiring Crossftter/Oly Lifter?

CT… In a general sense, what type of training approach would you reccommend for someone looking to improve at crossfit/olympic lifting, who is also in need of some size and strength?

I am just curious what your macro approach would be (not sets reps etc).

I was leaning towards an approach that involved olympic skill/heavy/neural type work in the AM, with more volume ( squats, accessory, skill) type work in the afternoon. With conditioning held at about 3x a week.

Any advice you could give on a recommended approach to structuring the olympic work/ strength training would be much appreciated. (Any system of yours you have seen better results with etc for this purpose, layering, 7/5/3 etc.)

Thanks for your time CT!

A recent post by a Crossfit coach commenting on Open WOD 13.1:

"So 13.1 has come and just like every year, 90% of the CrossFit community is saying the same thing they have been saying for years. “Man I gotta work on my snatch!!!” Hardly anybody is lamenting “Man, I just gotta get better at burpees” and if they are they probably have huge snatch numbers.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. To get good at the snatch and Clean & jerk you have practice, practice, practice, and then practice some more. One of the reasons that top level Olympic lifters snatch and clean & jerk every day is because the lifts are so technical that not practicing them everyday prevents progress. CrossFitters are not top level Olympic lifters and don’t train the same, but the if you are not practicing both the lifts on a consistant basis you will not improve. A once a week Oly/strength class will not get it done. Neither will 10 to 20 minute of “lifting before a “wod”. Don’t believe me? How did your score for 13.1 rank?”

In short:

  1. Get good at the Olympic lifts.
  2. Get stronger.

The conditioning will follow.

I agree with that reply. Crossfit is going more and more to weights that favor bigger stronger guys. But unlike 4 or 5 years ago, those big guys are also very good at body weight gymnastic stuff and the skilled movements. A great engine is obviously important, but strength has to come first. And if your olympic lifting technique isn’t there, you’ll be left behind.

So I would focus on getting as strong as you can (squat a lot) and practice snatch and clean and jerk several times a week. Don’t get caught up in the mentality of doing wods 5x a week, that just beats you down and makes it harder to gain strength. Conditioning can be built up quickly, but strength takes time.

The approach to use would depends on the individual’s strength and weaknesses.

To give you an idea, I can give you the weekly schedule that I have one of my Crossfit girls do, this is next week’s plan, first week of a 6 weeks cycle toward the regionals.

MONDAY
1, Snatch
65% x 3, 75% x 3, 80% x 3
85% x 3 sets de 2

  1. Back squat
    65% x 5, 75% x 5, 85% x 3 sets of 3

10 minutes AMRAP
5 snatch 95lbs
5 overhead squat 95lbs
10 burpees

TUESDAY

  1. Muscle-up skill practice 10 minutes

  2. Pistol skill practice 5 minutes

  3. Clean & jerk
    65% x 3, 75% x 3, 80% x 3, 85 x 3 sets of 3

  4. Push press
    65% x 3, 75% x 3, 85% x 3 sets of 3

10 minutes AMRAP
5 muscle-up
5 C&J 115lbs
10 deadlift 115lbs
20 KB swing 24kg

WEDNESDAY

  1. Mobility work 20 minutes

Rower 500m
50 air squat
4 rounds

THURSDAY

  1. Handstand hold (5 min, total time)

  2. Handstand walk (3 min, total time)

  3. Snatch complex
    1 pwr.snatch hang + 1 pwr.snatch floor + 1 squat snatch floor + 3 ov.squat

1 set 65%, 1 set 75%, 3 sets 80%

15 minutes AMRAP
5 handstand PU
10 overhead squat 75lbs
20 wall ball
40 burpees

FRIDAY
Mobility work

SATURDAY

  1. C&J complex
    1 deadlift + 1 pwr.clean hang + 1 squat clean hang + 2 front squat + 1 jerk

1 set 55%, 1 set 65%, 1 sets 75%, 3 sets 85%

6 minutes AMRAP
5 thruster 85
10 chin-up

SUNDAY

  1. Mobility work

  2. Muscle-up skills practice 20 minutes

Burpees Tabata
Max burpees 20 sec
Rest 10 sec
10 rounds

NOW… This is the first week after the open, which is basically a 5 weeks competition. So it is an “easy” week. The normal set-up is similar but heavier weights are used. And the WOD duration increases every week for 4 weeks.

ALSO… this is a competitive period program, meaning that the goal is to be good at the sport of Crossfit and stay fresh.

During the off-season her training is basically the same that I have my olympic lifters on (layer work on the basic strength lift and traditional loading on the olympic lifts), with one WOD per week and low intensity skill work 2-3 times a week before the olympic lifting.

Wow, great advice, thanks for the input CT. greatly appreciated!

CT, just two follow up questions…

Since I didnt make the cut on the open (finished 200th ish in my region) I will be jumping right into the “off-season”

I love the idea of traditional olympic based work complemented by layer strength work, I have a big issue with my squatting strength however and it hinders my clean and jerk immensely (max FS=315, max clean =295 yet i can deadlift 625… )

How would you structure squat based work to make this a focus? Multiple layers? Maybe just multiple days of a ramp and cluster? or something more along the lines of HFS?

What are your favorite resources/methods/places to research in terms of “traditional” olympic lifting loading parameters?

Again I truly appreciate the insight, and if you are accepting online consultation clients I would be very interested.

[quote]datx21 wrote:
CT, just two follow up questions…

Since I didnt make the cut on the open (finished 200th ish in my region) I will be jumping right into the “off-season”

I love the idea of traditional olympic based work complemented by layer strength work, I have a big issue with my squatting strength however and it hinders my clean and jerk immensely (max FS=315, max clean =295 yet i can deadlift 625… )

How would you structure squat based work to make this a focus? Multiple layers? Maybe just multiple days of a ramp and cluster? or something more along the lines of HFS?

What are your favorite resources/methods/places to research in terms of “traditional” olympic lifting loading parameters?

Again I truly appreciate the insight, and if you are accepting online consultation clients I would be very interested.[/quote]

The strength-focused layer would be your best choice for improving front squat strength:

  1. Ramp to 1RM
  2. 3-5 reps with 85% of 1RM
  3. Back down to 70% and ramp back up to 2RM
  4. 3-5 reps with 85% of 2RM
  5. Back down to 70% of 1RM and ramp back up to 3RM
  6. 3-5 reps with 85% of 3RM
  7. 4 sets of 3 reps on the BACK SQUAT (everything else was for front squat) as explosively as possible with your front squat 3RM

There are a lot of traditional olympic lifting programs. I was referring more to the type of training than on a specific structure.

Here is how I structure the actual olympic lifting portion of my lifter:

  1. Snatch or clean & jerk (alternate each day) ramp to a training max
  2. Snatch or clean & jerk (same lift as 1.) 3-5 sets of 2 reps
  3. Corrective exercise for the main lift* 3-5 sets of 2-3 reps
  4. Strength move related to the lift of the day** 3-5 sets of 2-3 reps
  • If speed is the main issue = lift from blocks / lift getting under the bar fast is the issue can be hang squat clean or snatch balance / if first pull is the issue = double contraction lift (lift from floor to knees, go back down, do full lift), etc.

** Clean can be clean pull, RDL… jerk can be push press, push jerk, jerk drive…, snatch can be overhead squat, snatch high pull, behind the neck push press snatch grip.

The weekly set-up could look like this:

DAY 1. Snatch
DAY 2. Clean & jerk
DAY 3. Strength (front squat)
DAY 4. Snatch
DAY 5. Clean & jerk
DAY 6: Strength (front squat)

I’m copying and saving that front squat layer!

[quote]datx21 wrote:
CT, just two follow up questions…

Since I didnt make the cut on the open (finished 200th ish in my region) I will be jumping right into the “off-season”

I love the idea of traditional olympic based work complemented by layer strength work, I have a big issue with my squatting strength however and it hinders my clean and jerk immensely (max FS=315, max clean =295 yet i can deadlift 625… )

How would you structure squat based work to make this a focus? Multiple layers? Maybe just multiple days of a ramp and cluster? or something more along the lines of HFS?

What are your favorite resources/methods/places to research in terms of “traditional” olympic lifting loading parameters?

Again I truly appreciate the insight, and if you are accepting online consultation clients I would be very interested.[/quote]

These numbers aren’t too bad. What is your max snatch?

That looks fantastic, I will definitely give it a try thanks CT!!

@MikeTheBear… Right now my max snatch is 255, definitely feel more comfortable snatching than cleaning as a result of a sub par FS