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Can 50-60% Oly Lifts for Reps be Used for Conditioning?

I am interested in use 15 to 20 minutes oly lifts (snatch / clean & jerk) at light
loads (50-60%) for reps.
It is a perfect HIIT session for me.

Can I consider this session as a “hard conditioning session” (Forever, p. 6)?

Probably best put into the 5/3/1 forum but anything that gets your heart rate up and doesn’t interfere with recovery should be fine.

For me, Oly lifts take a lot out of me and risk of injury would be too high. Getting tired and sloppy with very technical lifts doesn’t seem wise to me.

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I originally posted at Wendler´s coaching, but the topic as moved to this section.

I understand very well the dangerous aspects you are mentioning. This is why my I specified the 50-60% range. Everything above this is hard to be executed due to my lack of mobility. But I confess: it´s a passion. I will still practicing mobs until reach a good depth for snatch.

Thank you for your words

If you’re not proficient in the lifts and you have mobility issues then I really don’t recommend that you use them for HIIT.

If you want to do them, do some technique work for the snatch before you squat and for the clean before you deadlift.

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Sometimes I find a heavier weight actually allows for better form. Squats, cleans, snatches…seems to force my body into the right positioning.

Just my two cents.

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I even do not need a 70%+ load to practice what you said.
I feel the same!

Majority of times I pause at squat, clean and snatch bottom positions to check the depth on the camera.

60-70% are fine for me to force some 20’’ to 60’’ stops at the bottom position to “tell to my body to accept such umconfortable position”

Thanks jshaving!

Why not complexes with Oly lifts in them? Still get to clean/snatch, still have the conditioning, and (arguably) safer

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This is a horrible idea.

I have no idea what this means.

I don’t have that book. How is “hard conditioning” described?

If you lacked mobility, you wouldn’t be able to do the movement properly at all. It’s likely a strength problem.

Like the guys have said, lightweight/high-rep Olympic lifts are a bad approach because technique and speed/power dissolve with fatigue. Lighter weight O-lift complexes would be one solution since you can string together several low-rep movements that let you keep form crisp even with cumulative fatigue.

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Do 2-3 reps of a lift.

Wait 45 seconds.

Do 2-3 more reps.

Wait 45 seconds.

Do that for 10-12 work sets.

If you need more, pick a 2nd lift and do the same thing.

The lifts will be perfect because the weight is moderate and the reps are low. You won’t be in danger of dropping the bar on your head. You’ll get great conditioning because you are stacking the work up, like “interval training.”

Don’t limit yourself to the snatch and the clean and jerk. Explore cleans and snatches from the high or low hang. Or power versions of the lifts. Or clean into front squat or push press pairings. Mix it up so you’ll never get bored! Do variations based on weaknesses so it’s actually useful, productive training in addition to conditioning.

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Dan John has a really good barbell complex he uses as a “warm up”:

5x high pulls
5x whip snatches
5x back squat
5x good morning
5x push jerks (behind the neck)
5x barbell rows

Go from one to the next to the next… without resetting or putting the bar down. I use only 65 lbs (he lists his at 95 lbs). I do four rounds of this, and it really gets you ready to go for your workout.


There are FAR better and more efficient ways to get some conditioning in that to goof off with really light weight on the olympic lifts. Building and displaying power is the entire point of the oly lifts, and you’re not doing that at 50% for high reps.