T Nation

Combining O-Lifting and Westside


I'm starting to get involved with olympic lifting (mainly jsut to get a break from PL and improve flexibility). Now the problem I have is this...

The coaches in my gym reckon that continuing to bench while learning the o-lifts will kill my already poor shoulder flexibility (i have no problem doing overheads squats so far tho...).

I don't really think they're right on it because why would my shoulders become more inflexible with extra flexibility work?? (in the form of o/h squats etc)

I'm also worried about losing strength in the powerlifts, particulary the bench.

The o-lifting should take care of my squat and probably even increase it, because imo quad strength is my weakpoint.

I'm concerned about my DL too... what can be done to maintain or even improve that while o-lifting??

And finally, would i be correct in saying that combining all this with the westside bench protocal would be the best way to bump my bench to new heights??

Sorry for the length of this and thanks for the replies.


The only way i found to do BOTH o-lifting and raising my bench was to concentrate on o-lifting for a while (6-8 months) then coming back to bench press.

This way i kept shoulder flexibility to a certain point (good enough to full snatch/oh squat) and raise my bench press past my "before" point.

I just alternated between military press (clean grip) and bench press.

But oh well..if you let your bench go..you're gonna be crying when you start again at such a light weight.


Here's an interesting hybrid training program I found used by a guy who was powerlifter but training for a weightlifting competition:



Listen to the new interview with Travis Mash on Elite. It covers this exact topic.



I used to think it would be a great idea to use Westside for Olympic lifting. Then it was pointed out to me that Westside training is adapted Olympic lifting training.

If you think about it, you don't want to use Westside for Olympic lifting. Louie created Westside using prinicples he learned from studying weightlifting texts.

Converting Westside to weightlifting is like making a copy of a copy: it just gets worse. Study the source information, because that's where Westside came from anyway.


I've found that all the cleaning/snatching you will do will HELP your DL not hurt it. I believe one of the better deadlifters in the WSM World Cup came from Oly lifting and he pulled like a madman.

I think the flexibility problem wont be a problem. Like you said, you'll be doing the flexibility work to keep that from happening.

As far as benching, you may want to do a 3x3 after your workout say, once every 5 days or so for maintainence purposes.


If you can do a proper overhead squat, it's a good sign that you have the upper-toro mobility needed for successful O lifting.

The other question would be, are you able to perform a proper and reasonably comfortable "rack" or "shelf" when you clean the bar. Meaning, can you manage a comfy position when the bar is on the front of your shoulders? If so, you should be golden.


Spot on.


I wouldn't go anymore in-depth with the olympic lifting than simply using the power version of the olympic lifts. Power clean, power snatch, power jerk. All the other lifts are way to technical to learn while also doing westside.


Racking the bar is no problem and i've only done o/h squats with light weight (135lb) so far but flexibility doesn't seem to have been a problem thus far.

My main question was that would using a westside approach to the bench AND a common weightlifting approach to the classic lifts work.

"Work" being defined as making both the c&J + snatch and the bench press go up.

I know since i'm only learning the O-lifts they'll obviously be going up so I guess my real question is would benching hard and heavy twice a week negatively impact my learning of the snatch and c&j??


Louis Simmons had a series of articles in MILO where he stated that he would like to train O-lifters using his methods. Spend less time on the quick lifts and more time working on specific weaknesses. If you go to the IronMind website and look up MILO articles by author you will find the specific mags.
I though that it was an interesting proposition.


I do think its possible for all the lifts to go up at once. As alot of strongmen train this way, using both westside methods and also doing lots of overhead pressing and power cleans and a few snatches as well.

Me and my training partners compete this way and we compete in strongman in the summer and fall, and powerlifting in the winter and spring.

During the summer we focus more on overhead strength and less on bench press. But also since i've been doing that, my bench has went up.

So yes i do think all lifts can go up at the same time.

But like i said before the olympic lifts are very very technical. And if you are wanting to go far into oly lifting as competing i would suggest a more traditional olympic lifting program.