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Compound Lifts Before O-Lifts?


If this question had been addressed before I apologize.

-Is it better for a novice lifter to build a base strength in the big 4 compound lifts (squat,bench,deadlift,overhead) before progressing into a olympic lifting program?

-I have been working my way through the book "Olympic Weightlifting" by Greg Everett. I am excited to start however I lack the flexibility to perform full snatches due to the inability to overhead squat. If I did jump into the beginner template in the book I wouldn't be working with much load or volume for a while.

-I am currently progressing on a 5/3/1 template and plan to incorporate technique drills and primers as a warm up until I gain the flexibility and form to work with any kind of load.

Any guidance would be greatly appreciate.



Do both.

Do your 4 big compound stuff as well as work your mobility and the olifts. Don't get too caught up in a program before you can do the lifts somewhat consistently first.



thanks for the reply!


your mileage may vary... when i was trying to build up my mobility for the olympic lifts i squatted daily. 5x5. with a broomstick. three second descent (being careful to hold lumbar arch and stretch myself into as low a bottom position as i could) pause then explosive raise. i alternated overhead squats and front squats. worked wonders for my mobility. you don't even need to do it at the gym.


awesome advice thanks! ive been adding pvc squat work daily, this just reinforced I am making a good choice.


Yes indeed, do that. The primary concern for a new trainee here is perfect and consistent (meaning not varying one rep to another) technique in the lifts. The people who do not pay attention to this training principle never--EVER--make good results because they get impatient. So in regards to your original post, it doesn't matter if you won't be doing much weight :).

I tend to like doing technical lifts when freshest, because it is easier to stay consistent with technique. If you are a rookie and tired you will seriously compromise your long-term goals by ruining technique trying to learn or perform lifts when tired from strength work.

So you should do them first.

For someone whose squatting strength is the limiting factor, it is probably ok for them to do their squat work before the lifts--IF they are already experienced and have rock solid technique that holds up under fatigue. Some of the big dogs have advocated doing this from time to time. Or say somebody whose jerk suffers due to strength problems with shoulders, not technical problems with the drive and recovery. But I wouldn't really feel comfortable doing it this way long term personally. To paranoid about some technical thing going wrong and not being caught before a bad habit is established.





That is interesting about squats first. Getting stuck in the hole is my limit on my cleans. It does help to do front squats first (triples). Neuromuscular facilitation, I think. Gets things activated properly and gives me the mental strength to fight to stand it up instead of giving up.