T Nation

Extra Upper Workouts


Our coach has us training 4 days a week. I would say 75% of the time we are sticking to only snatch, c&j, squat each workout unless there's something obvious to work on. Any experienced lifters here feel that there's any benefit in adding 1-2(max) workouts a week to work chest, arms and calves. These muscle groups are the ones that I feel are worked the very least in training, as opposed to legs, upper back and shoulders.

Wouldn't strengthening the upper chest and arms help stabilize and support the bar better in both technical lifts? Or would the extra workouts just hinder recovery for nothing?


I'm of the latter opinion.


I don't think that we should directly train the calves (for what purpose?).

Regarding upper body training, I believe the reason men can snatch and clean & jerk more than women when both sexes have identical lower body strength is because of men's greater upper body strength and advantageous upper body structure. Actually this comes from personal experience.


Paperclip is spot on, imo, upper body strength is very important. In fact its my limiting factor at the moment. Any lifter that tells you they only do the 3 are either liars or going to get injured. It obviously becomes less important as time goes on but still useful. I bet if you asked Koing he'll tell you he did alot of general strength when he was younger and his brother is probably doing some now.


Most clubs I know of focus mainly on the 2 technicals + pulls & squats. That's it! 3 movements per workout.


There's a reason your chest, arms and calves aren't hit very hard in your workouts and that's because o-lifters don't use them so much in the lifts. If you're pathetically weak or have severe imbalances I can see benefit in adding some general strength training in to address those issues, but once you've achieved a basic level of strength I feel the training time is better spent on the classic lifts, pulls, and front/back squats. That's all I'm doing in my program right now, besides some light warmup stuff. I've seen the most progress when focusing on the classics and squats, although to be fair I did transition into o-lifting from wrestling so I feel I had a fairly solid strength/mobility base to begin with.


I'm adding some upper body strength stuff but that's mostly because I'm old and a woman. I also want to have the basic strength in my upper body to prevent injury for all those times when I do stupid lifts.

It really depends where you are on the strength continuum and what your weaknesses are.


I don't feel it adds to OLifts to train them directly after you can do basic stuff

calves? wtf?! forget about this
chest? useless

I did a fair amount of upperbody stuff but i started out as a skinny 15yr old that was 5'10 and couldn't do a few push ups. Read pathetically weak tri's and chest. I could do about 7 pull ups at this point though.

Can you
MP 60-70% of your bw?
Dip 10-15x?
Pull up 10x?
BP 1x bw?

It's all about what you want to focus on and what sort of shape your currently in.

Try adding 1-2 sessions a week of your aforemtnioned stuff and see if it helps you. If it does, great but chances are the calves will do NOTHING apart from fatigue them.

I'm with Jonty on this.

FS, Sn and CJ heavy is king once you have a basic level of strength.

Do the minimum to increase your OLifts and stay healthy. Everything else is junk and wasting recovery and gains.



For the record i never said train calves.


Koing's back! :smiley:

Yeah my stupid big calves are apparently useless for this sport. My wrists are weak however and I really notice it after taking recently taking breaks in training. It seems my basic strength drops off FAST. That is probably age.


What is a basic level of strength? I have overhead pressed 80 kg for 4 reps and been close with 90 kg. Not horrible in my opinion. But my dream is to clean and jerk over 200 kg some day. I would like to have atleast a 130 kg press for that one. I think people should think more about where they would like to be in the future and what do they need to get there.


I know you didn't say calves. That was aimed at the OP.

Back and rampantly posting at work :stuck_out_tongue:

Use wrist wraps. If you Sn a lot they will take an absolute beating. I wear wrist wraps now. I didn't when I trained 3x a week, but when that went up to 19x in 11 days I needed all the support as possible.

Basic level of strength
MP 60-70% of your bw?
Dip 10-15x?
Pull up 10x?
BP 1x bw?

I can gurantee without a doubt that you will need to at least FS 200kg for 3reps to CJ 200kg. I would be more concerned with hammering your FS and learning to have good technique then your ability to press 130kg which will mean jack sh!t in terms of getting to CJ 200kg. You will press at least 100kg by the time you get to 200 is my guess.

You will probably need to FS 220+ to CJ 200.



I know, front squat = #1 thing. But not only can strong upper body give extra kilos and make the joints of the upper body healthier, it can give confidence which in my opinion is very important.


By the time you CJ 165-175 you won't have any issues with confidence with weight over head. There is no way the rest of your body at this point won't be up to CJ 200 if your around 165-175. The only issue is of your dip and drive to get the dam bar that high!



But how many on this forum can CnJ 165-175? 150?


I think Jonty has done 165 and another guy is about there. I've done 152.

But my whole point is that the increase is gradual so you build up


And by the time you have built up in to the 160+ area you won't have any issues. 160+ is a pretty good standard and more so if your less then 80. Your body would have adapted to the training and you will not be limited by your pressing ability to CJ 200 if your CJ about 160+. I' sure you could press at least 70% of your bw by the time a person is CJ 160+

My best press was 85 @ 90 and I was CJ about 145. I'm sure I'll press bw by the time I crack on the 175+ range but if I don't I don't care. I just want the CJ to go up.

It's like squat work. Your back doesn't suddenly take a huge amount of weight. It's built up over time with your training so gradually every part of you can take the 200kg squat.



162, actually. Although the last few weeks I've been feeling better than I have in probably 8-10 months, hit 160 yesterday and should be good to take a serious shot at 165 on Saturday. I'm also one of the bigger guys that post here though (walking around at about 104 right now).


Do you post any videos or have a youtube page? I'd love to see some of your lifts!


Aight. I'm chasing you down bro!

Not his first ever miss. His first miss this year! His last miss was sometime last year so he had managed to go through 6 full comps with no misses and missed his 21st Jerk in his 7th comp.

It'll be harder to go 3/3 now that he is shifting some more weight, CJ 110+ with a 140 FS. It's going to be that much harder now to get gains so it'll be interesting to see his progress. He has a training log on FI.



I've posted videos on here before, but rarely. I do have a youtube page, but since I don't bring a camera to training I only ever have competition lifts on there. Last competition was in May and I bombed out so I didn't put it up haha. Actually, last competition that I did better than 2/6 was . . . March 2010. Ouch.