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High-Rep Oly Lifts for Metabolic Conditioning?


Hey CT,

Just wondering what your thoughts were on high rep Cleans and Snatches used for metabolic conditioning?

While my initial concern was injury due to form breaks at high reps I've recently read this quote:

"Not all form faults are dangerous. Most clearly are not. Most increase the metabolic costs of an exercise or workout, i.e. reduce efficiency, and are not only acceptable but beneficial to conditioning. But what is certain is that only by working to exhaustion, where form faults are ineluctable, will we push the margins of power output where form falters. We push to the point of exhaustion and form breakdown to 1) increase/ improve the safety of high output max efforts, and 2) maximize work capacity."

Thanks CT


If your one of your goal is eventually to maximize your performance on the olympic lifts I would avoid using them with high reps as it can lead to faulty motor habits which will hinder reaching a high level of performance.

If you never plan on becoming as strong as possible on these lifts and your only goal is fat loss, then I can see them as being acceptable, within reason. It wouldn't be among my first choices, but they can be used in such a case.


Would something like a barbell complex be something you would use more in such a situation rather than high rep Oly lifts?

Thanks for the response CT...much appreciated


Yes, I like the Javorek complet for that purpose.


thanks CT,

Also, you don't have concerns with injury with high rep technical lifts like this....is it just that you feel there are more effective means out there?


Is this a Greg Glassman quote? I recall seeing this before. I'll be honest - I don't think much of Glassman. I mean, who the hell uses words like "ineluctable?" I think that Glassman and those who blindly follow him are why people "hate" Crossfit. Having said that, I don't hate CF at all - I even like some of their ideas. My Olympic lifting coach is based at a CF facility and the guy who runs the facility is really big on the Olympic lifts. As yet, no one has tried to get me to sample the Crossfit Kool-Aid. The Crossfitters all know that I show up just for Olympic lifting and they're fine with that.

Having said all that, by all means sample some of the CF stuff and pick certain WODs that you like. If you look through the article archives, you'll find that CT also uses the Olympic lifts in his conditioning workouts, but he does things differently, and IMO, more intelligently. He'll have you do an Olympic lift for no more than 6 reps followed by a higher rep movement or sprint. The contrast between heavy/low-rep and light/high-rep does interesting things to your body - in a good way. My two favorites that I rotate in and out of my workouts:

From the "Metabolic Pairings" article found here http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/mondays_with_thibs_stripping_fat_with_metabolic_pairings&cr=:

Power snatch: 4-6 reps
Dumbbell swing (I use a kettlebell) 15 right, 15 left, 15 two-handed.

From the Fat Loss Twitter article (I call this the "Hockey Workout"):

Power snatch: 3 reps
Sprint 200 m or 15 burpees
Power clean: 3 reps, with same weight you used for the snatches.
Rest up to 3 minutes. Do as many rounds as possible.


Ah yes, the infamous hockey workout... I had a player complete 12 rounds!


i remember earlier this year when i incorporated the hockey workout into my program. it was death for the most part. i pushed it though, and i remember the best i did after about 12 weeks was using 75% percent of my max (for snatch) plus the 15 burpees option for 15 rounds with a 1 minute 15 seconds rest inbetween sets. i dont know what posessed me to do it haha.


Dayne, yeah I remember you were a crazy man with this workout. What you did was pretty impressive. Here is the original thread you started that became sort of a "support group" for those of us suffering through this workout.


As tough as this was, I actually got stronger as the workout progressed. I ramped the weight on the snatches like I would for a regular snatch workout. I guess the sprints, which I did all out, and cleans, which for me felt light, served to prime my CNS for the snatch.