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Humbling O-lifting


I have always been fascinated with the Olympic lifts. I am currently using learning the olympic lifts as a break from powerlifting.

What are some appropriate back squat/front squat numbers?

I can back squat (raw; no belt) 350, but only front squat 165 for 3.

I am currently doing powersnatches and overhead squats. How do I progress to catching the snatch in the full squat position? Do I go to drop snatches next?



Do you have sufficient flexibilty to do a full OH squat? If you do, then yes, drop snatches would be your next drill. if you dont, u need to work on flexibility, do this by simply doing OH squats and progressively getting deeper. Is that 350 squat number for an olympic style knee break squat? or is it a hip break powerlifting squat? Do you kno what is limiting you in your front squats? is it difficult to hold the weight in front? if so, you need to work on your back. if the problem is that you simply cant stand up with the weight, then your quads are way off par. May be a result of countless hip break squats. Stick with it and you'll make great progress. If there's one piece of advice i can give you, Squat every day. front squats 2 times a week, and the same for back squats. Good luck.


With OL you will be done a lot of front squats. I think it is common for the front squat to be about 80% of the ATG back squat (not PL style). Mine is 330 Front squat, 405 back squat at 190 lbs.

If you can do OHS to rock bottom that is great. If not work on your flexibility. Before you do drop snatches I would do press unders.

Press Unders: Stand with the bar on the back of your neck with a snatch grip. Descend into a full squat and at the same time, shoulder press the weight. It is finished when you are in a full squat snatch position. Remember, you aren't actually pressing the weight off your shoulders. It should be a smooth motion. You will get faster getting under the bar with practice. Also, hold the bottom position for a couple of seconds to get strong and comfortable in that position.

As a reminder: start with the empty bar for press unders. You have to drill in the technique.

To squat snatch, you will also have to learn to jump under the bar into a full squat quickly. Start with the empty bar. Put up the bar with a snatch width grip. Shrug the bar high and go up on your toes and then quickly jump under the bar into a full squat snatch position. You will have to drill this to practice getting faster under the bar. The elite lifters do this so fast it is ridiculous. You will have to get better at press unders before doing this though.

As always with OL do all your squats: front, back, overhead as low as you can.

Good luck.


I agree, top down is the easiest way to teach a squat snatch. Drop snatch would be next. Then what you need to do is is take an empty bar, take you snatch grip, get into the triple extesion and shrug. Hold it for a second, keep you shoulders shrugged and jsut give a bar a little momentum from your legs (or calfs)and practice moving around the bar into the full squat. It's hard to expalin but the end result is the squat snatch position.

I would also recomend doing a lot of you pulling, to start at least, off of blocks. Many people, when first taking up these lifts, rely too much on the legs to generate the upward movement of the bar. By learning the moves off of block your forced the make sure you get that violent shrug at the top of the triple extension.

Also don't underestimate the powerful teaching ability of a 7' length of closet pole. You can learn to move around the bar with less fear when it only weighs a pound or two.

Hope this helps.


I am going to start doing pulls off blocks for that reason. When I lightened the weight to practice driving the hips forward hard, I got into the habit of not shrugging aggressively.


I back squat raw 350 also and I front squat 275 (on really good days). Your 165*3 will improve. Are you relatively new to the front squat movement. For me, the key stabilizer muscle worked is the abs, as opposed the the lower back on a back squat. I am sure that you have sufficient ab strength, I am going out on a limb and thinking that you just need to get the form down on the front squats (bar placement, wrist flexability etc). You have the strength to go into the mid 200's and higher.

Also since you are flirting with oly lifts. Try doing squat cleans. It will almost force you into a perfect front squat position as well as enable you to clean more weight. Start light and get the form. Have fun with the oly lifting!

My .02


Ill try to ask some of my friends in the know if there is some sort of "standard" ratio of what you should be front squatting to the max back squat. I think Im fairly balanced between the two, and this week on wed my last working set for front squats was 405x3, today my last set of back squat was 500x3, with a back off set of 335+chainsx8 (rock bottom squats not the half squat stuff).

My buddy and head S&C coach hit a 460 single front squat today as well, and is back squatting around the same as me I think. If you just started front squat, hang in there it takes a while to get used to. Its a sweet sweet movement. If you checked some olympic lifting sites they may have percentages posted of what the front squat should be with max back squat in mind.

For sure getting the proper rack position is key, or else you will be struggling with balance and keeping the weight back over your heels. With that in mind core strength is important too so you dont round your back and dump it forward.


Damn! A 460 Front squat is sick!


yea he used to be a competitive o-lifter coached by Bill Starr of all people. He wants to hit a 500 by end of year. I think Ill try to chase him on that haha...

Ok guys, from my one source (the guy who front squatted 460), he said you should be able to do 83% of your back squat. My other source, Steve Plisk who some of you may know of, said to look at the book "Weightlifting" by Ajan&Baroga and they have established percentages for about 6 different lifts which should include front squat.


Here you can see german powerlifter Holger Kutroff performing frontsquats 594 and 66lbs.

Just klick the link, then "free", wait for the countdown to end, then type in the code and download the file.