T Nation

Learning Olympic Lifts

I would like to learn how to clean & jerk and snatch but I haven’t been able to find anyone in any of the gyms in my small city who coaches these lifts.

Is a coach necessary for these lifts? Can someone learn good form without one?

I have a friend who said he’ll watch my form based on what little he knows and comparing to videos around the internet but he admits he’d be winging it. Is this a good approach considering my options?

Any suggestions or advice would be much appreciated :slight_smile:

Honestly, yes. They’re enormously technical and detail-oriented. That said, you could look into the resources at performancemenu.com–Greg Everett has a book and DVD that are very good. Better than nothing.

A coach is NOT necessary to learn the lifts. I really hate it when people say this.

A coach is absolutely PREFERABLE, but the oly lifts are not rocket science.

It’ll take you longer without a coach, but with a brain and a partner (or a camera), you should be able to do fine.

Tommy Kono has some excellent Youtube videos where he teaches the lifts. Between that and Dan John’s book “Lift up”, available for free on his website, you should be able to get the basics.

Koing lists some great exercises for the unsupported squat under (typically the most difficult part for beginners) in one of the first few pages of his Olympic Numbers thread in the training log forum.

For technique refinement, Youtube videos of the 2004 Olympic weightlifting in Sidney will help you refine your technique. They helped mine. Just ask yourself “why doesn’t my lift look that clean?”, and then work the answer.

When doing the above, it helps if you look at lifters in your weight class. I don’t know why, but the heavier the class, the less clean the lift looks, although that just might be my opinion. It might have something to do with weight lifted, I dunno.

[quote]Sneaky weasel wrote:
Honestly, yes. They’re enormously technical and detail-oriented.[/quote]

For the non-competitive lifter, I’d disagree with that. You can definitely self-teach (using available resources like books, videos, etc.) and learn enough to get stronger without increasing any risk of injury.

What Otep said was killer, but I think the Dan John book he was referring to is titled “From the Ground Up.”

Charles Staley has pair of articles explaining the snatch:

And actually Deb, if you’re only learning the lifts for physique or general athletic training, rather than competitive Olympic lifting, you’d do just as well learning the clean and press, rather than the clean and jerk.

Thibaudeau described the muscle clean and push press in #6 of this article:

And John Davies explained the power clean itself here:

And for what it’s worth, I’ve never benefited much from using just a broomstick to practice with. I need some resistance (for me, 55-65 pounds) to prevent myself from flailing around too much.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:
The Dan John book [otep] was referring to is titled “From the Ground Up.”

For what it’s worth, I’ve never benefited much from using just a broomstick to practice with. I need some resistance (for me, 55-65 pounds) to prevent myself from flailing around too much.[/quote]

I agree with both of these.

Colucci and Otep have it right. A coach is desirable but not necessary. Once you get started (without a coach), posting video of your attempts is helpful. This site might not be the best place to post the videos, although there are a few here who do know there stuff.

My apologies to Colucci and Otep, I’ve never seen your analysis of olympic lifting, so I don’t know if you know what to look for or not. Koing is one person whose opinion I would trust, and of course myself. The olympic lifting forum on fortifiediron and the weightlifting exchange usually get you good feedback.

I agree with these guys, If your not going to compete you dont need a coach. I’m not strong with the O lifts but I taught myself and I can do them safely.

I think the key is sensible progression.
Break it down and watch wat movements are actually occuring.

I agree with chris though, you need a bit of weight to get it to feel right. Having some weight kind of forces you to lift with momentum.
Edit; Some people just have shit body awareness and shouldn’t attempt lifting their ass off a chair without a coach.

Awesome. Thanks for all the great advice. I’m encouraged :smiley:

Looks like I have some work to do but that’s exactly what I’m looking for.

I’ll definitely check out all the resources listed.

Doyle,I can’t say for sure but I’m hoping I’m not one of those people!

Don’t worry debra I’m sure your not, looks like you’ve made some great progress so far.
good luck with the O lifts

Thanks Doyle :smiley:

I have shit body awareness aka preprioception. I still have fun with O-lifts.

Just learn the component lifts well before you do the O-lifts. In other words make sure you can do dead lifts, hang cleans, front squats, push press or push jerks for C&J and overhead squats for the snatch.

How are you going with the lifts Deb?