T Nation

Learning Olympic Lifts

I am trying to incorporate OL in my routine and learn them on my own
Started having pain in my rotator cuff after cleans its even affecting my back squat is that sign of a common technical mistake
Also tips videos advices are welcome to learn cleans and especially snatch as I really struggle I think i am not quick enough to drop under the bar

Thank you in advance

Difficult to self teach even with the very best of YouTube tutorials and filming yourself. Terron Beckham has a series going on YouTube where he learns oly from Nick Novak. You can see him going from muscle snatching and pressing out everything to a proper lift. Is awesome.

Being self taught it’s easy to learn bad habits which take twice the time to break, limiting your gains and predisposing to injury.

Why not get a good coach (and not that CrossFit bullshit either)?

Idk. I don’t feel like learning the Olympic lifts by yourself is as hard as people make it out to be.

If you’re really wanting teach yourself to learn the Olympic lifts, then for the next two to three months:

Snatches: Max training weight = 50% your bodyweight
Clean+Jerks: Max training weight = 65% of your bodyweight

and drill technique. Then, go do your strength lifts. After a few months, provided you were actually putting effort into learning, you could start loading.

Waste of time. Just lift faster. Speed squat, speed lunge, speed etc

First off, @alphadestiny, you’re not the YouTuber right?

Secondly, I gotta agree with @khangles on this one. Obviously it’s possible to learn the Olympic lifts on your own, just don’t expect to have any degree of actual proficiency in it. Hell, I’ll go as far as to say, it’s pretty hard to get good technique in weightlifting if you start at any age past 14. Let alone, do it without a coach.

As for video resources, you can watch videos by California Strength(not my first choice), Torokhity(read subtitles if you don’t know Russian/Ukrainian) or just search for weightlifting seminar videos.

Afterthought, try standing barbell tricep extensions. I get pain like you’re describing, and it’s usually the long head of the triceps that gets tight for me. Bonus, tricep and soft tissue work,

Just a thought to try and see if it works for you.

whats your first choice

Get a proper coach. As for videos, i really like some of the cues that Torokhity use. Klokov is pretty decent too.


The pain on rotator cuff is coming from trying to torque the bar around the shoulder joint vs pulling the bar straight up and pull the body around it. I found my poor snatch to be the cause of pain that I only felt while jerking.

Drill complexes that require a pull and then the full lift. Concentrate on making the full lift as near to the pull as possible.

Otherwise… Good luck! Share some PRs when you get them.

Developing Power

Olympic Lifts are Power Movements. Thus, one of the most effective methods for developing Power.

Research (Dr John Garhammer) found Olympic Movements produce up to 52.6 watts per kilo of body weight; some of the highest Power Output, if not the highest recorded.

That is the primary reason that Olympic Lift Movement are part of all Football Players Strength Training Program, as well as the majority of athletes.

“Speed Squats”

This term is a misnomer. It is really “Power Squats”.

What differentiates Speed from Power Training is the Training Percentages.

Speed Training with Traditional Exercise, such as Squats, utilized load of 10 to 40% of your 1 Repetition Max.

Power Training with Traditional Exercises, such as the Squat, employs load of 48 to 63% if your 1 Repetition Max.

Thus, the Westside “Speed Training Method” Training Percentages that are used and recommended really fall into Power Training, not Speed.

Squat Power Output

Speed/Power Squats are a good training method. However, they minimally increase Power Output and develop it.

Squats and Deadlifts produce up to 12 watts per kilo of body weight. The Bench Press produces 4 watts per kilo of body weight.

Even when the Training Percentages are dropped down to Speed and Power Training Percentages, their Power Output is at best around 50% of the Power Output of the Olympic Movements.

Power Develops Power

"Speed/Power Squats, etc will minimally increase Power Output and development.

There is no comparison between Speed/Power Squats, etc and the Olympic Movement when it comes to the development of Power.

Olympic Movements generate over 4 time the amount of Power of Speed/Power Squats, etc.

With that in mind, let’s look at …

The Clean High Pull

This Olympic Movement is easy to learn and perform

Here are some other…

Exercises That Rival Olympic Movements.

  1. Trap Bar Jump Squats: Research has demonstrated that this movement produces Power Output/Development that is comparable to Olympic Pulls, which makes sense.

Essentially, Trap Bar Jump Squats are identical to the Olympic High Pull.

One of the benefits of Trap Bar Jumps is there is virtually no learning curve.

  1. Heavy Kettlebell Swings: Research has demonstrated that a Heavy Kettlebell Swings with a Bell that is between 50 to 100% of your body weight produces Power Output the rivals Olympic Movements.

Are Heavy Kettlebell Swings Better Than Deadlifts?

Contreras provides research on the amount of Peak Force that Heavy Kettlebell Swing produce.

Contreras also provides you with information on how to make a cheap (about $20) "Hungarian Core Blaster’, that can be loaded with as much weight as you want to perform Heavy Kettlebell Swings.

I’ve loaded mine up to 170 lbs.

Learning Olympic Movements

They are an investment in one’s future training success. They have an enormous value.

Kenny Croxdale



Shay, if he could have, he would have.

You’re asking something from him that isn’t possible.

Kenny Croxdale