OL for BB???

I wanted to post this in the beginner forum and the physique forum as well as this one, but I guess that would be poor etiquette.

Can Olympic Lifting help me reach my physique goals?

Last year I was forced to quit training at my OL gym. School, marriage, life and gym hours prevent me from committing the needed amount of time to be productive. I mean, I could go in get half a workout maybe twice a week. But being the type of person I am, I decided that this was an opportunity to really emphasize some other aspect of my training and return to my gym stronger than ever. It would also be a good time to increase my nekid factor. Really I don’t look to shabby nekid. But I would like to reach a degree muscularity where people don’t ask “Oh, do you workout?” That question pisses me off. I have tried to reach my goals by avoiding anything associated with BB i.e. 3x10, curls, smith machines (though I did find a good use for these, but only one), Hammer Strength equipment or personal trainers. But eventually dabbled with a few, but not all of the above. A year latter and I pretty much look the same. I am stronger and heavier. But really I don’t look much stronger.

I decided to increase my knowledge of old school training. And studied the trianing of the people that I would like to look like and lift like. Namely John Grimek. Old schoolers had a look that cannot be achieved by todays training. They looked stong and they were strong. Old school lifters often trianed the Olympic lifts for reps above the 1-3 used by todays OL’ers and did full body routines 3x a week or more. So it has me thinking that these guys were onto something.

So again I pose the question, can OL help me reach me physique goals? I think it can. And I’m going to try to prove it. Mainly I want to prove it to myself and my brother who has been brain washed by Weider and the Bodybuilding Encyclopedia by Arnold. I want reach a point where no one ever asks me again “Oh, do you lift.” My goal, “Look strong, be strong.” I stole that from someone on the Old school board, but I gonna use it from not on. The workout revolves around repititious OL. Here it is:

Front Squat - 55
Squat Snatch - 5
Power Jerk - 55, 1 clean & five jerks(I’m a power jerker)
Squat Clean - 5
Over head Press - 55, 1 clean and five presses
Standing 1 leg Calf raises - maybe 5
10 (because big thighs and skinny calves looks stupid)

Front Squat - heavy single for 1-3 sets
Squat Snatch - heavy single, but not too heavy since I can’t drop the weight
Jerks - Heavy single
Squat Clean - heavy single
Overhead Press - Heavy single

Back Squat - 46
Split Snatch - 4
Split Jerk - 46
Split Clean - 4
Overhead Press - 4*6
(I think the split versions will offer some variety and a under utilized by BB’ers and OL’ers)

I won’t be going all out right at first I’m going to ease into for at least one week. I have a tendancy to come out with guns blazing. This is sometimes helpful, but sometimes causes quick burnout.

On tue & thur I’m going to do some short low intensity cardio (walking). I’m thinking about adding a program similar to the old York routines(but a much much lighter version) right after the cardio. I will wait at least one full cycle before adding this aspect into the mixe. I don’t want to do too much too soon.

Any though, comments, ideas or critisisms? I think the overall principle is sound. I would love it if some of the T-Mag writers would give their .02.

Doing only OLY’s will have you hypertrophying only certain muscles, and only the shoulders, legs, and upper back will look better. It would be wise to incorporate weighted chins, bench press, and hanging leg raises if you want a balanced, muscular phyisique that people will envy.

Weighted chins? Have you ever snatched heavy…and often?

Bench Press? Better off with incline.

Pulls, squats and presses…yes horrible for muscle growth.


Nah, look at the old schoolers man. I disagree. Well, I don’t disagree entirely. If you want to BB then you may have to add in some chest, arm and maybe some upper back work in once or twice a year. But all in all I’m thoerizing that a repititious weightlifting program will do wonders for anyones physique. Much in the same way that repititious PL can. Grimek did OL exclusively for long periods time & looked great while doing so. There were times that he added some BB and added incline DB Press or decline Bench and some various stuff. Alot of the old schoolers did this type of training. Train hard on basic lifts to build the base and then add exercises to round off your physique. I offer this picture for defense of this theory. Note: to me this is just a theory. I’ll give an update of my results in about 1 month.


One more

Pulls, squats and presses…yes horrible for muscle growth.[/quote]

I think that I smell sarcasm.

Keep us posted Oly. Looks very interesting and I’m definitely curious as to the outcome.

Just a thought, perhaps every other wednesday (or every 2 wednesdays) you could try Waterbury’s 10x3 scheme. Just a thought since you asked for ideas.


[quote]Olympiclfter wrote:

I decided to increase my knowledge of old school training. And studied the trianing of the people that I would like to look like and lift like. Namely John Grimek. Old schoolers had a look that cannot be achieved by todays training. They looked stong and they were strong. Old school lifters often trianed the Olympic lifts for reps above the 1-3 used by todays OL’ers and did full body routines 3x a week or more. So it has me thinking that these guys were onto something. [quote]

Just a quick question though, don’t mean to hijack the purpose of your thread or anything. Could you PM where you researched the above? I’m not doubting you did nor am I weary of its accuracy. It’s just that I have looked for information like this before and found it extremely difficult to find any. I would definitely like to learn more about it. Thank you.


Personally I like the hybrid between powerlifting/O-lifts and BB.

Snatch is one of my favorite compound exercises. Nothing hits my traps like a good power snatch. As for the C&J, I just use the powerclean move and occasional overhead squats in favor of heavy back squats.

They are all tools, use them all!

Just a thought, perhaps every other wednesday (or every 2 wednesdays) you could try Waterbury’s 10x3 scheme. Just a thought since you asked for ideas.


Good call 103 in the OL would work very well for hypertrophy. But, what would concern me is #1 the time it would take to do all of the lifts in 103 fashion. I believe that you could split it up and do 103 for 1-2 exercises then just a few sets for the rest…then later in the week to 1-2 different exercises for 103 and so on. #2 It think 55 on Mon and Fri and 103 on Wed could lead to burn out real fast. Maybe I’m wrong. You guess that you could do it if the intensity were gauged correctly.

I will keep it in mind though for a later training cycle. It would work if you could be past the whole time issue. maybe on Mon you could 103 on FS and Snatch and 33 on the rest. On Wed you could 103 on the power jerks and cleans and again 33 on the other lifts. Fri 10*3 on the FS (again) and overhead press. I’d have to work out the schedule. It could work though. Like I said. I’ll keep it in mind for a later training cycle. This first one is to gauge things. My main goal is to not overtrain too quickly.

I know that Olympic lifts would work wonders for hypertrophy, but they completely ignore some muscle groups, notably the lats and chest. Yes I have snatched heavy and often, I used to do 5x5 snatch three times a week.

Another thought came to mind. You could try applying the Waterbury Method (10x3 for one exercise, then 4x6 for the next 3 or 4).


Monday - Full Clean and Jerk 10 x 3
Front Squat 4 x 6
Clean High Pulls 4 x 6
Dips 4 x 6 (for the "neglected body part)

Wednesday - Snatch 10 x 3
Push Jerk 4 x 6
Back Squat 4 x 6
Chin-ups 4 x 6 (for the "neglected body parts)

Friday - Press 10 x 3
Overhead Squat 4 x 6
Split Clean 4 x 6
Power Curls 4 x 6 (for the “neglected” body part)

Just a thought. Also I remember while back in a question and answer article for Charles Poliquin, he suggested 5 x 6 as a hypertrophy based scheme for the power clean.


On what Olympiclfter wrote:

Olympic Lifter,

I’m very interested in how you go woth this program as I would love doing the Oly lifts as well and like to use them as much as I can.

With the 10x3 method you would have to use it for only 1 exercise per workout, CW mentions this rule in the Waterbury Method article. He agrees that the Oly lifts would work very well with these parameters.

I would consider throwing in some horizontal pressing and rowing, especially for shoulder health (Been reading too much of EC and MR!). You get plenty of vertical pulling with the Oly lifts, but most of that would be upper back/trap development. You might need to incorporate pull-ups or chin-ups to target the lower lats. Indeed, chin-ups would allow you to use a supinated grip for a bit of a balance compared to the pronated grip pulling of snatches and cleans.

Apart from that I would love to hear of your progress. At the moment I am doing a Waterbury Method style phase for general bulk and “power building”, but I will move into pure strength phases after that and am interested to see how you go, it might be the style of program I am looking for.

Good luck!


I will keep everyone posted. If ends up needing tweaking(and it is a distinct possibility that it will) I would like to let everyone know before they start on a similar protocal themselves. I’m already considering what to do after this cycle.

My natural tendency is to bring the volume down and increase the weight to sets of 3 with one day hitting some singles. Now this will be heresy many, but I’m also considering do 2*10 with these very same exercises. I know I know, it’s crazy. But I think if done only once a week for a short period of time (4-6 weeks) and taking very careful consideration of the weights, then it could provide some good stimulus for growth. Any opinions?

It can help but you will need to add some extra exercises for chest and probably some pullups and direct arm work.

Here’s another thought I have. You guys are talking about adding in the dips and pull ups and horizontal pressing and rowing to keep a well balanced physique.

Do you guys think it’s necessary to always include lifts like these? I not critisizing at all. I just tyring to have a good conversation. You see I think that 70-95% of your traing could revolve around 3-5 lifts.

BB’ers obviously need the more rounded physique, thus will incorporate more lifts throughout their career. But I think that many BB’ers rob themselves by getting too complicated. We’ve all seen it. Some poor kid pounding away on a variety of lifts and making little if any progress.

Things would go alot smoother if the kid just did the big three plus some some rowing. After 3-6 six month of this type of routing, then he could take 1-3 months to de-emphasize the basic program buy just bang bang bang whipping out the basic part of the workout and then spend the last half of his workout specializing on ONE part(say his calves or forearms). Then after the 1-3 months returning to his core training lifts.

Again I’m not saying anyone was wrong or that the programs offered suck. I think just the opposite. In fact the programs that you guys suggested would fit very well into the above senario as the specialization type programs that I am talking about.

I just think that in BB today the concept of “building your base” has been lost. And 60 years ago it was a concept that was very emphasized. Do you get what I’m saying? What do you guys think?

No they don’t ignore the lats. Do Snatch, Cleans and the various pulls. …If you were doing 5x5, then you were NOT going heavy. 5x5 and a max single are two different animals.

Sure dude, check out Don Alessi’s article called Bodybuilding’s Best Kept Secret.

The only drawback of Oly Lifting for BB-ing is the lack of pec work and to a certain degree the lats. Yes, the lats get recruited in the lifts but I don’t remember readin any Oly lifting program that included chins (and I’m a USAW). Chin and pull-ups, as you know, hit the lats like no other.

If I can help out anymore, let me know.

Olympic lifter:

Being an OL myself, I think you’re doing too much (from a performance point of view, not from aesthetics). Something I agree is that 10x3 build mass fast but that takes too much time. Although it can be done with neurally less demanding lifts like power cleans, pulls…it’s kinda hard to do 10x3 in snatches and jerks with a decent poundage. And yes…OL build a very athletic looking physique…balanced, not a “arms bigger than legs” body.

I would recommend a generic template of a snatch related lift, a clean related lift, a jerk related lift and end heavy assistance move.


day 1
power clean and push press
snatch pull
front squat

day 2
squat snatch
squat clean and jerk
snatch DL

day 3
power snatch
clean and press
clean DL

One more thing I remembered reading.

Coach CT recommended the Decline Bench Press for people who were doing alot of shoulder work. (I think it was a cool tips thing). You could try incorporating that too.