T Nation

Oly Lifting

About 5 months ago I quit Crossfit (did it for 2 years, before which I had never been into a gym, played soccer most of my life though) and bought some weights and started following 531 with BBB assistance, I feel like I have gained a lot of strength and a bit of lean mass since starting, here are my numbers from when I started 531 and now, I know they are not phenomenal, but I am just starting out.

Bodyweight 85kgs (185lbs) to 87kgs (190lbs)

Squat 130kg (287lbs) to 147.5kg (325 lbs) (ass to grass, high bar, narrow stance)

Bench 85kg (187lbs) to 100kg (220lbs)

Deadlift 150kg (330lbs) to 160 (353lbs) (pulled this last week on a bad workout, also pulled it 2 months ago, probably is a bit higher, but I have never pulled higher than this)

Press 70kg (152lbs) to 80kg (176lbs)

I am really enjoying 531, thank you Jim for a great program. However, there is one thing I miss from Crossfit and that is Olympic lifting. I like doing full squat cleans and full squat snatches. I havent done them since I quit Crossfit so I had to retest my maxes; to my surprise they had improved without even working them;

Clean 95kg (210lbs) to 100kg (220lbs)

Snatch 50kg (110lbs) to 60kg (132lbs)

Last month I did cleans before squatting and snatches before deadlifting, I followed the Advanced 531 program as described in Jims Beyond book (I only did 3 sets instead of 5) because I didnt want to do high rep work with Olympic lifting. However, I found the squatting felt much heavier after and so did the deadlifts.

So I was wondering if I should be doing it the other way round, snatches before squatting and cleans before deadlifting? Or will I get the same result? Or am I completely overthinking it and I will just have to deal with the compromised squat and deadlift if I want to do Olympic lifting?

This is my current plan anyway;

Monday
Clean advanced 5/3/1 reps/sets
Squat 5/3/1 reps/sets
Deadlift 5x10 @ 60%
Ab workout (as described in the ebook)

Tuesday
Bench 5/3/1 reps/sets
Press 5x10 @70%
Pendlay rows 5x10 with same weight as press
Ring dips 5x5 (I superset the press, rows and dips)

Thursday
Snatch advanced 5/3/1 reps/sets
Deadlift 5/3/1 reps/sets
Squat 5x10 @ 60%
Ab workout

Friday
Press 5/3/1 reps/sets
Bench 5x10 @ 70%
Curls 5x10
Pull ups 5x to failure

TL;DR. I want to put Olympic lifting (full squat snatches and full squat cleans) into my program, how should I do this without compromising my other lifting?

I will caution you on one thing. Like yourself, I also did CrossFit for 2 years. Since the quality of “coaching” in CF varies wildly from gym to gym I may be wrong on this point so you will have to be your own judge.

However, I have never met a CFer who knew how to perform a barbell snatch correctly. Never. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist – it just means I’ve never met one. So before programming maximum effort barbell snatches into any template, I would personally invest in an olympic lifting seminar (at minimum) or start training with a weightlifting coach (better).

The CF instruction on olympic lifts is woefully insufficient IMO. Maybe your experience was different. All I’m saying is that I would invest in some coaching by actual oly lifters before going down that path.

As for programming into 5/3/1 – I’m as curious as you are to see what JW has to say about it…

In the past I have always heard Jim recommend doing cleans with 5/3/1 sets and reps before squat or deadlift like you have it set up. I usually jump and do cleans before squatting and it does not negatively effect my squat.

That seems like an awful lot of volume with the BBB assistance template. Your lower back and knees are not going to be happy with you after a few months of that.

I’ve been to a few oly lifting seminars - one run by Pendlay at my old crossfit gym. I’m not too worried about my form - I think it’s fairly decent.
I am a little concerned about the volume. So fair it has been alright, I’m eating, stretching, rolling, sleeping a lot - I do feel it a little bit in the lower back on occasion which is probably why my lifts are suffering on those days. Do you suggest if I am doing oly lifts to cut out bbb on those days or do a lighter version of it (5x5 or 3x10 etc…)?

How is doing a clean going to compromise your squat? You can’t do 2 lifts in a workout?

Well if you can handle it good shit man, keep it up and kick some butt.

[quote]Jim Wendler wrote:
How is doing a clean going to compromise your squat? You can’t do 2 lifts in a workout? [/quote]

I’m not necessarily saying that it is. I’m wondering what progression (advanced 531, 531 or any other variation) is the best to use for oly lifting and I’m wondering if it would be more beneficial to switch the snatches and the cleans so I’m snatching before squatting and doing cleans before deadlifting.

I have been thinking that the lighter weight of the snatches before squatting might lead to less strain on my back, I deadlift sumo so doing cleans before deadlifting could work the back more during that workout and take the strain off in the other. Would love your input jim, it’s a great program, I’m just curious as to how it would be best to implement full snatches and full cleans into it without impacting on my performance of the main lifts.

I power clean before squatting/deadlifting. I usually do 5 sets of triples with the option to do doubles on a shitty day. I don’t go off percentages and chose my weights based on how I feel that day.

For me power cleans are basically a warmup for squatting/deadlifting. I used to do it the other way around (squat then clean) but IMO the recommended way is superior.

But, I’m not an O-lifting expert so take my opinion for what it’s worth.

@somedude gave me the same advise on another post re: adding cleans to 531. I’ve been doing it as he described for the past couple sessions and think it works well. Cleans before squats and DL get me ready to move serious weight…

I would just use the 5/3/1 percentages for both snatch and C+J, then just convert 5 rep sets to 3 rep sets. I.e. weeks 1 and 2 will both have you progressing with 3’s, then in week 3 either take your last set for a double or triple or keep going up to a new max.

I think Jim has recomended either 531 reps or 10 sets of 2 before squating/dead workouts. I do 5-6 sets of 2 on snatches with a plate(can max maybe 225?), or 185 on a clean(max 275 on powerclean, cant full clean lol) when im feeling bad that day and almost always have a shitty feeling day turn into at least a solid feeling day.

[quote]fugal wrote:

[quote]Jim Wendler wrote:
How is doing a clean going to compromise your squat? You can’t do 2 lifts in a workout? [/quote]

I’m not necessarily saying that it is. I’m wondering what progression (advanced 531, 531 or any other variation) is the best to use for oly lifting and I’m wondering if it would be more beneficial to switch the snatches and the cleans so I’m snatching before squatting and doing cleans before deadlifting.

I have been thinking that the lighter weight of the snatches before squatting might lead to less strain on my back, I deadlift sumo so doing cleans before deadlifting could work the back more during that workout and take the strain off in the other. Would love your input jim, it’s a great program, I’m just curious as to how it would be best to implement full snatches and full cleans into it without impacting on my performance of the main lifts. [/quote]

OP,
I have also been trying to do what you are talking about. I posted a couple different questions here, but never got a response from Jim. My guess is that he doesn’t comment directly on olympic lifting because he doesn’t train them.He is a powerlifter, who trains football, so he knows the powerlifts and the powerclean. I respect that, just saying don’t expect a lot of detail.

My training template was somewhat similar. I did cleans before front squats, snatches before snatch-grip deads. Like the one poster said, change sets of 5 to sets of 3, and use the same 5/3/1 percentages. I’d skip the BBB for lower body. It is too much volume and it won’t help your OL to improve unless you are trying to gain weight. If weight gain is your prime goal, then just do a couple sets of OL as activation (no 5/3/1 sets), and use FSL sets after squat and dead.

If you are trying to get stronger in the OL, do some barbell complexes after your main lifts on lowerbody days. Pendlay and others have great complexes that work as both teaching tools and conditioning. Your snatch is low compared to your other lifts. I’d start with complexes that help with snatch variations.

there’s an oly lift template on his site forum. Just one of a thousand reasons to buy a month sub to it.