Olympic Lift Assistance Exercises/Programming Question

I guess this pretty much falls under noob questions, so bear with me.

A little background-
I’ve been doing olympic lifts (and by olympic lifts I really just mean cleans)in my training for a little while, not in conjunction with any set olympic lifting goals. The resistance end of my training right now is really just geared towards “get big and strong” without killing me for my other training (I’m a rower) but I plan on competing sometime, either in the off season or whenever I can enter a comp without totally embarassing myself.
Current best clean is 105, just learning the snatch but I’ll take a wild guess and call it 70ish.

Now the question-
A: For a guy with 2-maybe 3- days a week to O lift, would you recommend I stick to clean and snatch, or incorporate pulls, hang/power variations…etc. At my current level is it worth it?

B: More of a general programming question, but what would be the rationale behind selecting X assistance exercise for a lift? Ex: Why would a lifter select a hang snatch instead of a power snatch, or power hang, or pulls, etc? Is it based on a periodized approach or addressing weak points in a lift?

Hope that made sense, thanks.

A: I would stick with the basic lifts and just vary the reps a bit.

B: Both for variation but also to address weak points in a lift, for example a hang snatch is good if you find you don’t really finish your regular snatches like you should, it makes it easier to focus on one or two weaknesses at a time.

I’m just throwing in my 2cents to keep this forum active, someone will probably come along with a better answer.

My coach works with a lot of high school kids who aren’t able to train more than 3 days a week or so. With them, workouts usually go:

  1. Snatch
    snatch pull
    front squat

  2. Clean
    Clean pull
    back squat

  3. Snatch
    Clean and jerk
    back squat

He prescribes lifts from the hang, blocks, jerks from behind the neck, etc. to address specific weaknesses. Like Cesium said, lifts from the hang can address a lack of “finish” in the second pull, while lifts from the blocks can address problems in the transition from first to second pull. When and how to implement these movements is, unfortunately, where the experience of a coach is very handy to have.

Regarding other assistance work, my coach believes that an athlete should always be pushing up their maximal strength, both on pulls and on squats, so these movements are always in our program, and he is relatively aggressive about challenging us with the loads. Usually we’ll go a week or two heavy on the squat, then deload 5-10kg to do a heavy week with the quick lifts. He leaves all other assistance work up to us, with exception of sometimes prescribing some pressing or RDLS.

[quote]Sneaky weasel wrote:
Like Cesium said, lifts from the hang can address a lack of “finish” in the second pull, while lifts from the blocks can address problems in the transition from first to second pull. [/quote]

Could you expand on this?
specifically the part about first/second pull, I’m familiar with them but an explanation would be appreciated

You mean what they actually are?

First pull is when you pick the bar off the floor and bring it above the knees, the second pull is the explosion to where you’ll catch it.

If that is your question…

The other part was how I’d go about knowing what needed work, don’t have a coach and likely will not until I’ve paid for neat little things like tuition. So how would I know I needed to work the transition from the first to second pull, etc.

I would just stick to basic lifts followed by heavy squats or front squats

Assistance exercises have many uses. Some use it to address weak points and technical errors.
Others use it to build raw power that will carry over into the classical lifts.

My coach is of the latter school. His cycles are setup to have periods where practice of classical lifts occur at a very high frequency, and other periods where overloaded assistance exercises (clean deads, snatch deads, presses, push press, etc.) occur at a higher frequency. These phases occur back to back, with varying volume and intensity.

And to address your last message.

To work on your transition from the first to second pull, do snatch pulls and clean pulls focusing on hip drive. Or better yet, just practice the classical lifts. You can never clean or snatch too much.

Oh yea, coaches are free, I have not paid anything yet.

I’d suggest that if you really want to get into O-lifting you find a coach, somebody that you can work with so you build proper technique and learn to lift.

I see your in Alberta so here are some folks you could contact that could probably help you get started with finding a coach etc. Not all coaches are free but if your a student you can certainly toss that out there and see if somebody would be willing to give you a deep discount. Best of luck to you.

Alright well thanks everybody, much appreciated.