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Olympic Lift Programs?


Ive been looking around for awhile now for a program that focuses on olympic lifts, but have yet to find it. Anyone know of any? thanks.


Do you want to lift to get good at Olympic Lifting, or do you just want a strength program that utilizes Olympic Lifts?

Two very different things.

What do you want?


a strength program


I'm fairly new to olympic lifting and this caught my attention. I would be very interested to know how to divide my time between squats and Oly lifts.


CLEAN, that SNATCH, your JERK.



a site you may find useful



A short description of the programming...


...all olympic lifting.

If you are serious about learning the lifts and getting good at them, I would start looking for a coach in your area as well.


Because Oly lifting is technical, you should be doing it more than once a week to practice the technique.

You dont want your bench to suffer, so impliment it like any other strength program, 2-3 times a week, depending on your training xp, usually less the longer you have been training.

You could pretty much do 2 oly days and 2 bench + assist days, and it would work out like powerlifting, but I think you would get less hypertrophy gains, and eventually end up with much faster rep speeds and power.

As a beginner coming from powerlifting to olympic lifting, on a 3 day a week program, I start with squat variation, then do technical variation or two, and then a pull variation.

For example:
5x5 front squats
3x3 full snatch
4x2 full clean and jerk
3x3 snatch grip pull
pushups, weighted

Day 2:
5x5 back squats
4x3 power clean
3x3 clean pull
3x10 preacher or concentration curls, depending on elbow health (locking or not at the top of a jerk/snatch)

This means you wont be deadlifting, but if you understand the difference between a pull and deadlift, you wont be dissapointed.

You may not want to snatch as much, because it is mostly a technical move, and when benching as well in the week, your shoulders may suffer. Alternatively you could dip as your primary chest movement, if you are not a tricep dominant dipper.

What is missing? Lats, scapula movement, and lower body assistance. Assistance you will have to work out yourself, like weather you want direct calf work is up to you, or if you have a glute/quad imbalance. Usually doing oly lifting sorts out imbalances like that, so dont add stuff like that in til you have tried a full cycle of your program.
Scapula movement just means rows. You get a solid back doing so many pulls, but because they are all half-contracted isometric excercises for the scapula, I would add in some direct work on your upper body days like rows, and/or lateral rows.

Learn Hook grip and use chalk.


P.S. If you become more involved in olympic lifting, once you have your technique down pat and are heaving some heavy shit overhead, you will probably want to swap the squats at the start with the two technical lifts.


What I gave you above is a purely Oly A,B,A B,A,B system. If you are configuring it to have bench n assist days, I DONT reccomend you just copy and paste that.


From an old article of Christian Thibaudeau:

The basic principles of the HTT program are simple:

  1. The program is divided in 3 weeks phases. An accumulation phase (3 weeks) is alternated with an intensification phase (3 weeks) and the process is repeated.

  2. The accumulation phase uses 5 sets of 5-6 reps for all the exercises; rest interval 1-2 minutes

  3. The intensification phase uses 5-8 sets of 2-3 reps for all exercises; rest interval: 2-3 minutes

  4. Each workout consist of 4 exercises:

a) a main olympic lifting movement

b) an assistance olympic lifting movement (explosive)

c) a limit strength main movement

d) a limit strength assistance movement

  1. There are 4 workouts per week:

a) a snatch-based workout

b) a clean-based workout

c) a jerk-based workout

d) a remedial exercise workout (work on your perceived weaknesses)

Exercises that can be used:

  1. Snatch-based workout (one of each category)

a) main olympic lifting movement

  • power snatch (from the floor, from the blocks or from the hang)

b) assistance olympic lifting movement (explosive)

  • snatch pull (from the floor, from the blocks or from the hang)

  • overhead squat

c) limit strength main movement

  • snatch grip deadlift (from the floor, from the blocks or from an elevated podium)

d) limit strength assistance movement

  • Romanian deadlift

  • Straight legged deadlift

  • Upright row

  • Clean-based workout (one of each category)

a) main olympic lifting movement

  • power clean (from the floor, from the blocks or from the hang)

b) assistance olympic lifting movement (explosive)

  • clean pull (from the floor, from the blocks or from the hang)

c) limit strength main movement

  • back squat

  • front squat

d) limit strength assistance movement

  • deadlift

  • sumo deadlift

  • Jerk-based workout (one of each category)

a) main olympic lifting movement

  • split jerk

  • power jerk

  • jerk behind the neck

b) assistance olympic lifting movement (explosive)

  • push press

  • push press from behind the neck

c) limit strength main movement

  • military press

  • incline press

  • bench press

d) limit strength assistance movement

  • seated dumbbell press

  • flat dumbbell press

  • incline dumbbell press

  • Remedial exercises workout (one of each category)

a) Biceps exercise

  • Barbell curl

  • Reverse curl

  • Hammer curl

  • Cable curl

  • Dumbbell curl

b) Triceps exercise

  • Nose breaker

  • Cable extension

  • Dumbbell extension

  • Kickback

c) Pectorals exercise

  • Dumbbell fly

  • Dumbbell incline fly

  • Cable cross-over

  • Pec deck machine

Abdominal work is done for 5-8 sets of 10-15 reps at every workout.

As you can see, it's a strength program based on O-lifts, quite easy to do, no special equipement needed. On the main movement you can go either with a full or power clean/snatch.


Download Dan John's book From the Ground Up(its free) and read some of his articles and newsletters



Personally, I don't like Thib's layout for a general strength program. It puts too much emphasis on pretending to be an olympic split, and not enough on dividing the week into strength and power.

He is right in saying that you should stick to Power Variations if you don't have a coach if you want fast results, but why would you not do a full clean, if you can front squat and you can clean anyways? If you are going to be spending more than a short time on a program, which is what I suggest, you CAN teach yourself.

"The olympic lifts are also high tension exercises. However these lifts cannot be performed at a high time under tension because they are explosive movements. So for hypertrophy purposes it's best to keep the reps moderately high (4-6 reps) and the sets high (5-8) to ensure proper stimulation."

Olympic lifts aren't DESIGNED to be for hypertrophy, so doing more than 5 reps of a technical lift, especially not doing pause-rep, is just an injury waiting to happen.

Now, Deadlifting is just counter-productive if you are also doing Pull-variations, because deadlifting is so much easier technically, you will end up deadlifting your pulls. PULLS ARE NOT THE SAME TECHNIQUE AS DEADLIFTING. Thus you would not want to do them on the same day.

Ok, now lets look at the week. He has laid it out, pretty much as:
1. Lower
2. Lower
3. Lower and Shoulders
4. Upper
Not only are triceps being used 3 times a week, it is imbalanced, because he does not set the week up to allow for recovery, unlike, for example, the good old Upper Lower Upper Lower. He expects you to work at your max capacity for each excercise for every workout? I think I would die, considering the intensity, with no pause-rep, and with so many working sets...

Nothing against most of Thib's other programs, but I have beef with this one. He should stick to his hypertrophy theories.


I have my own version:

Program is a modified "heavy light medium method". Nearly all work sets are based from the Prilepin table. These are the five main exercises:

1.Either one of the oly lifts (Or any direct variation/s that makes you go to a full front squat position at the part where you duck under. I may even pause at the bottom... and maybe put some chains.)

  1. A type of squat (from zercher to back)

  2. A posterior chain dominant movement

  3. A heavy pressing movement

  4. Rows/chins/pull ups (or any other direct variations of the lifts)

After these 5 exercises, I'd do some isolations and/or ab and oblique exercises.

Mine is a more general program, but it still can be considered as an oly program. A few things that are not generic about this compared to other oly programs is that:

  1. You do only one type of oly lift a week.

  2. There is no jerking and/or push pressing in my program, just strict heavy pressing movements.

  3. There are rows/chins/pull ups.


He recently laid out the same split, just check out page 2 on this: http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_article/density_training_canadian_bear_style_1?id=2688178&pageNo=1


thanks for all the help on this. its greatly appreciated.