T Nation

Olympic Lifting and Weight Loss

I was wondering what changes to their training, if any, olympic lifters make when they are trying to loose weight.

I am not exactly an o-lifter, but my training is more similar to theirs than any other sport, and, while in the long run I would like to be a bit bigger, I have been bulking up for a while and am tired of having my pants feel tight on my thighs and waist. (I gained 25 pounds in the last seven weeks, but much of that was gaining back weight that i had lost). I figured I would like to trim up my waist while gaining or maintaining strength.

Also, I was wondering what people’s expereince here of the effect of weight gain on their olympic lifting strength was: I know that the added weight helps powerlifting a lot, and it is evident that heavy weights do better in olympic lifting, but it seems to me that the correlation is less than that of powerlifting. I guess my secret hope is that i can get really strong with o-lifting and not have to bother stuffing myself to gain weight.

You absolutely can get stronger on the olympic lifts without gaining weight. Much of the advantage of added weight in powerlifting is the added girth around you torso. It helps you to keep from caving in at the bottom portion of the squat. There is more to it than just that but we’ll use that for now.
With the olympic lifts, especially if you are relatively new to them, weight gain is not neccasary at all. You will see a lot of improvement in your poundages as you get better at the lifts themselves. You will also get stronger due to neural adaptations. Your central nervous system will get more efficient at making more muscle fibers fire at the right time and with more force. With a few exceptions, the big guys usually move bigger weights but nothing out of proportion. If you figure the percentage of body weight that the light and heavy guy are moving it is really pretty similar. In some cases the light guys are lifting a bigger percentage!
So yes you can get stonger without gaining weight. Just teach your body how to use what its got more efficiently.

[quote]floobadoo wrote:
I was wondering what changes to their training, if any, olympic lifters make when they are trying to loose weight.

I am not exactly an o-lifter, but my training is more similar to theirs than any other sport, and, while in the long run I would like to be a bit bigger, I have been bulking up for a while and am tired of having my pants feel tight on my thighs and waist. (I gained 25 pounds in the last seven weeks, but much of that was gaining back weight that i had lost). I figured I would like to trim up my waist while gaining or maintaining strength.

Also, I was wondering what people’s expereince here of the effect of weight gain on their olympic lifting strength was: I know that the added weight helps powerlifting a lot, and it is evident that heavy weights do better in olympic lifting, but it seems to me that the correlation is less than that of powerlifting. I guess my secret hope is that i can get really strong with o-lifting and not have to bother stuffing myself to gain weight. [/quote]

Olmpic lifters who try to lose weight or maintain weight generally keep their reps very low on all exercises (1-2 reps per set) to keep tissue breakdown to a bare minimum and elicit neural adaptation. Use Prilipin’s table to find correct loading parameters for given percentages and TOTAL reps. Just keep the reps per set at 1-2.

As far as added weight, olympic lifting is MUCH more technical than powerlifting so you are comparing apples and oranges here. My personal exeperience over the last 8 years of O.lifting has been the following: Bodyweight increase = strength gains on pulls, squats and presses (assistance exercises) due to better tissue leverage but minimal increase if any in the classic lifts. (My best competion snatch was 130kg and jerk 165kg at 105kg. 120kg and 150kg at 91kg respectively. Best practice was P.Sn. 135kg and C&J 170kg weighing approx. 103kg.) Olympic lifting is a complex skill that must be PRACTICED routinely and repetitively. The more practice the better.

Hope that helps.