T Nation

Questions about Olympic Lift Training


#1

Prepare for a long winded post. I know this has been asked a lot, but I can never seem to find an answer that makes sense to me.

Out of boredom, curiosity, and a desire to be more explosive, I have
been doing what I can to learn about the Olympic lifts and training
methods. Training at a powerlifting gym I have learned quite a
bit about the conjugate method in terms of powerlifting. I was
wondering how that would apply to Olympic lifting, if at all. I
understand that Louie Simmons designed his methods based off of
Russian Olympic lifting training, more specifically Vasiliy Alexeyev's
methods of training. However, I have read through "A Complete Guide
For Coaches & Athletes: Second Edition" by Greg Everett and done some
research on line about Bulgarian methods and most of what I find seems
to be versions of concurrent methods of training.

In your opinion, which methods are best for training the Olympic
lifts? Focusing heavily on the lifts themselves with waving
intensities/volumes and daily maxes, or doing something similar to the
Westside methodology of rarely practicing the main lifts heavily and
focusing more on variations of the main lifts and other explosive
movements?

On a similar note, how would you program intensity and volume for
assistance work? Would you keep it low volume with high intensity,
focusing on larger movements (i.e. Squats, Jerks, Goodmornings) or
would you use higher volume with slightly less intensity and focus on
strengthening the weakest muscles (i.e. Reverse Hypers, Glute Ham
Raises, Lunges)?

What would a typical day/week/month of training look like?

tl:dr

Best/most common methods of training for olympic lifting.

Thanks.


Taking the First Step
#2

Depends on where the lifter is at imo

Beginner: Can’t Sn bw in competition yet, I don’t give a f0ck about training lifts
3x a week
Main focus
-learn the lifts properly, doubles and singles on the Sn and CJ
-moderate volume and moderate intensities for weight or low intensity, depending on if the lifter has any weight training experience/ background 6x6 on all strength exercises
-keep adding weights on every 2-3-4 weeks. No %, just add on 2.5-5kg and get on it

Session outline
Learn to Sn or CJ
FS or BS
Technical work
Strength exercise
Abs/ back

Intermediate: Can Sn bw in competition
3-4x a week
FS to daily max
Sn to daily max
CJ to daily max
FS to daily max with 2 drop down sets of 2reps

One of the training days substitute an exercise to help a weakness, e.g. rack jerks, pc or ps

Advanced: More of the above but BUILD UP TO more sessions in a week and eventually to double sessions a day

BTW it’s pointless to up the training sessions if you can’t at least sleep 7-8hrs a night. You are better off resting more. IF you can’t sleep like a pro athlete you can’t train like a pro athlete.

I fully believe you can’t get good at the lifts without pounding them over and over again. YOU MUST DO THE FULL LIFTS. You won’t get better at them by NOT DOING THEM. Assistance is over rated imo once your beyond a beginner. There is NOTHING that smashing on 20-40kg on to your FS won’t fix IF YOUR ALREADY DOING THE FULL LIFTS AS WELL AS JACKING UP YOUR FS as long as you have CONSISTENT AND PROFICIENT technique.

Jacking FS whilst not doing the OLifts = fail
Smashing OLifts but not pushing the FS = fail
Jacking FS AND Smashing OLifts = MOFO WIN

It’s only taken me 12yrs to work this out but I know what to do now.

You watch OxMan, Regeski and Vaughan smash the weights up for the rest of the year and the coming years.

FOCUS on one mate. If you decide to do both, you’ll never really get good at both. You’ll be okay/ good but never really good at either imo.

Koing


#3

I plan to focus my weight training sessions around olympic lifting for now. I have become bored with the use of powerlifting to achieve my strength goals. It’s way more fun to throw weight around then it is to lift it!

Could you give me an example of technical work and strength exercises? Right now I’m assuming technical work is just technique for the main lifts, and by strength exercises you are talking high pulls, deadlifts, jerks, etc.

Would 6x6 be at a set weight, or a pyramid type fashion?

What are views on speed work for the Olympic lifts? Is it unnecessary since warm up sets become speed work in their own sense?

Through powerlifting I have noticed much larger increases in my free squats from training using box squats almost exclusively. Would this work for Olympic lifting as well assuming I used a low enough box for it to transfer over properly? (I use a narrow stance for my box squats due to my size and body type so foot positioning would be more or less the same.)


#4

Technical work really varies from lifter to lifter. If you are going to be self-coached then you’ll just have to figure out what will help you learn and fix your mistakes. Upload plenty of videos.

Strength is primarily front/back squats. Pulls and push pressing are next and people vary on opinion on whether you should do these or just focus on the lifts.

Speed work is uneccessary. The lifts themselves NEED speed or you won’t do them properly. Simply focus on pushing as hard as you can at all times in the squats. You’ll gain speed by simply doing the lifts correctly. If you have horrible technique and end up doing a deadlift followed by a “barbell row” then you won’t get much speed out of it.

I don’t remember seeing anyone doing box squats while olympic lifting. partials don’t mean anything in olympic lifting. If you want to do something like box squats, then reach the bottom of a squat, stay there for 1 second and get up. I don’t think that’s necessary though until you start getting pinned on the cleans which probably won’t happen for a very long time. I still haven’t ever gotten pinned down and couldn’t squat up(best clean 110, 125 front squat at the time). Still I remember one interview who had some big russian guy saying he always “paused” down in the squat, never got the bounce and got much stronger that way. Either normal squats or not-using-the-bounce squats are good. (no low bar back squats btw)

6x6 is too much imo. Koing suggests going for a single, then dropping down for a couple doubles. There are various ways to program your squats. If I was going to do 6x6 I would do it on a day with no oly lifting and at least one rest day afterwards. You generally want to keep to up to 5 reps and 5x5 should probably be the highest volume.

Right now I’d suggest doing technique work every day that you can, with light weight and squatting 3 times per week. Make sure you aren’t doing just back squats though. Depending on how far your strength levels are, the higher they are, the more you should focus on front squats than back squats IMO. Don’t rush into heavy weights in the snatch/c&j


#5

[quote]lordstorm88 wrote:
(no low bar back squats btw)
[/quote]

I actually back squat high bar anyway. I found I’m stronger and I can keep my body more upright (less losing it via falling forward).

Do you recommend training overhead squats at all or will I be good with Squat Snatches, FS, and BS?

Thanks everyone for the feedback btw.


#6

just squat snatch. Some overhead squatting might be good at first in order to strengthen a bit the balancing muscles. It depends on how shaky your snatches feel. In any case they should only be done at the very start.

For me the hardest were the jerks. The position felt so unstable. There are various ways to fix those things, but just being patient and simply doing the lifts will fix them. Your body just needs to become efficient at these lifts. It’s like doing squats for the first time. It takes a while before your body gets used to them and you can have proper technique in every rep.

Squatting technique isn’t that hard if you have the flexibility. But you also need muscle awareness and timing, strengthening of the balancing muscles etc in order to do it properly. Same thing with snatch, clean and jerk. i’d say the clean is the easiest one in this regard.


#7

overhead squats can be a useful assistance exercise if you are having trouble hitting a tight bottom position under snatches. if that isn’t an issue then i wouldn’t bother with them.

some people don’t even bother with back squats.

front squats are more useful for clean recovery. you want to work on keeping a good lumbar arch all the way down to a natural bottom position with as upright a torso as possible. i wouldn’t use a box for front squats because the idea is to sit your ass down between your legs rather than sticking it back behind you.

if i were starting out… i’d work on my front squat and do some hang power cleans / snatches to work on hip drive from the second position to extension. get that sussed before worrying about pulling the bar from the floor to second position, or getting from extension to a tight bottom position.


#8

http://www.pendlay.com/Snatch-progression-series_df_54.html

there are also videos for the cleans but its the same idea.

Use these if you don’t have a coach. I highly suggest their way of progression.

In my experience a tight bottom position in the snatch is possible in most cases even when you think its not. It gets much harder when lifting 95-100% than 85%. As hard as it is to go from barbell-> 85% it gets that much more harder to go 85-100%. But it is possible. Just need to be tight and aggressive as f0ck when receiving the bar. :))

Still, do some overhead squatting for the first month or so if you find that after a snatch its hard to receive or you get off balance or the squatting up feels too uncomfortable.


#9

[quote]lordstorm88 wrote:
Technical work really varies from lifter to lifter. If you are going to be self-coached then you’ll just have to figure out what will help you learn and fix your mistakes. Upload plenty of videos.

Strength is primarily front/back squats. Pulls and push pressing are next and people vary on opinion on whether you should do these or just focus on the lifts.

Speed work is uneccessary. The lifts themselves NEED speed or you won’t do them properly. Simply focus on pushing as hard as you can at all times in the squats. You’ll gain speed by simply doing the lifts correctly. If you have horrible technique and end up doing a deadlift followed by a “barbell row” then you won’t get much speed out of it.

I don’t remember seeing anyone doing box squats while olympic lifting. partials don’t mean anything in olympic lifting. If you want to do something like box squats, then reach the bottom of a squat, stay there for 1 second and get up. I don’t think that’s necessary though until you start getting pinned on the cleans which probably won’t happen for a very long time. I still haven’t ever gotten pinned down and couldn’t squat up(best clean 110, 125 front squat at the time). Still I remember one interview who had some big russian guy saying he always “paused” down in the squat, never got the bounce and got much stronger that way. Either normal squats or not-using-the-bounce squats are good. (no low bar back squats btw)

6x6 is too much imo. Koing suggests going for a single, then dropping down for a couple doubles. There are various ways to program your squats. If I was going to do 6x6 I would do it on a day with no oly lifting and at least one rest day afterwards. You generally want to keep to up to 5 reps and 5x5 should probably be the highest volume.

Right now I’d suggest doing technique work every day that you can, with light weight and squatting 3 times per week. Make sure you aren’t doing just back squats though. Depending on how far your strength levels are, the higher they are, the more you should focus on front squats than back squats IMO. Don’t rush into heavy weights in the snatch/c&j[/quote]

6x6 is for a beginner and it’s not too much imo. They need to learn to squat properly, get volume in and to prepare the body and joints to lift heavier later on.

OP I outlined what to do:

Session outline
Learn to Sn or CJ (bar work, hang positions and progress on to lifting from the floor, the better you get the less time you spend from the hang and the more time you spend lifting from the floor)
FS or BS
Technical work (Snatch balance, rack Jerks, lifts from the hang, ohs to help your mobility if you need it, any exercise that helps your olifts)
Strength exercise (whatever exercise you want, pull ups, military, oly deadlifts, oly pulls, pulls to mid thigh, curls, dips, bench press, literally whatever exercise you want to do)
Abs/ back

Do that 3x a week. Just alternate Sn and CJ days and repeat. I hit 116/143 @ 83.5kg off the back of that. There is no need to get fancy yet when your full lifts aren’t proficient.

Box squats? Forget about them.

The problem with new people without a coach is they take bits and pieces of a programme from different sources and it just doesn’t work. IT has too much of everything. So the net result is nothing.

Koing


#10

i thought he has been squatting for a while. I guess it can work with the front squat if he hasn’t been doing it.


#11

[quote]lordstorm88 wrote:

i thought he has been squatting for a while. I guess it can work with the front squat if he hasn’t been doing it.[/quote]

Squating and Oly squating is different. If he’s been FS Oly style with Oly form then yeah fair dues but I don’t think so as he hasn’t mentioned it. And the above is my outline for a beginner. Yes it’s a lot but imo it’s better to be safe then sorry with a beginner. Let them prep their body to take the onslaught that is the intermediate section :D.

It will teach good form, flexibility and lots of practice which is needed for a beginner.

Koing


#12

I was powerlifting, so I’m used to squats. I would always squats pretty far below parallel, but I still need to work my flexibility a bit more, and I rarely front squatted so it could use work. (355lb back squat and 225lbs x 3 front squat @ 170lbs) I am still a beginner in regards to olympic lifting since my best training snatch was 155lbs at 170lbs and the highest I clean and jerked was 195lbs just the other day.

6x6 shouldn’t be too much for me, as long as I don’t hit failure on any of the sets I never have a problem recovering. Even the Olympic lifts aren’t too taxing either since right now I usually miss due to poor technique. (I need to work on my second pull specifically). It seems rather hard to me to achieve proper depth at the moment since I don’t have the proper shoes. All I have are some chuck taylors and combat boots.

Do you guys recommend training with a belt? If so what kind? All I have is a powerbelt.


#13

I’ve never used a belt and never had a problem so far in my back. My back is even… uneven. The right side is smaller. Go figure how come I’m still alive… this is just one opinion though.

I’d focus 2 days front squat 1 day back squat since your front squat is way lower at the moment.


#14

[quote]GruntOrama wrote:
I was powerlifting, so I’m used to squats. I would always squats pretty far below parallel, but I still need to work my flexibility a bit more, and I rarely front squatted so it could use work. (355lb back squat and 225lbs x 3 front squat @ 170lbs) I am still a beginner in regards to olympic lifting since my best training snatch was 155lbs at 170lbs and the highest I clean and jerked was 195lbs just the other day.

6x6 shouldn’t be too much for me, as long as I don’t hit failure on any of the sets I never have a problem recovering. Even the Olympic lifts aren’t too taxing either since right now I usually miss due to poor technique. (I need to work on my second pull specifically). It seems rather hard to me to achieve proper depth at the moment since I don’t have the proper shoes. All I have are some chuck taylors and combat boots.

Do you guys recommend training with a belt? If so what kind? All I have is a powerbelt.[/quote]

Do 6x6 for front squats.

Your FS needs PRACTICE. You admit you rarely front squat. The FS is much more important then the back squat. You can’t cheat a FS depth, form and you need to get up from Cleans.

You should start on say 200lbs for 6x6. When you can do that up it to 210 or 220 for 6x6. Do this for about 3months then you can do whatever you want but I always get my lifters to do this. I want to make sure they can all FS properly, good form, solid depth, then I mix it up.

The practice will also help you squat deeper. Do not cut depth for more weight as it’ll f0ck you when you try to Clean heavy later on.

Koing