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Snatches for Size?


That Tight Snatch! Clean it, Jerk it....then overhead squat it.

Alright, so I have always been more of a bodybuilder in training modality, high rep, high volume, typical "hypertrophy modality" but i am no longer in the one-track mindset, thanks in large part to knowledge gleaned from T-Nation

I have been doing one-arm dumbell snatches and clean and jerks for several months now, and have seen amazing improvements in strength in many shoulder/triceps and biceps lifts, and hypertrophy in my deltoids, triceps, and biceps, probably more than i have ever seen

Today I did overhead squats (for the second time) and snatches (for like the third time)

I felt that my form in the snatch was not too shabby, and the overhead squat wasnt bad either (granted i wasnt getting too excited with the weight)

ALL THAT TO SAY how often do some of you include such movements in your routine? Clean and presses, snatches, overhead squats...ATYPICAL compound movements.....

because i love them

and i am curious if y'all love them too


No. We hate them.


While I don't routinely include them in my own program, I will every few months throw cleans and push-presses into my shoulder day. However, instead of doing them 1st when I can use a ton of weight, I like to do them last, after I'm toasted, as kinda of a burn out. Because the push-press is more of a leg dominant movement, it lets me throw up a big weight and let my already fatigued delts fight it coming down.



Now that explains your "advice" to zephead... That explains a whole damn lot.

You couldn't use the search function either, could you?

Edit: Ok, so seeing that you asked me this in the other thread, here's my answer and you can ignore what I've written above:

Except for the Oly Squat, none of the Oly lifts have a proper negative, which is quite important for size.
Sentoguy could explain that way better, but anyway.

Cleans and the like sure feel great, but ultimately are far inferior for size gain. They are also technique-lifts, and I don't know how many people here have coaches/oly lifters available to learn said technique from.

There have been discussions about olympic lifters and the usefulness of their main exercises for size before (a LOT), so a search would help you find a lot of different answers...

Do 'em if you like, all right, but recommending them to others is a bit strange, considering that you have been doing them for how long? And have gotten how big of them?

Again, no offense...

For bodybuilding, exercises which allow you to a) target the muscle(-group) in question safely with the highest possible weight for enough repetitions are "best".
You gain size as you gain strenght for enough reps, which you can't gain without a proper diet.

That's it in a nutshell.

Overhead Squats for example limit the amount of weight you can use severely and don't help you much in overloading the leg-musculature.
They're supposedly a great tool for structural-balance assessment (I believe that's what it was called), but other than that only good for Olympic Lifters.

Edit: ok, a push press or the bodybuilding version of the clean and press (though imo regular smith high-inclines or seated db presses still beat those) are quite usable.


"ALL THAT TO SAY how often do some of you include such movements in your routine? Clean and presses, snatches, overhead squats...ATYPICAL compound movements....."

My answer: Never.


You know, I've actually included hang clean and press before. It works as a good total shoulder warm-up exercise and I do believe that the presses themselves can help build the shoulders well.

But as for the rest of the olympic lifts (at least from a BB'ing perspective) I don't see much use for them (other than perhaps if someone had a hard time recruiting their HTMU's, but even that could be achieved without having to do the lifts themselves).

The accessory lifts, like the back squat, push press, front squat, RDL, maybe even high pull from a hang position (if you consciously tried to lower the bar under control, which would closely resemble an upright row with more body english) can all be used successfully.

But the actual lifts themselves just take too much time to really master to the point where you are actually using substantial amounts of weight. And even then, since they are such high skill intensive movements, you can't really do much more than maybe 5 (and that's probably pushing it) reps at a time. Most olympic lifters usually do singles, doubles, and maybe triples for the majority of their training on the actual lifts themselves.

That's just not enough reps to fatigue a sufficient number of muscle fibers to result in an optimal muscle building stimulus. Not to mention that due to their skill intensive nature, one would do best to avoid fatigue, which means fairly long breaks between sets. Plus, as Carnage mentioned, there is practically no eccentric portion to these lifts. One could of course argue that the lifter must decelerate the weight during the "catch" portion of the lift, which is true. But this is still a very, very short period of time.


This is quite wrong. I dont want to start a debate on this, but ive seen plenty of research stating that concentric tension leads to more size than eccentric tension. Also, eccentric tension may likely cause a greater increase in type I fiber size, and a negative switch in the ratio of muscle fibers.

If eccentrics were crucial for size, then deadlifts would be one of the worst mass builders.

The problem with OLY lifts for size, is there isn't enough TUT, and like you stated they are technique lifts. If you are going to do them safely, then you should probably be doing no more than 3 reps per set, maybe 5. A set of 5 will probably produce tension on the targeted muscles for about 3 seconds. This just isn't enough time to produce growth.

But, its possible to change things around to get some growth out of OLY lifts.

-The best bet, would be to use them to increase strength, and use assistance lifts to target hypertrophy.

-But if you want to target growth with OLY lifts, then you need to do a ton of sets. Im talking 10-20+ sets. And keep the rest short. (20-30 seconds should be enough) Keep an eye on your form, and use a weight around 60-80% of your 1rm.

***My problem with snatches for growth, is that my upper body is weaker than my lower body, so a snatch pretty much only hits my traps. And my traps get plenty of work from deadlifts, so there is not reason to use snatches.

But DB swings or KB swings using the same methods can work very well also.


I actually lied when I said never...I used to use power cleans, hang cleans, etc back when I read too much internet articles and read the mens health forums...and guess what? I never really looked like I lifted, I was kinda spinning my wheels. I never do that shit anymore and I'm bigger and stronger than ever, constantly getting compliments on my growth, and I would say I definitely look like I lift now. I think I made the right decision when I stopped doing them.


Interesting, seeing as how 90 percent of the research says otherwise.

Anyway, if you can produce a 280 pound at average height bodybuilder with these methods, I'd try them out. No one seems to have succeeded with that thusfar, though.


From the research I've seen, eccentric contractions favorably recruit type 11B fibers (if they preferably recruited type 1 fibers, then you wouldn't be stronger in the eccentric portion of the lift). They also have been shown to cause more microtrauma (which is one of the theories by which we believe growth occurs).

Deadlifts still have an eccentric portion though, don't they? With the olympic lifts, you pretty much just drop the weight (usually you are using bumper plates on a platform). With Deads, you don't try to lower the weight super slowly, but you are still controlling it back to the ground.

That could work, but why even do the OLY lifts then? You can gain plenty of strength from more traditional BB'ing lifts, AND produce hypertrophy at the same time.

10-20+ sets, with 20-30 seconds rest, using 60-80% of 1 RM? Have you actually tried this? Because that sounds to me like:

1) your form would go to complete shit
2) you would be greatly increasing the risk for injury
3) you would never complete 20+ sets with 80% of 1 RM with only 20-30 seconds between your sets

In other words, it sounds completely hypothetical, never been tested to see if it would actually work. Either that, or you are drastically underestimating your 1RM (or are some sort of freak, and we will likely be seeing you win the gold medal at the next olympics in weightlifting).

Show me some videos of BB'ers doing DB swings or KB swings who got huge using those exercises. Those exercises can work well for GPP, or maybe even explosiveness in the hips. But from a building muscle perspective, there are better ways out there.


Oly lifts are for olympic lifters and athletes, if you're trying to get big let them be. The only thing I might suggest is if you know how to do them properly(you were coached, not watching some video) and you find them to be a really fun lift, toss in an oly day every few months to keep yourself excited about lifting, but they are in no way optimal for growth.


I agree.


I gained most hypertrophy in my delts and lower back when i was training specifically for OL. I did not gain much hypertrophy else where though. i think my arms actually shrunk slightly tbh.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


Now really progress on Smith seated High Inclines, DB presses and V-Squat/Power Squat overhead presses and you'll gain even more :wink:


[quote]Sentoguy wrote:

I agree with everything you wrote Sento. Im not sayinig that using OLY lifts are better, but if you want to use them, then the main problem is the TUT.

As for the 20+ sets with 80% of 1rm with short rest. This might depend on how much youve been training OLY lifts for strength, but like all training you'd have to do it within reason. You have to avoid failure in the early sets, and if you start to fatigue in the later sets, then you might have to decrease the weight. But 20 singles with 30 seconds rest could work.

I haven't done this exactly, but I have used DB swings. Since they are less technical, I do sets of 5-8, but still have to do a lot of sets since the TUT is low.

As for the eccentric vs. concentric thing. I still feel that a lot of people dont control tempo in an effecient manner.

From the research Ive seen, negatives, or slow eccentrics are better with supra-maximal or near maximal weights. They allow for greater TUT with a high load and also greater volume, and greater strength.

But concentric movements are more metabolically demanding, and in the research ive seen (that didn't use "heavy" weights) concentrics led to greater growth, and only slightly less strength.

I know a lot of research is conflicting and useually doesn't apply to the gym directly, but take it for what its worth.

But ya, I agree that for most BB'ers it wouldn't be a good idea to spend much time doing OLY lifting. Probably just long limbed individuals and those with a very high percentage of fast twitch fibers could get the best benefits.


IMO the power clean from the floor or hang is great for traps. Otherwise everything else I agree with CC and sento.


Why do so many people say this? I did power cleans for months and I had no trap development even begin to happen until i started wrestling.. and doing shrugs.. and deadlifts.


Hmm, how much stronger did you get on those powercleans in that timeframe?

Otherwise: Maybe just plain genetics... I wouldn't do powercleans either.

The only kind of "clean" I've ever done is when I clean a weight up for militaries or some such (no power-rack at gym and if I stall on smith high-inclines, I occasionally switch to militaries...)


I think if you';re more concerned with overall power, or even with some sort of trap activation, maybe just do some rack pulls. When I first learned how to do the OLs, I was told to practice the beginning portion for a while just to focus on where I was actually generating the movement from.