T Nation

Squats Before Olympic Lifts


The title thread used to be an absolute no no for me, but since I'm stuck at a huge power clean plateau...

My squat has always been weak, always about 30kg's above my power clean. I always clean first in the workout, and now notice a lot of times I don't have any energy left for my squat afterwards. Since my squat is such a weakness, and I haven't progressed in ages, how do you feel about putting the squat first?


Shit... Give it a go for 6weeks. Then change back.

Another thing to add... on some days do light power cleans (50%-80%) for 5-1reps, and after that do squats.


my two cents(if it is worth even two cents), bad idea.

the neurological demand form even light olympic lifts demands they be given priority. if you squat first, i believe your main lifts will suffer, and you leave yourself open to injury.

try squatting on a separate day, if you want to bring up your squat some.


If you can't squat after power cleans you need to up your conditioning and/or schedule that session so you are more fresh. Oly lifts before squats are usually helpful. Good luck.


Always do your power exercises before structural exercises.


Alexeev was not a big squatter.


Doing squats on a separate day seems like a nice compromise, if your time can afford it.


If you feel a weak squat is holding you back from your increasing your power clean, then focus on squats for the next few weeks. Which means as you said put them first in your workout, and perhaps increase frequency. If you get a nice 30-50lb increase in squats, while continueing to power clean, your clean will go up. Even if your cleaning light weight for the next few weeks.

Remember power is combination of strength and speed, if you have strength and no speed you won't have that much power. But if you have speed and no strength you still won't have that much power. Focus on your weakness and always try to improve.


Definately do olympic lifts before squats, your form will suffer badly on the olympic lifts if you squat before. If your schedule allows it you could do the squats on a seperate day, in a workout with no olympic lifts, just geared towards squats and supplemental work for your squat.


When I decide to focus on squats, I usually will do one of the lifts first, except keep it light to medium intensity, then squat second, then finish with pulls, presses, etc. I'm doing that now while following the Russian Squat program.

I've modified the program to do 2 back squat workouts per week, 1 medium front squat workout per week, and 1 overhead squat workout (light). This way, instead of the RSP taking 6 weeks to complete, it'll take 8. So I am doing a lift (power or classical) first, then squatting (the day of the RSP), then presses. Light pulls on the other two days. Hope this helps.


The top soviets often squatted first back in the 70's not sure about Bulgarians, not done for long, but they definitely did it.

At the end of a OL comp how many heavy squats have you done by the time you approach final C & J

How many snatch recoveries have been fought out how many front squats ground out from possibly a dead stop.

Don't see anyone, jr or Ol competitor having pulling technique trouble on their last clean.

Now I assume you mean your back squat is 30kgs above your PC. Your front squat should be better than your squat clean and your squat clean should be say say 115% of your PC.

Your squat needs work, when you head is fresh so you do nice OL style squats (they will not trash you like power squats - well not quite as bad )at the start of your workout. Congrats on working out the answer...


You'll be fine.


Generally, you would do olympic lifts before squats (or compound lifts) but if you want to put emphasis on working with the squats, you can move it to first, and reduce the load on PC. Do it for a short time (6-8 weeks), and you should be just fine.


The Greeks nearly always back squatted before snatching and C & J, and front squatted after. only in 1 or 2 sessions a week would they not do this, and this was both in the 2 years leading up to the 1996 olympics and throughout preparations for the 2000 games.


I agree with him, the light power cleans would be ideal for "waking up" your nervous system in my opinion, but not draining you too much before heavy squatting. Give it a try!!!


thanks all, I'll try to work in squats before the olympic lifts. I'll let you know how it went.