T Nation

Starting Olympic Lifting


Hello everyone,
I don't know if this is a good spot for this but I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Tommy, and I am trying to start back into training after a year's lay off due to injuries and a very busy schedule. I was a competitive strongman, and I have decided that I need a change of pace, so I am trying Olympic lifting. I have had coaching to learn the lifts, but I no longer have coaching any longer. I am working on getting a camera so that I can do technique checks online. Anyway, I am really looking forward to this.
My current PRs are a 180lb snatch, 250lb clean and jerk, a 215 press, 305x5 front squat, and a 420x10 RDL. These are all bellow my all time lifts but they are the best I have managed since returning to lifting, and I hope to catch up to my all time lifts quickly.


Hi Tommy, welcome!

What does your routine look like?



Hi Koing,
Thank you for the welcome, I am new to internet forums and not quite sure of the etiquette yet. Congratulations on your new title though! An impressive achievement to become a national champion.

My routine is a bit strange right now, it's kind of a mix of things. I am trying to rebuild my basic strength and develop technique mostly. As I grow more accustomed to the demands of oly lifting, and re-develop my strength I will try a more traditional program.

Clean and Jerk
8 singles with 80% or so of current max, depending on how frisky I am feeling. I mostly want to keep these quick and as perfect as I know how.

Pressing variant for 8-10 reps, this cycle it is z-press. I am after all coming from strongman.

Weighted pull ups 5-10 reps

Shovel lift for my core.

8 singles, same as above.

Front squats for 5 reps. I will start doing multiple sets again, I just want to work in gradually and not fire my back up.

Rowing motion: this cycle it is pendley rows. I really like them.

clean and jerk, same as above.

RDL's, done to just below the knee. I mostly do that depth simply to work slowly back into greater ROM.

Horizontal press, this cycle is floor press.

It's not much for right now, but it'll come along quickly. My strength levels are returning to where they were pre-injury, and hopefully I will be able to drop enough weight to make the 105 class. Thank you for taking such an interest on this forum. It's a great boon to have such a knowledgeable lifter around.


Thanks for the kind words.

What was your injury?

Don't be scared to go beyond 80%. Some sessions you are ON FIRE so why not push it up a bit? Make sure you hammer the bar work at the start of every session. This is the quickest way to get good at OLifting. Hammering the bar work. You can not cut corners here. Just hammer it 3reps x 3sets from each of the positions and it will really come to you within 3months or less depending on if you have mobility issues.

Don't let technique hamper your squat gains. Smash the squats up and this will drag your lifts up also.



ditto on the squats. Unless you have an injury that doesn't let you squat or its the last week leading up to a meet, keep squatting. Find what works to get your squat up while oly lifting and keep doing it.

I also think if you were injured it might be better to do more sets( like 5-6 sets of 5 reps) and less weight on the squat and progress as the pain/injury allows. Granted I'm not a doctor, I've had to deal with only a few injuries in my lifting "career" so far so don't give too much credit to my word on this.

It would also be preferable to snatch and clean and jerk every day that you can. 8 singles is quite fine.

I don't think anyone would argue that the fastest and best way to learn technique is to lift as much as possible. The only problem with that is fatigue and if you have enough time and training days to do that. Just try to get in as many reps as possible.


My injury was a rather severe case of SI joint dysfunction, that has left my deadlift and squat in shambles. Not long after I also suffered a bad wrist sprain that seriously limited my oly lifting for a few months. It took a long time to regain adequate flexibility. I am working on bringing up my abdominal strength again, so that I can start squatting more and heavier. Also my hip flexibility has become rather important to me. I am going to start doing multiple sets, and squatting twice a week.

LordStorm, it wasn't really one injury so much as a series of unlucky minor injuries. I am just building confidence right now.

Does anyone have any recommendations for introducing twice a week squatting? I haven't ever done it before. Sets, reps, intensity?


I'd go with a weight and do 6reps x 6sets. Add 5kg each fortnight or something like that. I'm not sure how severe your injury is so I wouldn't like to guess a %. I'd start with 60% and build up but only know how you feel with your injuries. I'd rather be safe then sorry with an injury and I'm not one to f0ck around with weights, but an injury is an injury so take it easier. Once your better then start to smash it up.

I'd squat after the OLifts. Or after the OLifts, upperbody exercise then squats to give your legs a bit of rest.

Your addominal strength will gain as you squat heavier. No real biggie mate on that front.

Can you do a proper OHS?



My injury isn't really an issue anymore, after the injury my schedule forced me onto body weight exercises, and then 4 months or so of kettlebell work. After that I was recovered, and now I am rebuilding confidence more than anything. I will give it a try, though I might be more aggressive with adding weight than that. I can do a good overhead squat. I can still overhead squat more than I snatch for right now. (overhead squat about 235 snatch about 180).


If it doesn't hurt then do it, but build up to it. 50-60% with 6x6 like koing said is fine adding 2.5kgs or 5kgs every session. squatting two times per week won't really feel all that different from squatting once a week. In fact its probably a lot better. When I squat once I week I then get very sore and kind of "forget" the squat movement and then it doesn't feel so good and the proper technique doesn't come as easy. Don't worry about the 2x per week. Lots of people would squat 4-5 times per week at your level(of course they wouldn't progress 2.5kgs every workout! but you can still squat pretty heavy often)


Thanks for the advice LordStorm, I will try it starting next week. I am in Maryland, so the hurricane is affecting my diet a little bit (odd isn't it). My recovery was not great this week, so I am taking it sort of easy today.


I don't know how bad your diet and recovery was but today I ate two tiny steaks, some spinach with olive oil and a banana(and some omega 3 fish oil I guess) and went and lifted a PR. Since you are going to be lifting low weights for a while anyway, I don't see why you shouldn't train normally unless your injuries start to hurt.

Be careful of your injuries and don't get any new ones. Besides that train according to the plan as much as possible.


Maybe I will start on Wednesday then. The main reason for not squatting today was that I already trained (felt like crap), and I didn't feel like getting the weights out again. Things should normalize once power comes back, at least I have a generator up today. I can start filling the refrigerator again!