T Nation

Westside for Olympic Lifting


Since I had such great success with a Westside template for powerlifting I was considering the same type of periodization method for the Olympic lifts.

I would like some input as to what such a template might look like. I have used the T-Nation search feature but haven't tuned anything up that is quite what I have in mind.

Since the Westside method periodizes around specific qualities within the sport I was wondering how we could split up the training week. For example, does it make sense to have separate ME, DE, and RE training sessions?

For starters I was thinking that the most important qualities of Olympic lifting that need to be addressed would be:

skill -- including flexibility and balance
strength -- including limit and speed

I am going to be taking a planned week off for the holidays and during that time I would like to reassess my training goals and I would like to get some ideas to rev it up a little.

Any feedback would be welcome.



I've considered doing this too, but my progress hasn't slowed to the point where I need to completely change my routine, so I haven't tried it yet. Here's what I got:

you need ME and DE days, with RE towards the end of each session to work on weak points. Just, instead of doing an upper/lower split, you do a Snatch/C&J split. Example:

MOnday: Snatch ME
Tuesday: Snatch DE
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: C&J ME
Friday: Off
Saturday C&J DE
Sunday: Off

On DE days, instead of expressly working the lift per se, you work a power variety of the lift, or just the snatch/clean pull, so the work is geared around the snap/2nd pull instead of around the technique as a whole.

As near as I can tell, technique work should be incorporated as part of the warm-up. Bar work, and then a slow warm-up to the maximum weight used for that days lift. After the main point of the workout, one would use RE to develop strength and mass in weak points (abs, hips, shoulders, whatever).


That is kind of what I was thinking too, except I would break up ME days to reflect particular pieces of the specific lift. For example, heavy pulls or overhead squatting. I would focus the DE days for actual full completion of the lift since by nature they are explosive. I would also use the warm-up phase for practicing the specific skill and working on flexibility and balance issues.

On ME days I would start out with a light warm-up with a full version of the lift and then as the load gets progressively heavier I would drop out the limiting portion of the lift and then readdress it in the RE portion of the training day.

I am still working on ideas at this point. It also might be a handy idea to compile a list of some assistance exercises and the specific weaknesses they address for the RE work.




Can you be more specific with your question?


The DE is kinda pointless, unless you're muscling up your maximal weight...in which case it is NOT maximal weight, you'd do a shitload more with decent technique.
I mean, have you ever seen a slow C&J with 500+lbs?

I don't know much, but my 2 cents is not to fuck with the olympic lifts, and make your D.E. work a second exercise. I'm thinking back squats with or without bands, box jumps or even explosive front squats.


well olympic lifts are already extremely explosive and are always performed quickly.

Seems more logical to fluctuate volume and intensity on squats and deadlifts/heavy pulls?


I suppose I should not have used the same Westside terminology. My only intention is to use Westside for the prototype of its method of periodization.

My question is ultimately: Is there a non-linear periodization method that will maximize the qualities that make good Olympic lifters in the same way Westside does powerlifters?


This may be relevant. mikesgym.org/articles/index.php?show=article&sectionID=3&articleID=57


For ME day, I would do a) front squats, or b) snatch grip deadlifts AND HOLDS at knee level for 4 seconds-lift the weight right to the knees, and hold, then lower.

The strength needed for the OL's is not gained by doing the OLS. If you can't front squat and snatch deadlift 300, you'll never clean them anyway.

Use the 70/80/90 for DE days:
Cycle these:

70% for 10 x 2 or 7 x 3
80% for 7-8 x 2 or 5 x 3
90% for 4-5 x 1-2 after warmup.


You know this question pops up fairly often... and I'll do my best to answer it.

On my book, I wouldn't know about putting a westside template on OLifting. Although I am no expert, I've seen Westside and compared it to the program my coach gives me.... and they got a few similarities but thats it.

Here take a look at this week's session:
Week 3:
Power Snatch 50% 60% 70%
(bellow the knees) 4 3 3x2

Snatch Pulls 70% 80% 70% 80 90
(2 sec pause 3 2 3 2 2
above knees)

Back Squat 50% 60 70 80 75 85
(2 sec pause 1st 5 5 4 3 4 3
2 reps)

Push Press
5 4 4 4

Day 2

Drop Snatch 50% 60 70 80 90
(2 sec hold at bot) 3 3 3 2 2

Cleans 50% 60 70
(bellow the knees) 3 3 3x2

Clean deadlifts 80% 90 100 110 120 130
+ shrug 3 3 2 2 2 2

Shoulder Press
5 5 5 5

Day 3

Rack Jerk 50% 60 70 75
3 3 3 2

Clean pulls 70% 80 70 80
3 3 3 3

Back Squat 50% 60 70 80 TEST max TEST max
5 4 3 2 2 2

Press of your choice

As you can see in that week we are not even doing the full lifts. As a matter of fact, we only do the full lifts at the end of this particular program!!!

However in the next 5 weeks, we will probably be doing the full lifts more oftern.

So... the point of all this is to show that there isn't really a straight DE, ME, etc.... Instead programs revolve around doing mostly "bar work" (pulls, power variations, drop snatches, hang clean/snatch, bellow the knees clean/snatch, push press, etc..) to address the most pressing needs a lifter has at a particular time.
-->say your cutting your pull (not finishing the extension) in your snatch. To fix that, you do pulls most bellow 90%.
-->say you have problems in the overhead squat. Then to fix that you do drop snatches.

catch my drift.....

With a "typical program" looking something like:
1- Snatch/Clean (full, power, hang, bellow knees)
2a- Pull (floor, hang, bellow knees)
2b- Other barwork stuff to address your needs.
3a- Front/Back Squat
3b- RDL, lighter RDL + shrug
4- Some other light barwork usually upper body stuff.
5- Abs stuff.

You do 1RM on your Snatch, Clean & Jerk, Back/Front Squat, about once a month.

IF you can man.... really, try to see a coach at least once a week.


Well, yeah. If you do your oly lifts and some technical work one day and heavy oly lifts/a heavy triple in a squat the next, you're training both speed and maximal strength at the same time. Add in shoulder work and anything else you want for higher reps and you're training for size as well. There you go, a full conjugate periodisation. You just don't realise it at first.

Day 1 60-70% Snatch, 10x2 (DE), Front squats 5x8 (RE)
Day 2 80-90% C&J 6x1 (ME/Skill), Work up to max triple squat (ME)

That is NOT a linear periodisation, as you can see. And that's only 4 exercises and 2 days. The thing is that most olympic lifting training will conjugate if you perform it correctly or change the rep ranges of supplemental work.


This may be my inexperience showing, but how does snatching at 60-70% create a training effect? For me, I can practically do that in my sleep (max 215 lbs, so 60% is ~135).


You should probably get an OLifting Coach to help you with programming. I have never trained with a coach that used ME, DE, or RE Days. The basic template I usually do is as follows:

  1. Dynamic Warm-up
  2. Snatch
  3. Snatch Assistance
  4. Clean Warm-up (Light power snatches)
  5. Clean and Jerk
  6. Clean/Jerk Assistance
  7. Squat based exercise (High bar back squat, Front Squat)

This is an extreme dumbed down version. but its kind of the basic template. We always work from our Max percentages. There are slight variations depending on Lifter Experience and Competition date. Depending of phase of training cycle, set and rep schemes vary as well. But the general idea is that strength and speed do not have specific days, they are always worked on every day, 6 times a week.

That being said, I have never really questioned coach's method and reasoning, he just writes the workout on the blackboard an we do it.


yeah I feel the same way for even higher percents. I can power snatch like 75-80% without a dip like air.

Probably just related to inexperience and being inefficient at the lift

those lifts are variations like from the knees though, maybe those are based on full snatch 1RM? I don't know, I'm interested too


Developing the skill of weightlifting. In Olympic Lifting form is as important, if not more important, as strength. Both are very important but form can be a huge limiting factor in the amount of weight you lift. While strength can be developed through placing your body through stress (regular training) form of such dynamic movements are only developed through consistent practice. That's where lifting at submaximal weights comes into play.

By lifting an easy weight with perfect form, your body is more likely to repeat this motion at higher weights. Of course each workout goes up to 80-90%, so each training session will allow a trainee to work on strength and form. I've always been told your body and the bar should move the same way whether you are snatching a broom stick or your 1RM.


I find this thread funny mainly because Louie crafted his system based on the training styles of the Bulgarian (Abadjiev) and Russian (Prilepin) Weightlifting teams.

Can it be done, yes it can, and has been done.


Travis Mash already did this... His template is one good way to go about it but i seriously doubt anyone can divide it the way he can. still they're a good guide.

lavi is right about this article...

travis mash training




Though I think this EDT for Olympic Lifts ACTUALLY might be better... but I have shit experience with olympic lifts compared to most of you so take that with a grain of salt:



Despite the intrinsic awesomeness of doing snatches against resistance bands, Travis Mash did not accomplish anything of note in olympic lifting, and I think has gone back to PL.

I'm inclined to think that when westside templates are based on Olympic Lifting training principles and data, one should stick to those types of programs.


I would agree with you SW

I do think he played with a bunch of cool ass shit. Like Overhead squats with chains to increase the instability. and snatch pulls against bands... shit like that can be especially useful for various other athletic pursuits.