/ Olympic lifts for power and speed

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andic - on 19 Apr 2013
I started lifting weights just before Christmas and have got a quite a bit stronger and added a bit of mass using exercises like squats, DLs, bench press, rows, military press, dips and weighted pull ups etc, I have avoided isolation exercises.

I am thinking of changing my routine a bit and wondering if it is possible to train the muscle I have to develop more power through olympic lifts?
JayPee630 - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to andic:

Yes, Olympic lifts will develop your power.
Mi|es - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to JayPee630:
> (In reply to andic)
>
> Yes, Olympic lifts will develop your power.

This.
switch - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to andic:

If you're training for bouldering and dynamic, powerful moves, and you've reached a plateau then olympic lifts would be a great way to boost your all-over strength and power, without increasing your bodyweight.

I'd recommend getting an specialist olympic lifting coach to teach you good technique from the start, and remember to keep up the bouldering to convert your gym gains to gains on the rock.
lost1977 - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to andic:

if you want try olypmic lifts i strongly recommend getting coached as they are a lot more technical than most realise
lost1977 - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to lost1977:

combine with some plyo work and you dynos will rapidly improve as well
ice.solo - on 19 Apr 2013
In reply to andic:

for sure. agree with all the replies here.
oly lifts work on so many levels (and more so when combined with other training) that you will see benefits across the board.

take it easy tho. forget about the weight for a good while and focus on the moves, timing and precision. plus the other supporting lifts and ROM stuff.

theres a school of thought that states these are the only true lifts as they go from the ground to above the head. all else is 'weight' lifting, not athletic. to that end, for oly lifting you need developed flexability, fast and slow twitch, alignment, full body precision and strength in every joint. its a far cry from powerlifting and weights and makes them look pretty primitive.
when i look at the guys n gals that oly lift where i go, they also work on all sorts of other stuff, including sprinting and floor exs. meanwhile the powerlifters only ever do one or two exs. ones not better than another, but oly lifting is certainly more sophisticated.
JayPee630 - on 20 Apr 2013
In reply to ice.solo:

^ Ace reply. Totally agree with getting some coaching, they are quite technical lifts, and concentrate on the form for ages, don't rush into sing heavy weights for a good while.
andic - on 20 Apr 2013
In reply to all

Had a session today started my weights time with clean and press', thinking I'll see what I feel like doing afterwards.....

I started off with one of the light fixed bars watching technique and warming up then went to about 60% of my millitary press weight and aimed to do five sets of ten. I managed four and one of eight. Did a few bench presses and then wandered around the area shell shocked wondering what to do next concluded i was knackered. Thought well while I'm here ill have a go at the snatch got some very funny looks decided to get some coaching for that one.

Later and feel like I have had a good workout quite tired a bit high, and really done bugger all, 30 min on treadmill and two weights exercises!
switch - on 20 Apr 2013
In reply to andic: A coach would be able to help you with the techniques and also how to structure your sessions better. If you're trying to teach yourself, you'll probably make much slower progress and pick up all sorts of bad habits. There are lot of different movements to learn and coordinate to do the lifts well.

A few suggestions:
people normally only do one or the other of clean&jerk or snatch in a single session, and at lower volume than you were aiming for there, eg 3 sets of 3-5 reps. Both C&J and Snatch hammer a lot of the same muscles, so practice them in separate sessions, eg alternate.

Practice overhead squats and the snatch balance as progressions before trying the snatch

This has gives some examples of the progression of exercises you can do to build towards the full lifts:
http://www.californiastrength.com/videos/viewcategory/12/olympic-weightlifting

Also, 30mins of running is quite a lot, if you just want to warm up for a strength/power session. 10mins could be enough, followed by warming up with a light bar.

Once you've done your C&J or Snatch practice, move on to the other less dynamic exercises eg bench press, weighted pull-ups etc. 1 hr total should be long enough to warm-up, do your lifts, stretch off and still feel blitzed! Quality and max effort, not quantity...
ice.solo - on 20 Apr 2013
In reply to andic:

nice one. deep end is the only way.

i find it helps starting with dumbell versions (singles and doubles) to tune each side of the body, and to really nail the posture (bar is much easier as it more stable).
also breaking down the lift into phases and going thru at different speeds.

your feet play a huge role in oly lifting (toes up!), so either go barefoot/socks, proper lifting boots or five fingers/minimal shoes. i scoffed too till i tried it (bastards wont allow barefeet where i go so i use NB minimus shoes).
regular running/x-trainers dont work very well.
be careful of your lower back. some ghd exs help there.

for the snatch, def get some coaching or spotting. again, DBs or KBs work well, plus OHSs.
i find that dozens of light (+/-30kg) reps help for the complex muscle memory needed, along with heavier sessions.
dont forget its the athletic aspect thats where the value is. 1RM stuff is useful, but the synched, weighted cardio side is whats hard to get any other way.

track down stuff by Dan John. anything he says is worth hearing even if unrelated to that exact lift. sort of guy who has forgotten more than most will ever know, especially regarding other applications of lifts.
andic - on 20 Apr 2013
In reply to switch:

Thanks,

I was hoping to start out lightish and concentrate on form, but still get a bit of a work out hence the high reps and sets. Certainly got the blood pumping though.

I usually lift in the morning and do cardio after work but weekends just do whatever and wanted to try the new exercises. I'll up the weight and lower the reps when I'm used to the movement, want to take my time and avoid injury.

Felt quite tired on the bench at first but oddly finished strong, perhaps due to circulation?

I expected snatch to be hard after the rest but it felt technically awkward and off balance
ice.solo - on 21 Apr 2013
In reply to andic:
>
> I expected snatch to be hard after the rest but it felt technically awkward and off balance

OH press-lunges are good for developing the 'balance muscles' that the snatch relies on. get the trailing knee low.
switch - on 21 Apr 2013
In reply to andic: no worries, I only started about 3 months ago myself, with 1 coached session and 1 practice session per week. I've found that at lighter weights, I could get away with shoddy form, but when working at or near maximum, I'm forced to get everything right in order to succeed at the lift, thus learning more.

>I expected snatch to be hard after the rest but it felt technically awkward and off balance

yup, it'll test your balance and flexibility, but stick with it. I'm enjoying it more as my coordination improves.

Worth a look, in your area?:
https://www.facebook.com/HallamBarbell
andic - on 01 May 2013
In reply to andic:

Carried on with the clean and press worked up to a decent % of BW now. Not tried any more snatches (feel a bit self conscious saying snatch, snatch, snatch ooooh he he). But am really enjoying overhead squats with something like 50 or 60 kg as a bit of a warmup for my squats and as a beat up to snatches, which seem good for stability and flexibility.

So in conclusion I am still chasing the snatch but happy jerking and cleaning
switch - on 01 May 2013
In reply to andic: Good work. Don't forget to try the snatch balance as another progression exercise, which includes an element of speed - the OH squats, being slow and steady, won't work your power.

You mention doing clean and presses - have you tried doing jerks instead of presses? ie generating more speed, to receive the bar with already straight arms - again this will need more explosive power, driving from the hips to get the bar up, instead of using arm strength to straighten them slowly under load.

Have you got an olympic platform and bumper plates to practice with, or are you having to avoid dropping the bar on the floor?
andic - on 03 May 2013
In reply to switch:

Cheers

For the moment I am having to avoid dropping the bar, the gym i go to is more of a "lifestyle" type place. But I get free access to don valley stadium too and understand they are set up for oly lifts and have coaches too.

A cross fit place has also recently opened in Sheffield and I was thinking of checking them out as they seem to be well into their lifts too and run some coaching sessions.

I do kettlebell jerks not tried with a bar
cb_6 - on 03 May 2013
In reply to andic: Not to hijack this thread but I have a question of my own that probably doesn't warrant a thread of its own...

Speaking of Oly lifts, what do people here think of the clean pull? I'm not keen on the power clean due to lack of wrist flexibility, and oly lifts in general need coaching that I simply don't have access to. I don't fancy throwing a heavy barbell around my bedroom! Would the clean pull be a decent lift for developing explosive power that I could learn myself and do at home with my own weights? This is the lift I'm talking about by the way:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-JcXw6IlaY

Cheers
switch - on 04 May 2013
In reply to cb_6: Just doing clean pulls/first pulls will only train your body for lifting in the range from floor to waist level, so would be limited compared to taking the bar from the floor to overhead.

You may be looking at this the wrong way around - if you want to practice olympic lifts then you really need to find a way to get access to quality coaching and the right equipment. There are plenty of gyms and weightlifting clubs around that have olympic platforms. Alternatively, you could make your own platform at home out of plywood, (in your garage or garden?) as per these examples:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPdE0d5jFjs
http://straighttothebar.com/articles/2009/03/diy_how_to_build_an_olympic_we/

I'm no expert myself, but it seems that trying to learn the lifts without ever dropping the bar is like trying to push your bouldering without being allowed to ever fall off... You'd be better doing other slower exercises eg bench press, squats, deadlift, rings for strength gains at home unless/until your circumstances change - or just varying your climbing wall training.

ice.solo - on 05 May 2013
In reply to switch:

agree with this; dont necessarily treat olympic lifts as power lifts. separate the two at this stage, keeping the power stuff for strength, meanwhile working on the olympic stuff with a light bar, even a length of pvc, to get the neuro work in.
olympic lifts are athletic and can be treated as such by stepping away from the 5x5 or whatever power conditioning you use: include lots of time spent at low weight for pure lifting volume, with mid-weight power sessions and high rep sessions followed by recovery and rest - just as you would any athletic pursuit that taxes multiple body systems.

coaching takes a lot of the risk out of olympic lifting as it gets the form right. getting it wrong can lead to serious injury, hugely compounded if youre not dropping the bar.

it may be that dropping KBs is ok in a regular gym (take them into the free exercise room maybe).
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