Olympic lifting club update

 In Coach

Olympic lifting club update

You may have noticed that this week’s OLY club programming looks a little different. The coaches have noticed that we are getting more athletes attending OLY Club who are very new to the sport, which is great. However we typically focus on the classic lifts in the classes, variations of the snatch and clean and jerk, with assistance work like snatch and clean pulls. This type of programming is great for those with a developed history of strength training, experienced lifters will benefit from performing movements like a snatch pull as their snatch is not yet at a level where they will benefit from assistance moves like snatch pull. That is largely because they are not yet at a point where their technical ability is in line with their strength ability.

So we are trialling a second level of programming, where the focus is on developing the fundamental strength and technique required to develop in Olympic Lifting. This week you will see that option 1 for athletes is a pyramid set based on percentages, followed by some snatch pulls, and then 1 ¼ squats. Option 2 is similar but using more basic variations of the same movements, allowing athletes to develop a better understanding of what each movement should feel like, without being overwhelmed with the mechanical and technical aspect of the movements. Hang power snatches will help develop understanding of how to transfer power from the hips to the barbel, with a reduced emphasis on the need for the heightened shoulder and hip stability required to perform the full snatch.

The second movement is snatch grip Romanian deadlifts, used to develop back and hamstring strength at a slower pace than snatch pulls. Moving at a slower pace will allow for more weight to be used than if a beginner was performing a snatch pull, and it will result in the athlete having a greater understanding of how a snatch pull should feel when they progress to full lifting.

The final movement is a 5×5 squat. The rep range is used because for most this is a great rep range for developing fundamental strength, anyone who has been doing structured strength training for 3 years is still considered a beginner. Each week the goal should be to add 2.5kg to your bar, using the same weight across all sets. If you have issues performing a front squat, this would be a good opportunity to use the goblet squat, double kettlebell squat or safety bar squat, whilst working on your front rack mobility. Your OLY coaches can show you some drills to work on before, during and after your sessions to help develop that mobility.

For those of you looking to use OLY club to develop strength and power, this alternative programming may be even more suitable than our traditional programming. Because olympic lifting is so technical, even if you have the mobility to receive the bar in full positions you may be lifting a weight that is so light relative to your strength that you are not actually developing any power, due to the lack of stimulus. For many male athletes with previous strength training this will apply to you. For example, a male athlete who can deadlift over 170kg, but can only clean 90kg will not be developing that much power by performing cleans. However using variations like hang power cleans and romanian deadlifts would allow them to work at a weight which will challenge them enough to develop power. Therefore those of you training to help develop your sport based training, like rugby and football may benefit from using our new type of programming.

The important thing to take home from this additional level of programming is that it is not a lesser programme; it is designed so that newer lifters can develop quicker and benefit from classic Olympic lifting when they are at a level where it is suitable for them. For some of you who really struggle with mobility and avoid OLY club, this may give you a new found enjoyment for barbell work, there is nothing better than slinging some heavy weights around!

Lastly, if you decide to follow the alternative programming, follow it all the time, don’t switch between the two mid-cycle as you will not progress. As always your coaches are on hand to discuss which type of programming is more in line with your goals. Be sure to give us feedback on the sessions, it is new so we will continue to make changes until we get it right!

Jack Heneghan


07841 485424


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