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View Full Version : if you only had time to train 1 Oly lift...


Jeff Yan
01-17-2010, 11:00 AM
-Snatch or clean?

-After that, which variant (full/squat, power, hang, etc.)?

-Does the answer change if you consider both the following hypothetical situations?
1) You've had the opportunity to train other non-Oly barbell lifts. That is, your chosen Oly lift will be used to supplement a non-Oly workout.
or
2) You can only train this one chosen lift and nothing else.

-Does the answer change if the choice were between snatch or C&J?

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On related note, since it's often recommended to teach the snatch before the clean, is it implied that training the snatch will lead to greater improvements in both lifts than training the clean?

Jamie Crichton
01-17-2010, 12:03 PM
If it were between snatch and clean I think I'd choose Snatch. If it's between Snatch and C+J, it's a tougher decision... Probably C+J as it's going to get the most weight overhead.

I think people train the snatch before the C+J because that's the order in competition. To a lesser extent, the Snatch is arguably the more technical of the two lifts and so benefits more from being fresh. That is the case for me certainly.

Jay Ashman
01-17-2010, 12:44 PM
If I had to only choose one, snatch... and then full snatch. Power snatching is great but I feel that full snatching would benefit me in so many ways...

Dave Van Skike
01-17-2010, 03:48 PM
power clean. push press....with an axle.

Robert Takano
01-17-2010, 05:37 PM
No question. The classic clean and jerk. It will work the entire body and bring about the greatest strength gains.

Timothy Holmes
01-17-2010, 06:40 PM
split snatch. better for most sports i think.

Arien Malec
01-17-2010, 09:24 PM
More importantly, who would win: Batman or Superman?

Garrett Smith
01-18-2010, 05:54 AM
I'm currently training only the snatch, saving my training energy to get both of my squats higher.

As I think a Highland Games may be my first comp of the year in February, I'm considering switching to power cleans from either above knee or mid-thigh, to help with the caber (my most challenging event). At least I got some practice with a real caber last night and my pick is finally coming together.

Joe Hart
01-18-2010, 06:11 AM
Batman...remember he fought superman in the dark knight series and put up a good show.

I am partial to the snatch..

Scott Kustes
01-18-2010, 12:44 PM
Full C&J. More accessible, bigger loads. The real answer is probably "depends on your goals".

Allen Yeh
01-18-2010, 02:17 PM
Batman...remember he fought superman in the dark knight series and put up a good show.

I am partial to the snatch..

Only because Superman was a clown! If only Superman was ruthless.....whew! Heat vision from orbit, battle/war is over!

Kevin Perry
01-18-2010, 02:22 PM
I'd say full C&J too, heavier loads like Scott said but the ability to front squat in that movement which transfer very well plus the overhead work involved creates a good stimulus for strength and mass.

Derek Weaver
01-18-2010, 03:59 PM
Didn't Dan John once say that if all you did was the C&J you'd be alright? Or something like that?

these days the extent of my oly stuff are some power cleans now and then.

Garrett Smith
01-18-2010, 04:51 PM
Didn't Dan John once say that if all you did was the C&J you'd be alright? Or something like that?

these days the extent of my oly stuff are some power cleans now and then.

I think DJ said clean & press...

Jeff Yan
01-18-2010, 05:32 PM
I think DJ said clean & press...

A lot of the arguments here for C&J over snatch are due to the amount of overall weight moved.

Based on this, I can't see how clean & press would be superior to C&J since one's clean potential would be severely limited by the press.

Garrett Smith
01-18-2010, 07:49 PM
A lot of the arguments here for C&J over snatch are due to the amount of overall weight moved.

Based on this, I can't see how clean & press would be superior to C&J since one's clean potential would be severely limited by the press.

The Summa Liftologica of Daniel John
[...]
Essentially, the simpler the better. The key is to trust that honest hard training on basic core movements leads to improvement in lean muscle, performance, and measured strength. For me, this means Power Snatches, Clean and Press, and Overhead Squats. These three lifts make the discus go farther and my total in the Olympic Lifts go up. If all I do is Power Snatch on Monday, Clean and Press on Wednesday, and Overhead Squat on Saturday, I am going to be at 80plus percent of my best.

My only addition to this is that the press may be more desirable than the jerk because the jerk, like it or not, done properly is a leg-driven lift to "support". People can be very strong at the jerk and barely able to press. This has been observed in both OL and GS KB lifters, jerk like crazy but relatively pathetic at pressing.

On your other note, I'm under the impression that it is observed and believed that if one can snatch, then learning the C&J is relatively easy. However, the converse is not necessarily true.

EDIT: Forgot to add, the desirability of the press vs. the jerk would depend on the context in which one wanted better performance.

Arien Malec
01-18-2010, 08:51 PM
Only because Superman was a clown! If only Superman was ruthless.....whew! Heat vision from orbit, battle/war is over!

Also, Superman would make a massive kinetic weapon. Just shoot down at high speed from space, and wipe out a whole continent.

On this snatch/clean/c&j thing, what's the freaking training goal?

Jeff Yan
01-19-2010, 05:58 AM
On this snatch/clean/c&j thing, what's the freaking training goal?

The goal isn't specified so as to leave it to your interpretation. I figure we could get more viewpoints this way.

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In my case, for the past several months I had a forearm/bicep injury. I wanted to limit my pulling so I spent most of my time practicing power snatches (nothing more than 125#) and limiting my cleans to no more than 135#. Just around the time I was finishing up PT for that injury I ended up hurting my shoulder and it's painful for me to go overhead. So now I'm gradually increasing weight on my clean, but I'm avoiding snatching.

Scott Kustes
01-19-2010, 06:54 AM
On your other note, I'm under the impression that it is observed and believed that if one can snatch, then learning the C&J is relatively easy. However, the converse is not necessarily true.
However, if you're not competing in Oly lifting, the snatch is relatively unimportant. For people not competing in Oly, the C&J/C&P will likely be more beneficial to their sport due to ease of learning (why would a sprinter, gymnast, football player, etc want to spend a ton of time learning snatch technique?) and the greater overall loading. Really, outside of people actually competing in Oly, is there a benefit to including the snatch?

Garrett Smith
01-19-2010, 07:24 AM
However, if you're not competing in Oly lifting, the snatch is relatively unimportant. For people not competing in Oly, the C&J/C&P will likely be more beneficial to their sport due to ease of learning (why would a sprinter, gymnast, football player, etc want to spend a ton of time learning snatch technique?) and the greater overall loading. Really, outside of people actually competing in Oly, is there a benefit to including the snatch?
Meh. Argue with Bill Starr. :p
http://journal.crossfit.com/2010/01/snatch.tpl
The full snatch is one of the most complicated movements in all of sports. An athlete has to pull a weight upward with force and speed, then completely reverse his mental keys to explode downward under the still-moving bar. To be able to perform a snatch with a maximum poundage is a feat of strength without peer.

Full snatches have value for all athletes because they involve so many of the larger muscle groups in a dynamic fashion. In fact, every muscle in the body is activated during the execution of a full snatch, including smaller groups such as the biceps and calves.

The snatch is a high-skill movement, so every rep requires absolute concentration on the part of the athlete, which means the nervous system receives much more stimulation than when a static exercise is done. Whenever an athlete masters the technique in the full snatch, he has learned to trigger the necessary form cues instantly, and this skill is transferred to all his other athletic endeavors.

In other words, learning how to do a full snatch benefits not only strength but many other athletic attributes, such as flexibility, coordination, foot speed, balance, timing, determination and mental acuity.