View Full Version : Effective methods of increasing O-lifting technique

Troy Kerr
12-18-2010, 10:25 AM
I coach a crossfit competition team. Right now I program their workouts using the Max Effort Black Box.The majority of our metcons are kept short and intense. I want to use the next 4-6 weeks to primarily improve their o-lifting technique.
The most obvious flaws I have noticed in their technique in both the clean and the snatch is failure to reach complete hip extension in the 2nd pull, and lack of aggression in the 3rd pull. From what I have read in Greg Everett's book, clean and snatch pulls help with opening the hips in the 2nd pull, and muscle variations help with the third.
I am looking for some guidelines on how to program movements to help improve their technique, which I know will lead to greater gains in their o-lifts down the road. I admit when going over some of the programs in Greg Everett's book I am a little confused as to what to look for when programming weekly lifting routines, and how to rotate movements in and out.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. This is a highly motivated group of athletes . I feel that they would be able to adapt to the high squatting demands of an o-lifting program. Their days in between would consist of improving in areas such as handstands and muscle-ups, with lighter metcons. The obvious focus for the next 4-6 weeks will be o-lift work.

Andrew Wilson
12-18-2010, 03:26 PM
I would suggest starting them out with just power snatch, power cleans, squats, cl pulls, sn pulls. Reason being is that beginners can really get away with heavy technical errors doing full snatch and cleans. To increase power snatch, power clean, power only goes so far, so the sportsman then has to look into ways that start squeaking out more kilos, which is where they start paying close attention to the torque, bar positioning, heels, and fluidity of the lift. Power variations will also expose more errors (in the case with heels popping up in 2nd, they won't be able to get under the bar; or jump super forward), enhance the speed, and enhance 3rd pull speed. This is when you start seeing the smoothness of the lift, where its just knees clear bar, jump, body straightens out, then body is immediately under; and the barpath will be super lean and close. Something common that you'll see when starting beginners with full cleans and snatches is they'll start throwing their hips into the bar, bending in mid air, shooting hips, heels rising in the 2nd, barpath and torque problems. Its hard to get away with these in the power variations, unless you're doing something stupid like grace or isabel.

4-6 weeks is an interesting timeline. The training effect will start becoming obvious after that period, which is when the best gains will take place the following weeks; unfortunately if it isn't continued for the period after this, those training effects are eventually going to be lost...

Troy Kerr
12-27-2010, 05:58 PM
Roger that Andrew. I plan to just use the 6 weeks as a gauge for progress. From there I still plan to program Olympic lifting as a staple in their training. What about programming snatch balances, overhead squats, back squats, or front squats as supplemental work?

Andrew Wilson
12-28-2010, 09:24 AM
Snatch balances and overhead squats are really really effective for the lads that don't exactly have that coordination or balance or shoulder stability ready for the snatch and squat jerk. They're really really good for beginners, but sometimes unnecessary for the more advanced lifters. It really depends on the sportsman and their abilities, sometimes they'll be more appropriate than full snatches, if the sportsman keeps missing the balancing aspect of the snatch on the lift or is really unstable and inconfident in that position. In this case the power snatches + overhead squat, or snatch deadlift & overhead squat would be the main element in the snatch workouts instead of just doing the snatch. The coach could also be very very sneaky about it, and have the athlete only do squat jerks as their jerk in the clean & jerk workouts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdSvJwvaV50

(something common I've seen with crossfitters is they've spent a lot of time doing thrusters and having a habit of pushing the bar at a forward angle upward in the jerk and miss many many jerks, and have very imbalanced muscles in the shoulder, ohs, snatch balances, and squat jerks are also very good for this)

Dr Verkhoshansky always said squatting twice a week with 2-3 days in between each was best for the sportsman to recover from. Olympic lifters can get away with more though. My coach had me squatting 3-4 days a week and would alternate front squat - back squat - front squat - back squat, and clean pull on back squat days, RDL on front squat days. (done after snatch&cj). The squat workout percentage of the 1RM would match the snatch & CJ workout 1RM percentage.

Troy Kerr
12-28-2010, 02:01 PM
I appreciate the info Andrew. The main issue I am running into is how much volume they can handle with the weightlifting. So far their training schedule will be Monday Snatch Emphasis, Tuesday metcon, Wednesday C&J emphasis, Thursday Rest, Friday & Sat metcon. Their metcons are short and intense, so the longest they may encounter on this cycle is 15 minutes.
For each O-lift workout, I wanted to include some heavy squatting. They were orignally on the Max Effort Black Box, but with the O-lifting work I dropped that program for them. I will see how they progress week to week, but as a rule of thumb, what kind of rep scheme do you feel would be appropriate to include in their lifting knowing that they will be handeling metcon work the next day?
After their O-lift sessions, the metcons are geared more towards upper body gymnastic metcons, the most lower body work they may do on one of those days are rower or some kb-swings.

Andrew Wilson
12-28-2010, 08:47 PM
From the top of my head, a number of case studies and articles from the olympic center's journal all say that 6RM, 5RM zone (85%, 87.5%, 3 sets) is really the best intensity to train at to develop strength while not producing a lagging training effect that negatively carry over during the week. Granted that all athletes are going to have different strength improvement thresholds, that's really the target area. Dr Verk and many T&F Drs recommend making each month into a block, 1st month being 10RM, 2nd month being 8RM, then 6RM, 5RM or 4RM, 3RM, Maxes/ SST... etc. Each rep scheme changing each 4 weeks with a 3%-5% progressive increase in weight per session if needed. If in a phase that's 5 months, say the GPP, the rep scheme starts at 10RM, if in a phase that's 2-4 months, the rep scheme starts at 6RM. which is how they control the volume (making the weightlifting sessions the constant backbone/meat of the training volume and adjusting everthing around it); each progressive month adds intensity, adds time to specific competition exercises or skills, while chipping off volume.

The sensitive thing will be the metcons being that they may likely be constantly varied, so each training session is injecting a 24-48hr training effect that the body may not be prepared for (or the positive effects will diminsh after that period), kind of messing with the rhythm of progressive adaptation; especially lower body wise and anything that uses triple extension. Exercises like deadlifts, Sumodeadlift high pull, thrusters, kettlebell swings are all going to demand the body to adapt to their motor pattern, speed, energy use, and that will kind of congest the OL motor pattern. Metcons also have the niche to demand local musc endurance. So I can see where the challenge in volume will come from. Rowing, sprinting, pullups, gymnastics, jump rope, box jumps, rope climbs, etc.. all of those are just fine. You'll come across many many training programs of T&F or rowers having all these. Right now, as an example, I'm like back squatting 10x10 with depth jumps after, 300 pullups, 300 pushups, and doing like 4mi of sprints the next day, and I can still improve in the day after in squat; pretty much how well the body can be able to handle the training stim, restoratively/prepared for it.

The links below on my sig may also have more information you may be interested in

Troy Kerr
12-29-2010, 07:41 PM
The metcons will not have any SDHP or the such. Some thrusters, but in sets up 15 with rest in between. As well as kettle-bell swings. I will have to see how they respond to the program next week and get back to you.

Blair Lowe
12-30-2010, 04:57 PM
Troy, you stated what they need to work on. 2nd and 3rd pull. It can feel like a step backwards, but go back to working the 2nd pull from above the knee, knee, just below.

3rd pull, you know they just need to work the snatch balance types and doing the same with the jerk besides their technique on the split or squat jerk.