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Ryan Hutchings
04-01-2012, 05:05 AM
This is my first attempt at Olympic Weightlifting. I have been powerlifting for about 6 months and have decided to transition into Oly. My best lifts were 385 Squat / 275 Bench / 405 Deadlift (all in pounds) at 5' 8", 200 lbs. (I'm carrying too much fat and should be able to lose 20 or 30 lbs comfortably as my training advances.)

In keeping a log here I hope to receive guidance and suggestions based on the information I provide. Unfortunately, I have no access to a coach nor can I record videos because I'm deployed and will be for at least 3 more months. I absolutely plan to find an Olympic Weightlifting gym (or an Oly friendly one) and a coach when I get home. Thanks in advance to everyone.

I've attached the training template I'll be using.--> 451

Ryan Hutchings
04-01-2012, 05:07 AM
This session was from 30 MAR 12.

To learn the Snatch tonight I divided it into 3 segments and added each segment until the whole movement felt comfortably. This method worked wonderfully and I can't wait to do the same with the Clean and Jerk. On to the first session...


Session A

Technique training/Warm-up

Overhead Squat - 45 x 3/3/3/3/3
Muscle Snatch + Overhead Squat - 45 x 3/3/3/3/3
Low Hang Snatch + Overhead Squat - 45 x 3/3/3

At this point I felt comfortable with the full version of the lift; segmenting worked wonderfully!

Snatch
45 x 3
45 x 3
50 x 3
55 x 3
60 x 3
65 x 3

Front Squat (Oly)
65 x 5
65 x 5
65 x 5

Pendlay Row
135 x 8
135 x 8
135 x 8

Jump-Rope and some spinal decompression stuff.


Notes
As I said before, this was an amazing session. I really feel like I made great progress and that this method is going to work wonderfully. I'm very excited! Stay tuned.

Ryan Hutchings
04-01-2012, 05:37 AM
I began by training the lift in the segments I had predetermined.

Session B

Technique training/Warm-up

Behind-the-Neck Jerk - 45 x 3/4/3
Push Jerk - 45 x 3/3/3
Split Jerk - 45 x 3/3/3
Front Squat + Split Jerk Ė 45 x 2
Muscle Clean Ė 45 x 4/3/2
Muscle Clean + Front Squat +Split Jerk Ė 45 x 3/3
Hang Clean + Front Squat + Split Jerk Ė 55 x 2, 65 x 2

At this point I pieced it all together.

Clean and Jerk (Split)
75 x 2
95 x 2
115 x 2

Overhead Squat (Snatch Grip)
65 x 5 Ė Lost my balance and after reducing the weight I realized it was because I didnít have a focal point.
55 x 5
55 x 5

Bench Press
135 x 8
135 x 8
135 x 8

Chin-Ups
BW x 5
BW x 5
BW x 3

Jump-Rope between sets of chins.



Notes
This was a fine session, but with some difficulties. First Iíll say that although the majority says the Snatch is the more technical lift of the two Olympic lifts, the Clean and Jerk gives me more trouble. Maybe itís because of the difference in weight used, or the method of pulling, but something makes it more difficult to me.

I was kind of tired by the time I had the full sequence ironed out, so hopefully next time Iíll be able to train the whole lift sooner and fresher.

I decided to learn and train the Split Jerk as opposed to the non-split and Iím glad I did, because it wasnít as difficult as I thought it would be and I think it will allow me to C&J more weight down the road.

All in all, despite having trouble learning the C&J, Iím confident that with many, many repetitions I will begin to perfect the technique. It may sound typical, but I feel sure of the manner of the motions and their intentions; i.e. triple extension, power shrugging, catching. I understand the movement of the body according to the bar is as active as the movement of the bar itself; what should move the bar and when; what is more and less efficient and I think knowing these things is going to make me successful.

Ryan Hutchings
04-01-2012, 09:25 AM
After reading further, (actually a Catalyst article by Greg http://www.catalystathletics.com/articles/article.php?articleID=125) I'm pretty confident that the problem I'm having with the C&J is because I am not using the same "hip contact" as when I Snatch. I didn't realize it was supposed to be done in the C&J also. (albeit a little lower than hips, actually upper thigh)

I was basically pulling straight from the floor trying to use triple extension (of the ankles, knees, and hips) with zero contact, aside from the bar touching my shins while on the floor.

Now I know, and G.I. Joe says that's half the battle.

Ryan Hutchings
04-02-2012, 05:03 AM
Session A

Technique training/Warm-up

Some bodyweight front squats, limb rotations, snatches and C&Js with a bar only.

Snatch 1
55 x 2
65 x 2
75 x 2
85 x 2
95 x 2
95 x 2


Clean 2
95 x 5
95 x 5
95 x 5


Clean and Jerk (Split) 3
105 x 1
115 x 1
135 x 1


Front Squats 4 (Cleaned the weight up on the first rep)
135 x 5
135 x 5
135 x 5


Pendlay Row 5
135 x 8
135 x 8
135 x 8


Push Jerk 6
135 x 3
95 x 3
95 x 3


Conditioning/Cool-down 7
Jump-Rope and some spinal decompression stuff.



1) Snatch: Since Iím still getting a feel for the full movement I used a ton of reps with light weight which made me tired a little early. Now that Iím comfortable with the sequence, Iíll start with 95 and increase the weight in a similar manner to prevent early fatigue.

2) Clean: Iíll pretend I did Cleans on purpose, and not admit that I forgot to do the Jerk entirely...

3) Clean and Jerk (Split): Next time, as with the Snatch, Iíll start with 135 and work up to prevent early fatigue. I feel really comfortable with both the Snatch and the C&J now, but I will still increase the weight for work sets very slowly.

4) Front Squats: I cleaned the weight up on the first rep then performed the set of Front Squats. Good stuff, no issues.

5) Pendlay Row: It was business as usual for these.

6) Push Jerk: These were supposed to be Push Presses, but when I was recalling the session I realized that I was rotating under the bar and locking my elbows much more than I was pressing at the top. Iíll use that observation and occasion as a learning experience.

7) Conditioning/Cool-down: Iím getting much better at jumping rope. Iím also still trying to work a tweak in my upper-middle back while doing some decompression stuff; hanging from pull-up bars, suspending from top position on dip bars.

All of the work that doesnít contribute to perfecting form and achieving baseline weights with the Snatch and C&J is low priority for now; Iím mostly using it for conditioning at present. My overall confidence in the technique of both lifts is sky-high. I am very excited about all of this.

As you may have noticed, surely to the disapproval of some, I am adopting a "Bulgarian training system" in that I will be training every day. Once I have baseline weights for the Snatch and C&J I will start varying intensities, but not reducing frequency.

Thanks for reading through all this! Stay tuned.

Ryan Hutchings
04-03-2012, 05:10 AM
Session A

Technique training/Warm-up
Some bodyweight front squats, limb rotations, snatches and C&Js with a bar only.

Snatch 1
95 x 3
95 x 2
95 x 2
95 x 1

Clean and Jerk (Split) 2
135 x 1

Clean 3
135 x 2
135 x 2

Conditioning/Cool-down 4
Jump-Rope and some spinal decompression stuff.


1) Snatch: Lockout felt weak.

2) Clean and Jerk (Split): Lockout felt weak.

3) Clean: Here, I switched from the C&J to the Clean to avoid the lockout during the Jerk.

4) Conditioning/Cool-down: Same old.

I got in the gym and realized after a few lifts that my lockout was feeling weak and shaky. I decided it was better to ďknow when to fold Ďem,Ē so to speak. I performed a few sets of the main lifts, hit the jump-rope for a bit, and then called it an evening; just to grease the groove. Weíll see how it goes tonight!

Ryan Hutchings
04-03-2012, 01:44 PM
My technique on both the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk are my number one priority right now, so I've decided to drop all the other lifts until I really nail it down. I don't want anything at all to interfere with perfecting my form. That being said, I got some really great reps in tonight on both.

Snatch
95 x 2 x 8

Clean and Jerk
115 x 2 x 5

Finished up with some jump-rope.

Something else I may start doing is on alternating days performing more reps of one lift than the other; for example, on Session A do 8 sets of Snatch and 5 sets of C&J, then Session B 5 sets of Snatch and 8 sets of C&J.

Ryan Hutchings
04-05-2012, 06:17 AM
took the night off last night for a little rest. i'm ready to get after it tonight!

Ryan Hutchings
04-05-2012, 02:16 PM
Session A

Technique training/Warm-up
Some bodyweight front squats, limb rotations, snatches and C&Js with a bar only. Jump-Rope.

Snatch 1
115 x 2
95 x 2
95 x 1
95 x 1

Clean and Jerk (Split) 2
95 x 1
115 x 1
115 x 1
115 x 1
135 x 1
135 x 1
135 x 1
135 x 1

Front Squats 3
135 x 5
135 x 5
135 x 5

Behind-the-Neck Snatch Grip Jerks 4
45 x 3
45 x 3
45 x 3

Drop Snatches 5
45 x 3
45 x 3
45 x 3

Conditioning/Cool-down 6
Jump-Rope and some spinal decompression stuff.


1) Snatch: I identified a technique issue concerning my lockout at the top. I wasn't rotating my shoulder blades back and up, squeezing them together, nor was I truly jerking in the sense that I was catching the bar and pressing it to lockout. I'm very happy this happened because it verified a few things; I understand what I should be doing, I am paying close attention to what I am ACTUALLY doing, and because of these two things I'll know how/what to correct.

2) Clean and Jerk (Split): My form felt better after doing a few reps. I think this lift more than the Snatch is technically dependent on heavier weight being lifted and that's why it seems like it's giving me more trouble. Basically, my form felt like it improved once 135 was on the bar. Learning, lifting, loving.

3) Front Squats: Did these out of a rack, held in a C&J racked position.

4) BTN Snatch Grip Jerks: These were for practicing rotating my shoulder blades up and backward, squeezing them together and performing the Jerk without pressing. I'm satisfied with these, so I'll probably keep them and slowly increase the weight.

5) Drop Snatches: These were for practicing the combination of dropping into the catch position while correctly getting under the bar, rotating my shoulder blades back and up and locking out the elbows without pressing the bar.

6) Conditioning/Cool-down: I think I'm going to start doing my jumping-rope to warm-up at the beginning of the training session, like I did today. I feel like doing it at the end doesn't contribute to cooling down and that it is more useful as a warm-up for several reasons on which I won't elaborate so I don't bore you to death.

This was a really good session all-around. It was really reassuring in a number of ways. I want to be able to use 115 for Snatch and 135 for C&J for all sets for simplicity's sake, but I need to remember to not do so if everything isn't clicking. Tomorrow should be just work on the classic lifts with an emphasis on the Snatch!

Ryan Hutchings
04-07-2012, 04:26 AM
Session B

Technique training/Warm-up
Some bodyweight front squats, limb rotations, snatches and C&Js with a
bar only. Box jumps. Jump-Rope.

Snatch 1
95 x 1
95 x 1
115 x 1
115 x 1
95 x 1
95 x 1
95 x 1*
95 x 1*
95 x 2*
95 x 1*

*Great form! (felt that way at least!)

Clean and Jerk (Split) 2
95 x 1
115 x 1
115 x 1*
115 x 1*
135 x 1
135 x 1
135 x 1
135 x 1*
135 x 1*

Behind-the-Neck Snatch Grip Jerks 3
50 x 3
50 x 3
50 x 3

Drop Snatches 4
50 x 3
50 x 3
50 x 3

Conditioning/Cool-down 5
Jump-Rope, Sit-ups, and some spinal decompression stuff.


1) Snatch: My form was on at 95, but not at 115, so if I get that through my head I'll use 95 for a few sets next time, then try 100 and not jump to 115. There's something in that gap that I need to build in my muscles, technique, or both that has to be developed before I can jump to 115.

2) Clean and Jerk (Split): I'm pretty content with my performance on these as well. After nailing 115 a couple times I moved up to 135, then after a few sub par pulls I started honing in on my form with that.

3) BTN Snatch Grip Jerks: I increased the weight by 5 lbs from last time, and everything went just fine.

4) Drop Snatches: Also increased these by 5 lbs and everything went well.

5) Conditioning/Cool-down: Had some extra energy from not squatting, so I did a little (minimal) conditioning stuff.

I think I've established baseline for the classic lifts, as far as technique is concerned: 95 Snatch and 135 C&J. (I could probably heave more weight up sloppily, but I consider my max to be the most I can lift using proper form) I'll start to increase the weight by 5 lbs after hitting several in a row during a session with great form like I did today.

Ryan Hutchings
04-07-2012, 12:25 PM
I just wanted to note a new fundamental technical principle I've come to understand while reading "Power Trip" by Dan McCauley:

Basically, the triple-extension that I read about, and that is often still taught to many lifters, is incorrect. According to McCauley, the extension of the ankle and knee creates unwanted forward momentum, causing both the bar and the lifter to be in inefficient positions by the 3rd pull (getting under the bar).

The emphasize should be on the hip extension and strengthening it (which would be the "3rd" extension in the triple extension). It should be the core, quite literally, of both the technique and focused strength training to maximize lifting potential.

...Learning, lifting, loving. :D

Ryan Hutchings
04-08-2012, 10:27 AM
I learned another interesting bit watching a lecture by Tommy Kono....

If you're scraping your shins, you are using your back too much/too early and not all of your leg extension. You should push through the floor, extending your knees, thus clearing your shins.

Learning!

Ryan Hutchings
04-10-2012, 12:22 PM
I've been out of the gym for too many days now, far too many for my liking! My hours changed dramatically at work, so I've been adjusted my sleep schedule and trying to find a time when the gym isn't PACKED. With some luck, I'll be able to get in there after shift today, and I really hope to.

Ryan Hutchings
04-10-2012, 10:32 PM
Session A

Technique training/Warm-up
Some bodyweight front squats, limb rotations, snatches and C&Js with a bar only.

Snatch 1
95 x 1
95 x 1
95 x 0 - Douchebag got in my way mid-lift and to avoid hitting him I put it down.
95 x 1
95 x 1*
95 x 1*
100 x 1*
100 x 1*
100 x 1*

Clean and Jerk (Split) 2
135 x 1
135 x 1
135 x 1
135 x 1
135 x 1
140 x 1*
145 x 0 - Bar slipped or something, not really sure.
145 x 1*
145 x 1*

*Great form

Front Squats 3
140 x 5
140 x 5
140 x 5

Conditioning/Cool-down 4
Jump-Rope and some spinal decompression stuff.


1) Snatch: Increasing weight next session.

2) Clean and Jerk (Split): Confirmed my suspicion that my form problems were largely due to how light the weight was. As you can see, the first rep after I increased the weight was great. Increasing weight next session.

3) Front Squats: Power cleaned first rep, then held in a C&J racked position.

4) Conditioning/Cool-down: Same old.

Man, talk about a learning experience! This session taught me that you never know how a session might improve. This one started out rough and quickly became greatness. I couldn't be happier about my form on both lifts. I really feel like I've got them both nailed, so from this point forward I'll be increasing the weight by 5 lbs each time I can perform many repetitions with excellent technique. I dropped the BTN snatch grip push presses and the drop snatches because of my satisfaction with my form in the full snatch.

I do want to note that my shoulders and hips are sore. Mobility/flexibility sucks more than I knew.

Ryan Hutchings
04-12-2012, 11:42 PM
Session B

Technique training/Warm-up
Some bodyweight front squats, limb rotations, lots of bar-only reps of various movements.

Clean and Jerk (Split) 1
105 x 1*
105 x 1*
110 x 1*
110 x 1*
115 x 1*
115 x 1*
120 x 1*
120 x 1*
125 x 1*
125 x 1*
135 x 1*

*Great form

Back Squats 2
135 x 5
135 x 5
155 x 10

Conditioning/Cool-down 3
Sit-Ups 4 x 15
Stretching between sets of Sit-ups

1) Clean and Jerk (Split): Great form, on every rep. Finally ironing out the wrinkles.

2) Back Squats: ATG olympic style squats starting at a nice, low weight.

3) Conditioning/Cool-down: I'm going to make a point of stretching after every training session.

As you can see, my form was spot-on tonight. I have decided to train one classic lift per session until I find a reason to do both in one. So for those of you trying to keep track, my programming now looks like:

Snatch or Clean and Jerk, alternating
Back or Front Squat, alternating (with a day off between)

Slowly increasing the weight until I get to intensities that necessitate cycling. All in all, things are going very well and I feel on track.

Ryan Hutchings
04-13-2012, 11:41 PM
Session A

Technique training/Warm-up
Some bodyweight front squats, limb rotations, lots of bar-only reps of various movements.

Snatch 1
95 (43) x 1*
95 (43) x 1*
100 (45) x 1*
100 (45) x 1*
105 (48) x 1
105 (48) x 1
105 (48) x 1*
105 (48) x 1*
110 (50) x 1
110 (50) x 1

*Great form

Incline Bench Press 2
135 x 5
135 x 5
135 x 5

Conditioning/Cool-down 3
Stretching between sets of Sit-ups

1) Snatch: Feeling good.

2) Incline Bench Press: Nice and strong. Start nice and low weight.

3) Conditioning/Cool-down: No notes.

This was another awesome session. I've decided to strengthen my shoulder girdle, on days I'm not squatting, by alternating Incline Bench Press and BB Rows. I'll use BB rows unless you guys have some good reasons to use Pendlay rows instead.

I'm all dinged and bruised up, so I'm gonna take the next day or two off to rest and recover.

Ryan Hutchings
04-14-2012, 05:16 PM
The thing my programming is missing is work with doubles and maybe even some triples. In my mind, I'm working through how to include them.

I'm thinking something like....

Session A1
Snatch - Work up to a max single, then when form starts to deteriorate, back down 20% and work using doubles

Session B1
Clean and Jerk - Work up to a max single, then when form starts to deteriorate, back down 20% and work using doubles

Session A2
Snatch - Work up to a max single, then when form starts to deteriorate, back down 30% and work using triples

Session B2
Clean and Jerk - Work up to a max single, then when form starts to deteriorate, back down 30% and work using triples


I think this will work nicely. So, here's my program as of today:

There are 4 alternating Sessions (A1, B1, A2, B2). A full classic lift starts each session. A squat variation and a vertical press/pull alternates on "A" sessions, and a horizontal press/pull and abdominal work alternate on "B" sessions.

...sounds more complicated than it is! Looks like this:

Session A1
Snatch (up to a daily max single, back down 20% and work using doubles)
Front Squat - 3 sets of 5
Push Press - 5 sets of 3

Session B1
Clean and Jerk (up to a daily max single, back down 20% and work using doubles)
Incline Bench Press - 3 sets of 5
Sit-ups - 5 sets of 15 (add weight once all reps can be completed)

Session A2
Snatch (up to a daily max single, back down 30% and work using triples)
Back Squat - 3 sets of 5
Chin-ups - 5 sets as many reps possible until 25 total, then figure something out...

Session B2
Clean and Jerk (up to a daily max single, back down 30% and work using triples)
Barbell Rows - 3 sets of 5
Sit-ups - 5 sets of 15 (add weight once all reps can be completed)

I was going to alternate a low-back exercise with Abs, but I figured my low-back gets more than enough work elsewhere in the program.

The squats, presses, rows, chins, and abs will all be increased in a linear fashion (starting low and increasing very little) until I reach max intensities, at which point I'll reset. (back off a percentage and work back up again) I'll begin cycling intensities when it becomes necessary.

I'm going to let the classic lifts increase somewhat linearly, but base increases more on the feel of the lifts that day, so long as the weight doesn't start decreasing. I'll work up to a daily max single, to where my form begins breaking down, and work as described above.

Ryan Hutchings
04-16-2012, 10:58 PM
Session A1

Warm-up
Some bodyweight squats, shoulder dislocates, lots of bar-only reps of various movements.

Snatch
95 (43) x 1*
95 (43) x 1*
100 (45) x 1*
105 (48) x 1*
110 (50) x 1 - Max single reached, poor form. Back down for doubles.
100 (45) x 2*
100 (45) x 2*
100 (45) x 1 - Fatigued, missed 2nd rep.
95 (43) x 1 - Fatigued, poor lockout.

*Great form

Front Squats
140 (63) x 5 - Bad math = wrong weight on the bar :)
145 (66) x 5
145 (66) x 5

Push Press Out of the squat rack.
95 (43) x 3 - Started off awkwardly, then got more comfortable.
95 (43) x 3
95 (43) x 3
95 (43) x 3
95 (43) x 3

Conditioning/Cool-down
Stretching and Jump-Rope

Notes
I'm a little discouraged. There are many pieces that are all adapting simultaneously (technique, flexibility, and strength), so it's easy for me to feel like I'm not progressing. I need to remember that 2 weeks ago, I couldn't even do the lifts. Anyway, pouting aside, this was a good, productive session.

Ryan Hutchings
04-17-2012, 12:24 PM
I have two glaring issues that are plaguing me currently, and unfortunately, both of them take time to correct:

1) Wrist mobiliity - I have a hard time closing my hands around the bar in the rack position. Ironically, it is this very problem that confirms my belief that I am jerking correctly in the Clean and Jerk. I know that since I cannot close my grip in the rack, I am definitely not pressing the bar off my shoulders. This theory doesn't really apply to whether or not I'm pressing at the top, but I'm confident I'm locking my elbows and catching, rather than pressing.

2) Conditioning - I am becoming fatigued after my warm-up sets of the Snatch and Clean and Jerk. Hopefully, as I progress I will naturally develop a higher work capacity in these lifts. Once I've backed down to my work sets, my fatigue hinders my form, reducing the quality of the repetitions. I'm also jumping-rope after each training session to improve my conditioning.

Ryan Hutchings
04-17-2012, 11:19 PM
Session B1

Warm-up
Some bodyweight squats, shoulder dislocates, lots of bar-only reps of various movements.

Clean and Jerk
95 (43) x 1*
115 (52) x 1*
135 (61) x 1* - Almost went backwards. Adjusted accordingly.
145 (66) x 1* - Max single reached. Back down for doubles.
135 (61) x 2*
135 (61) x 2*
135 (61) x 2
135 (61) x 2*
135 (61) x 2*

*Great form

Incline Bench Press
140 (63) x 5
140 (63) x 5
140 (63) x 5

Sit-ups Jump-rope between sets.
BW x 15
BW x 15
BW x 15
BW x 15
BW x 15

Conditioning/Cool-down
Stretching

Notes
This was a really great session. I seem to have nailed down my rack position problem. I think I had my hands in too close to my shoulders for my forearm length because when I moved them out, I was racking with a fully closed grip no problem. Jerks felt plenty strong all the way through my work sets. Had to remind myself to explosively extend my hips several times, but I think that's because of the light weight. I feel like once there's more weight on the bar, I will do it naturally to get the weight up.