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Elliot Royce
03-30-2007, 10:07 AM
When in the gym, I've been doing a hybrid program of O lifts and their assistance lifts (trap pulls, pulls from the floor) plus Starting Strength when I need to fill in. I've been making progress over the past 3 months with my front squat getting up to 80kg from basically nothing. Similarly, my back squat has gone from something like 120lbs to 205lbs for 5 reps. On the power clean, it's gone from 50kg to 90kg.

However, I feel like my life is overcomplicated. My training log is filled with multiple lifts and variants (front squat, back squat, trap bar deadlift, RDLs, squat cleans, cleans & jerks, shoulder press, push press, rack jerks, hang clean, bench press).

I'm wondering whether to just do the Starting Strength rotation and sub in the full O lift as appropriate. So, sub front squat for back squat one day. Sub squat clean for power clean or sub clean & jerk for both power clean and shoulder press. Or sub push press or jerk for shoulder press.

There is something about the simplicity of the SS program that appeals. I think progress is much more measurable. Since I am not a pro O lifter, I would think that this should lay the foundation pretty well. I would still do 2 hours per week with a coach to train the O lifts.

Thoughts?

Derek Simonds
03-30-2007, 10:26 AM
For the last year I have been doing basically the same thing.

I started the mass gain plan outlined in the PM and have been trying diligently to follow the lifting template. It is an O lift program and the only modification I have done so far is include bench 1 day and incline 1 day. I still am not 100% on the lifting template but I like it and it has simplified my life substantially.

My biggest problem is that I get into an overtrained state by doing too much. I like the weights, reps and exercises outlined and I don't feel like I am over reaching.

I look forward to reading additional responses

John Alston
03-30-2007, 10:32 AM
I'm wondering whether to just do the Starting Strength rotation and sub in the full O lift as appropriate. So, sub front squat for back squat one day. Sub squat clean for power clean or sub clean & jerk for both power clean and shoulder press. Or sub push press or jerk for shoulder press.

Thoughts?

It sounds like you are trying to do a couple things at once.
Some of your substitutions I find questionable.

The squat clean is significantly more taxing than a power clean.

Subbing the full C&J for power clean and press isn't a great fit b/c the jerk is as much a leg exercise while the press is essentially no leg.

I dunno about SS much, and I am wondering about your plan. Have you just tried a structured OLY program with assists for your goals? Not really sure what your goals are. Is strength in general the goal with oly as one element or is it more oly focused? Sounds like a mix. Mixing can be tricky, esp when there is a plan so structured as SS.

Elliot Royce
03-30-2007, 11:59 AM
Derek:

I checked out the template. I didn't realize the second tab had O lifts (the first tab is pretty basic). I'm going to look into it more. Something consistent and progressive would work well.

John:

Thanks for your comments. I'm not sure I agree that a squat clean is more taxing than a power clean. Are you arguing that it's possible to power clean more than a squat clean? I do find a squat clean harder to learn but I've assumed that's just me. In any event, can't I just adjust for difficulty by varying the weight?

Again, on your point about subbing the C&J, I'm not looking to exactly replicate the motion but rather to achieve the same effect of Starting Strength (building mass/strength) while working on the technical side of the O lifts.

As for goals, good question! Build strength/mass, improve athletic performance, learn the O lifts as a sport (in no particular order).

John Seiler
03-30-2007, 12:09 PM
Elliot,

Your power clean is 10kg higher than your front squat?

Elliot Royce
03-30-2007, 01:01 PM
I know, weird. But I do have two artificial hips and have been rebuilding since then. My coach has me working the front squat to get more comfortable jumping down. I figure I should be able to get up to 120-130kg on a squat clean if I can only learn to squat that much.

John Seiler
03-31-2007, 10:47 AM
Ah. That would explain it. I like to idea of simplification. Unless you have a LOT of time to spend (like an Olympic-caliber athlete), it's pretty hard to work at all those things. It seems wiser to focus real-life limited resources on improving a few basic lifts.

Bill Ripley
03-31-2007, 10:53 AM
"I checked out the template. I didn't realize the second tab had O lifts (the first tab is pretty basic). I'm going to look into it more. Something consistent and progressive would work well."

Can someone tell me where to find this template?

Greg Everett
03-31-2007, 11:59 AM
Bill -

template and full article are in PM issue 17. At the top of the mass gain forum is a sticky thread with an excel doc containing all the lifts: http://www.performancemenu.com/forum/showthread.php?t=478


Elliot -

I think what you do really just depends on what is a priority for you at this point--do you want to lift as much weight as possible as soon as possible, or would you prefer becoming technically proficient in the snatch and clean & jerk? I among others will argue you can't genuinely do both at the same time--you can preserve and slowly improve one while focusing on the other.

So if you feel your technique is adequate and your lifts are being held back primarily if not entirely due to inadquate strength, spend a cycle or two really focusing on squat, deadlift, press, push press while training the lifts maybe 2-3 times/week at 60-75% or so just to keep the motor patterns sharp.

Bill Ripley
03-31-2007, 01:20 PM
thanks

Elliot Royce
03-31-2007, 02:43 PM
Greg:

Good advice. I talked to my coach, Gary Valentine, today at length and his view is we need to work on some basic roadblocks -- some related to techniques and some related to strength. So I guess what I saw as complexity is actually just focusing on what hinders me, whether it's strength or technique.

The prescription is

front squats - as heavy as possible while still maintaining full depth -- weakness here limits my ability to squat under the bar

overhead squats - light weights just to get flexibility, any progress here will help with snatches

hang cleans & jerks - pulls are good and strong (120kg+ pulls vs. 70kg squat cleans), need to work on getting under the bar, jerks are good on technique but missing in strength so some rack jerks as well

So the modified template is, when I'm not in a gym where I can drop the weights:

Workout A:
Back squat 3 warmup, 3 work
Jerks: 2 warmup, 3 work
Hang clean: triples for as much time as I have

Workout B:
Front squat: 3 warmup, 3 work
OHS: 3-5 sets of 5 at light weight
Pull: 2-3 warmup, 3 work

John Alston
04-02-2007, 10:49 AM
John:

Thanks for your comments. I'm not sure I agree that a squat clean is more taxing than a power clean. Are you arguing that it's possible to power clean more than a squat clean?
With good technique and no phsyical issues, your full clean should of course be more weight. BUt if you mean "more often" than I think one can do more power cleans than squat cleans.


Again, on your point about subbing the C&J, I'm not looking to exactly replicate the motion but rather to achieve the same effect of Starting Strength (building mass/strength) while working on the technical side of the O lifts.

As for goals, good question! Build strength/mass, improve athletic performance, learn the O lifts as a sport (in no particular order).
Right, a little different from my goals, where right now I am trying to develop my strength and general traits through focusing on the olympic lifts.
Sounds like you are getting good training if you are working with Gary Valentine. I'd listen to him!
Are you going to come on down to the meet at LBH in two weeks?

Elliot Royce
04-02-2007, 05:09 PM
Gary is great. I wish more people could come to his gym in the foothills of Wilton. He does actually have a guy who travels down from Vermont.

I will have to miss the meet due to travels but I hope to be there in August. I'm afraid that work life prevents me from maximizing my O lifting potential (but does pay the bills). I'm waiting to make my move for the 80 year old Masters' title -- I've got another 35 years to train.

Peter Haas
04-05-2007, 06:57 AM
I ran into this sort of question when I decided to switch from metcons to primarily focusing on strength/O-lifting. I really wanted to increase my strength and proficiency at O-lifts. I decided that primarily focusing on strength while developing my technique couldn't hurt.

I decided to go ahead with Rippeotoe's advanced beginner program as outlined in Practical Programming. I lifted with that Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and did Snatches and assistance exercises on Saturday. I've been making steady progress on that for the last 2 months, going up about 5-10lbs on my back squat per week.

Since I have been making steady progress, I've decided to mainly focus on this strength program until I reach the Advanced lifting levels that Rippetoe outlines. I still do a little O-lifting on Saturdays if I have the time, but my main focus is on strength right now. I like it because it is a simple program and I am seeing week to week improvements. Part of me can't believe I'm still making progress with simple linear periodization at the weights I am lifting, so I want to keep riding it out. When I hit advanced, I am going to switch to emphasis on O-lifting and metcons.

When I do O-lifting now, I feel like my limiting factor is skill and technique, not that I am weak. I'm happy with that for right now.

Robb Wolf
04-05-2007, 10:16 AM
I ran into this sort of question when I decided to switch from metcons to primarily focusing on strength/O-lifting. I really wanted to increase my strength and proficiency at O-lifts. I decided that primarily focusing on strength while developing my technique couldn't hurt.

I decided to go ahead with Rippeotoe's advanced beginner program as outlined in Practical Programming. I lifted with that Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and did Snatches and assistance exercises on Saturday. I've been making steady progress on that for the last 2 months, going up about 5-10lbs on my back squat per week.

Since I have been making steady progress, I've decided to mainly focus on this strength program until I reach the Advanced lifting levels that Rippetoe outlines. I still do a little O-lifting on Saturdays if I have the time, but my main focus is on strength right now. I like it because it is a simple program and I am seeing week to week improvements. Part of me can't believe I'm still making progress with simple linear periodization at the weights I am lifting, so I want to keep riding it out. When I hit advanced, I am going to switch to emphasis on O-lifting and metcons.

When I do O-lifting now, I feel like my limiting factor is skill and technique, not that I am weak. I'm happy with that for right now.

Peter-

I just had a good P private message exchange with Pierre on this topic. The simple linear periodization REALLY works and is foundational. It will provide the greatest gains of ones life based in part on the efficacy and in part on a deeper pool of strength potential to draw from. Conjugate methods, wave loading, ladders and the like are awesome and will squeak more % out of the top end but your run may go for quite some time. I worked up to a 565 SQT & DL on simple linear periodization, it works.

Dave Van Skike
04-05-2007, 11:12 AM
I worked up to a 565 SQT & DL on simple linear periodization, it works.

Ummm.....You are strong.

Awesome thread. Beyond the usual response to such questions (What is your goal and how will you know when you have reached it) I too have struggled with the same sort of mixed goal to develop a solid base of strength. I propose to measure my progress in that goal this with a mix of lifts that include a some Oly lifts. In approaching this goal, I realized very quickly that for me, it was not efficient to try to increase my numbers in the Oly lifts and the squat and deadlift at the same time. In fact, once I realized this, it was a relief to drop the Oly lifting and most supplemental work in favor of a periodization plan from Practical Programming that focuses, (oddly enough) on the basic lifts that comprise the x-fit total.

I think a good argument can be made that it if you wanted to be truly mega strong it would be better to start with the Oly lifts with light weight until you are proficient and then proceed to supplement weight in those lifts while adding in heavy squats pulls and presses. But if you are just getting started or starting over with new knees or hips or whatever, I think it makes sense to get all around strong and then work on technique focused lifts later. I know for me, this guarantees that I will have a tougher time learning to not muscle the weight but that's why you pay a coach to slap you around.

John Alston
04-05-2007, 11:37 AM
Interesting that people don't seem to be satisfied using the classic lifts as their primary strength building tool. I wonder why this is.
Is it because the quick lifts are too leg dominant? Is it the simultaneous strength and power demands of them? I wonder.
I guess there are areas that the classic lifts don't emphasize, but for my money, the lifts and the accessories - pulls, squats, presses, OHS, deadlifts, and their variations offer a good full body strengthening. Plus, they are super fun to do.
I am still enjoying the high from two PR's last night (81kg snatch and 97.5 C&J) so it might be influencing my thoughts, but why anyone wouldn't want to fling the heaviest possible weight over their head I can't imagine!:D

Dave Van Skike
04-05-2007, 12:08 PM
I think this is becuase until you have some proficiency in the classic lifts, you are going aren't going to build strength as fast as you will learnign the basic deadlfit, sqaut and press.

I'm sure if I had a dedicated time slot to work with a coach, adn a set of bumpers, over time, I could get jsut as strong doing the classic lifts. I don't have time for that now... but I do have access to a bar and whole bunch of plates, ergo the basics...squat, press, deadlift and variants thereof.

Robb Wolf
04-05-2007, 01:28 PM
I think this is becuase until you have some proficiency in the classic lifts, you are going aren't going to build strength as fast as you will learnign the basic deadlfit, sqaut and press.

I'm sure if I had a dedicated time slot to work with a coach, adn a set of bumpers, over time, I could get jsut as strong doing the classic lifts. I don't have time for that now... but I do have access to a bar and whole bunch of plates, ergo the basics...squat, press, deadlift and variants thereof.

Dave-
Totally legit. If you want to incorporate some speed work ala-WSBB and the conjugate method a day of box jumps, plyo push ups and clapping pull-ups will do it. Nothing missed there and plenty fun.

John Alston
04-05-2007, 01:32 PM
Dave
Good points. I think I might have missed some of this because I started the lifts with a coach. And being relatively untrained, playing with only 40kg all night was enough to stimulate some development for me (though there was plenty of assistance work, too).
I do think that a workout with still very light classic lifts as the bulk and then heavier work in the assistance exercises can be successful.
But I think I forget that people actually try to learn the quick lifts on their own. It seems a daunting task.
Silly me. And props to people who develop good lifts w/out regular coaching.

Steve Shafley
04-05-2007, 01:48 PM
I think that the whole linear programming on the "slow" lifts has gotten a bad rap, and, even though I've seen significant slowdown on progress (in the past) on linear programs and jumped towards and more concurrent or conjugate system, I don't think I've eked out all the gains I could have.

Interestingly enough, in one of the early T-Mag articles, someone said that linear periodization will be good enough for you to win most of the PL contests you enter, if you work at it smart and hard.

One problem I do have with the vast majority of linear programs is that they start out too light, and I think that time is wasted. This is really why I lean strongly towards cybernetic periodization systems like the ladder, and other AREG techniques.

One thing that I find bizarro about "Practical Programming" is that basically it tells you the same thing Bill Starr's "Strongest Shall Survive" does.

When the hell did lifters lose sight of that?

Rick Deckart
04-06-2007, 12:03 PM
Wasted time... well I think this is the one point where I disagree with Ripptoe, the idea that it is always best to progress as fast as possible and that programming which slows progress down on purpose, or by accident is a waste. Sorry in my experience it can be a very bad mistake to proceed as fast as you can if your frame is not build to the same standard as your muscles are. And I think older trainees especially would probably be well served to make progress slower than they could.

If I remember correct, Zatziorsky stated that in the old days russian lifting coaches followed what he called the golden rule of "three years". Three years of proper preparation before you a ready to start a full force lifting cycle... (I would have to look up this...)

Personally I wasted more than enough time proceeding/progressing faster than I really could (that is all of me, not just my muscles)...

Elliot Royce
04-06-2007, 01:54 PM
think this is becuase until you have some proficiency in the classic lifts, you are going aren't going to build strength as fast as you will learnign the basic deadlfit, sqaut and press

Yes, this was really the starting point of my question: advance on strength or advance on technique or try to do both. Ultimately, I think it has to be both if you want explosive strength and/or to be an O lifter.

The total body nature of the O lifts does help fill in the gaps. I thought I had a strong upper body but then the pulls starting working the rear delts and there was certainly accelerated development there. So ultimately the O lifts help on the foundation. They also build confidence.

I've been working back up on the deadlifts gently because of the hips, lower back problems and general lack of flexibility. Yet, here I was today pulling a heavier weight than I normally try deadlifting off the floor without giving my lower back a second thought.

Ultimately I think the two are complementary. What I've done is to develop a modified workout A and B. Workout A is

back squat
jerks
power clean

Workout B is
front squat
overhead squat
pulls

I use these principally when I don't have access to bumpers. Then, at my coach's direction, I'm focusing on hang squat cleans when I have access to bumpers.

John Alston
04-06-2007, 03:31 PM
Is it just me or does it seem like a lot of people who integrate olifts into a more general program do a lot more power cleans than full cleans? WHy is this? The squat clean is just to brutal to neglect.

Yael Grauer
04-06-2007, 04:59 PM
Is it just me or does it seem like a lot of people who integrate olifts into a more general program do a lot more power cleans than full cleans? WHy is this? The squat clean is just to brutal to neglect.

I can't speak for anyone else but I personally am working through a progression which starts at above the knee, then once my form etc. improves and I get stronger I'll move on to below the knee and then squat cleans.

John Alston
04-07-2007, 08:59 AM
Yael
I think I should just admit to myself that I am an oly head. My love for it distorts my perceptions.
If you're talking about progressing from power cleans to lower cleans into the full squat clean, there are some good arguments infavor of the opposite route. Power cleaning first can lead to some difficulty in getting to the full lift. I think Tommy Kono is big on learning the full lift first. I know from exp that doing too many pwr versions of the lifts made me have to relearn a lot of stuff. I had power snatched 77.5kg but it was a long time before I could make a real snatch with 80.
Working from above the knee to the full squat clean is actually a great way to get started on the lift. I have been doing high high hang snatches and cleans lately, and it has really improved my speed at getting under the bar.

Elliot Royce
04-08-2007, 09:44 AM
Actually I agree completely with John. I'm pretty good at power cleaning and still learning on the squat clean. My coach doesn't want me to do any power cleans at this point, for the reasons John mentions. I should have written that workout A was hang squat clean instead of power clean. Yesterday, part of the workout with my coach was just doing 40k hang squat cleans, getting lower and lower. I can power clean 95k so 40k shows just how much it's about technique.

Having said that, we started several months ago with the power cleans (or more correctly, "hang barely squatting cleans") in order to get the pulls right.

I have to say that compared to the official CF mantra of doing the Burgener workout until every move is perfect before doing any weight, I prefer my coach's approach. He tolerates some errors but works around them, and then comes back to them when the trainee is ready to learn. Of course, CF is designed for situations where there is no coach, and it would be dangerous to start everyone into heavier weights with only partially good form.

Yael Grauer
04-08-2007, 09:53 AM
Yeah, I'm just on the "whatever my coach tells me to do" plan. Since literally everything he's recommended has worked well so far and all of the women he trains have placed in nat'ls and I haven't, I'm not really interested in starting a debate with him about why he should change his progressions. I'm sure he has reasons (backed by experience) for everything... and he modifies everything for individual situations without people even realizing it.

Steve Shafley
04-08-2007, 02:30 PM
Well, if you're "high mileage", then maybe you have a limited number of squats in you per session.

Or, perhaps the ballistic nature of the full range lifts bothers your knees or hips.

Or, maybe your skill level on the classical lifts are small, but you want a higher loading.

I don't think there's all that much more benefit to the full lifts than the "power" versions for the vast majority of people.

I, myself, lean towards the camp where I feel the full, classical olympic lifts, while extraordinarily cool, also take a significant time to master, and need to be considered on with a cost-to-benefit ratio.

Elliot Royce
04-08-2007, 04:35 PM
"I, myself, lean towards the camp where I feel the full, classical olympic lifts, while extraordinarily cool, also take a significant time to master, and need to be considered on with a cost-to-benefit ratio."

I think you're right. When I first went to the coach, I was trying to get more explosive for hockey and also just develop the technique to do some of the WODs. Then the joys of O lifting hooked me (like John) and I realized that this could be a sport that I could do for years which would build power, strength and flexibility at the same time.

But if you are training to be a football, hockey or rugby player, I suspect it would be better to just do power cleans, presses and front/back squats.

-Ross Hunt
04-08-2007, 05:48 PM
There is always the split clean, too.

Steve Shafley
04-08-2007, 05:58 PM
Almost every submaster OLifter in Michigan is former powerlifter.

Ron Wilhelm
04-18-2007, 02:26 PM
Re: Power vs. squat clean, here's an except from an old post from Gary Valentine at
http://p080.ezboard.com/foldschoolstrengthtraining70757frm3.showMessage?to picID=134.topic

Racing to the Bottom by Gary Valentine Try this
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
While its certainly possible to learn power versions first then squat lifts, Ive had better success teaching squat versions first. Under the eye of a qualified coach each workout, the lifter will be instructed to pull properly, i.e, similarly to the squat versions. There should be no difference in the pull, whether power or squat style. In reality though, many beginners who train on their own resort to a back swing- heavy-single-thing which not only doesn't apply to squat lifts, but probably inhibits learning them when it becomes an ingrained motor pattern (I know this from experience!).

Gary Valentine
04-19-2007, 05:19 AM
ok, you dragged me into this one!:-)
yes i wrote that a while ago and its true. im lifting 28 years now and i believe this strongly, pun intended, that it is usually best to learn the sqaut versions first, for a few reasons. well really first, proper sqaut and pull positions should be learned first, then you can do whatever you want. tho you will fiind that the sqaut versions will have you handling 20-30% more than power versions, and are much more exercise in a shorter period of time - something most athletes that are training for another sport should welcome. i think of the full OL's as an acid test for the athletes squat and pull form, so if they cant sqaut clean, it tells me that something is wrong with either or both of those, and that is never desired.

thats really the key. proper sqaut and pull positions first. the overwhelmingly common problem is that either
a)people are unaware of proper positions when beginning to train, or
b) they are not flexible enough to get to those positions and if so are not strong enough in those positions to use them dynamically.

as to (a), as with myself when i started, i just grabbed it and hauled it up. having done heavy deadlifts with no training and being used to lifting with a rounded back, i just continued that into the clean. that was very dangerous, and as with any inneficient movement biomechanically, it reached a dead end as to the weight i could lift. fortunately, joe mills saw me in my first year and said "you keep doing that Valentino and you'll kill yourself. come to the club and i'll teach you how to lift". well i did. and come to think of it, last week, at 50 years old, i clean and jerked 156 kg, about 20 kg more than he saw me struggling to clean and missing the jerk with when i was 23.

as to b), this is very intersting. lack of flexiblitiy and the presence of muscular imbalances impedes proper form. in the last 10 years almost every lifter that has come to me has had the ridiculous "dont let the knees pass the toes while sqautting" garbage foul up their sqaut mechanics and ruin their flexibility. they quickly learn how tight they are, and that strength is joint angle specific, meaning they arent strong past the lowest point they were used to (above parralel), and are starting over again since they never worked that part of the muscle. many do not want to start over, and will claim that they "don't need" to learn those versions, or some other rationalization for poor biomechanics. struggling against yourself in poor biomechanical positions is very difficult, but that is not strength. that feels like your doing a lot, and yes the rpms are high and the wheels are spinning, but the car is not moving.

it doest matter what version you do, sqaut or power, the pull is exactly the same. but its not a power clean if you haul it up with your back in poor form. thats called hauling it up with your back in poor form. same for the lower back . they didnt get the strength from holding a neutral spine at the bottom of a sqaut, or the start position in the pull, since they were not sqautting full, or they were starting with a rounded back. so these muscles are not strong. simplyt film form the side and pause the camera clip in the critical position of the bar at the knees. if back is rounded and arms are bent there its over. now you can haul it up this way, but you likely cant sqaut clean it. thats why the sqaut clean is an acid test for a good pull. most see it backward and say they just dont need to sqaut clean. arrrgh. this together with poor posture that is common today, and muscular inbalances created form popular weight training programs that emphasize "mirror muscles". the partial movement of a barbell bench press, espescially when bounced off the chest , makes the already stronger internal rotators way out of balance with the external rotators - some of the muscles that keep you in position to pull and squat properly. that and lack of work for the external rotators makes for poor joint integrity, lower power output, and higher chance for injury. the answer is to forget the old positions as soon as possible, and gain the flexibiltiy and stength in the positions that are safest, develop the muscles and joints properly, and therefore give the highest results in power output over time - whatever sport you do. does anyone want to do that, once theyve spent lots of time working in another direction? unfortunately, not usually.

i really disagree with the statements that the lifts take too long to learn. ive never had an athlete take more than 5 workouts to learn both OL's fully from the ground and start progressing in weight. thats if he or she is a beginner with no preset motor patterns. the only time it takes longer if the athlete has to unlearn first. that can take months or years. doesnt matter tho. probly more important in that case, since the consequences of not learning the right form are more severe. and its going in the right direction that counts anyway.-g