Strength before Oly?
Hi everyone, (very) new to the world of weightlifting but enjoying it so far. I have followed a basic linear progression strength program for the last few months but found myself attracted to the olympic lifts and decided to learn them with the aid of a coach.
My questions are:
1.) What would you guys do if you were a total noob who still has a ways to go in his linear progression and can still amass quite a bit of strength? Should I milk my basic strength program (Squats, deads, etc.) as far as it will go and just practice technique on the oly lifts or switch to an olympic program?
2.) Is it possible to program in a way that mixes the two to a certain degree? For example can I still squat, bench and deadlift and throw in snatches and c&j or is that verboten?
I don't think it is an either/or situation. I personally don't know any weightlifting clubs where lifters are just doing snatches and clean and jerks. Strength programming is part of every serious weightlifting program. Our lifters squat daily, and most pull daily as well. So, for new lifters, it is not uncommon for their strength and weightlifting numbers to both go up dramatically in the first several months of training.
Our typical workout would look like:
Snatch or C&J
Snatch or Clean Pull or RDL
Genearlly, lifters who have more than 2 hours to train would get through both snatch and clean and jerk in one session, and lifters who have less than 2 hours to train will just alternate each workout. Squats alone will take 45 minutes to maybe 1.5 hours depending on the lifter and the cycle.
Brand new lifters spend the first 3-6 weeks on snatches and squats, and then we add pulls and bodybuilding after the first few weeks.
As an aside, I would try to get rid of the notion of "linear progression" in your mind. It doesn't really work that way in strength training, and it's not going to work that way in weightlifting. Feeling like you should be progressing linearly will only lead to unnecessary frustration and unrealistic expectations.
Beginner lifters' first priority needs to be making sure their posture and body positions are correct (relative to the barbell). All beginner programs need to include different exercises that develop these proper positions. That being said, I wouldn't recommend doing ONLY Snatches and Clean & Jerks to become a better weightlifter.
So to answer your first question, I would start on a weightlifting program. You can still work in bench press, all weightlifting programs include Back/Front Squats and I suggest doing Clean/Snatch DLs instead of the traditional DLs or Sumo DLs.
Stick to one programs periodization method. In other words, don't try to continue your current strength program with another weightlifting program.
There are several programs on this site that have been proven successful for a lot of people. You can check them out here: http://www.catalystathletics.com/workouts/cycles.php
Don't try to jumble up a bunch of different programs. Find one and stick with it for a specified time period instead of having programming ADD.
Thanks for the responses, guys. Weightlifting is a whole different animal from what I was doing before. I'll find one program and stick to it. (I can relate to Tamara's description of program ADD all too well!) Thanks again for the help! I've only just started on my weightlifting journey but it's quite fun so far.
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