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Old 08-20-2013, 10:28 PM   #1
Brandon Enos
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: California
Posts: 169
Default Not sure if I should try an olympic program

So I would say that 99.9% of my experience with the olympic lifts would be the power varieties. I wanted to try my hand at an olympic lifting cycle after my deload next week. Maybe at least the Catalyst beginner program.

I video taped myself doing the snatch and the clean today at the gym. I'm having trouble uploading them at the moment. I think my biggest problem with them is the bottom position. With the snatch, I THINK I may be getting down low enough, but the weight is very low because my overhead squat is weak. On the clean, I'm definitely catching it to high...which I don't get because I was lifting much less than both my power clean and my front squat.

I don't have access to a coach at the moment. I'm thinking a program with the full olympic lifts might be out. Maybe just a strength program with the power and front and overhead squats worked in? Maybe some technique work on the off days?

I'll try to get the videos uploaded if my phone and computer decide to cooperate.

Also, what do you think of this template? Glenn Pendlay spoke of it on a T-Nation interview a couple years ago. "My favorite split is squatting and pressing on Monday and Thursday. Then, on Tuesday and Saturday, we pull. That includes variations of the snatch and clean, as well as pull-ups and rows." I'm not sure of the exact layout, but I figured it looks more interesting than the basic upper/lower split or 5/3/1 (though I "technically" don't do 5/3/1 because I both dislike benching and it irritates my shoulder..but pushups and even weighted dips don't).

It may be moot, not sure if I'll have the time to do 4 days a week. I'll have to wait and see what my commute looks like on Tuesdays and Thursdays after the semester starts.
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Old 08-21-2013, 08:04 AM   #2
Keith Miller
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 145

The lifts will feel really weird and your overhead strength feels weak due to you not ever being in that position. Basically, you need to get lots of reps in with light enough weight and drop ALL power versions of the lifts. The clean problem is probably due to timing. If you've not really done full cleans, then your timing for pulling under the bar will not be right, that's why you're catching high. Plus, only power cleaning will teach you to catch high. Again, drop all power versions and get your timing down with the full lifts, then you can start back to some days using the power versions.

I like Pendlay's beginner program very well for this. Keeps strength moving in the right direction while working enough reps to drill technique without focusing on weight on the bar.
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Old 08-21-2013, 07:26 PM   #3
Brandon Enos
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: California
Posts: 169

I figured I should also add some to this..where I'm at, goals, etc.

Since I last posted here, except for last night of course, I have lost about 100 pounds. I have about 35 left to go, but woot...It's especially nice since I gained back a lot of weight after taking a nice trip down a flight of stairs and was unable to train for about half a year.

I'm no longer interested in powerlifting. Nor do I want to compete in olympic lifting, only wishing to do the lifts for their physical and athletic benefits. My goals now are:

1. Look good naked.
2. Be strong and fit enough to excel at my everyday activities and those that come up.

Like I said, no longer interested in competitive lifting on any level. The only athletic endeavors I am interested in regularly are occasional pickup games and a few snowboarding trips a year. Also have toyed with the idea of doing a tough mudder and my friend and I have talked about spending a month next summer on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Like I said, I still have about 35 pounds left to lose, but I haven't done a very serious strength training routine in awhile. I'm okay with working on that and allowing the pound loss to come to a crawl since I know that even if it is slow, the body comp changes will still be great.

So those are my goals. One concern I have is that with no coaching, I don't want to develop bad habits that will get me hurt when the weight with the full lifts gets heavier. I do plan to try to get to the Catalyst Athletics gym this winter, since it's not far from me, for the olympic lifting classes, but that won't be until like January.
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:30 PM   #4
Blake Barnes
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Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 706

It's tough to critique without a video. If you're uncomfortable in the bottom position, you need to do some exercises that isolate that position. A good start would be overhead squats and front squats. I would even suggest pausing in the bottom position for 2-3 seconds each rep.

Also, there may be some mobility issues that are causing that discomfort. For anyone who is brand new to the lifts, I highly recommend that they have a specialized weightlifting coach to help them get started. So if there is no way you can come in to Catalyst before January then just work on getting comfortable in the bottom position, work on mobility and flexibility along with your strength exercises and then we'll be glad to help you out when you come in.
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Old 08-24-2013, 06:22 AM   #5
Patrick Haskell
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 44

If those are your goals, I'd say there's no issue with sticking to the power versions. There are lots of worthwhile exercises in the world, and the power clean (when coupled with other less technical exercises) gets you much of the benefit of the oly lifts. However, there's defintely benefit to Blake's recommendations to working on OHS and FS and getting comfortable at the bottom. If you are strong in those positions, you'll also be stronger in other ways. If your goals change (say, you start downright admiring yourself in the mirror naked) and find that you want to work the oly lifts because they are fun, you'll be better prepared for it then. In the meantime, you can keep training hard, rather than practicing technique on the full lifts, which should help you meet your goals sooner.
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Old 08-25-2013, 03:16 PM   #6
Tamara Reynolds
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Posts: 94

I agree with what Patrick said. There are many benefits to the power versions of the lifts that may fit with your goals. It is possible to lift with great technique and move a substantial amount of weight using the power snatch and power clean.

Regardless, we want all of our lifters to have some minimum mobility skills, and that includes being able to overhead squat at least the empty bar. So, if that is a weakness of yours, then I would certainly address it.
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:35 AM   #7
Søren Wahlgren
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 9

I really like Glenn Pendlay's template and I wrote an article about it including a full program based on his suggestions and the Texas Method approach for strength.

http://HTFU.dk - about lifting
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Old 09-26-2013, 12:09 PM   #8
Tom Brown III
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Location: Western Massachusetts
Posts: 19

Hey Brandon,

Thanks for the post and great question.

I've only been lifting for a little over a year. And I'm mature, past my prime... fuck it just getting old. For me it's a matter of performing the lifts as clean and perfect as possible. Although I'm not likely to move mountains like Klokov or Ilya or Wang MingJuan I may move like them... with time. That's the thing for me.

I'm still living high on the beginners progression putting kg on my lifts every month. My flexibility seems to improve with every workout. Every time my hips explode into the bar and propel it just to that perfect point in space where apogee intersects with the only thing that would stop it from crashing down - me; I know everything is right. I did that. This system of mind, bone, sinew, flesh , neurons interceded to create a singular-contrary event. There is no feeling like it... better than sex and it lasts longer (at my age-kidding).

So what I'm saying, Brandon is do the lifts, learn them correctly and do them to full depth. You deserve no less. It's only a matter of patience and time before your body adapts to the new positions and movement. Patience is the hardest because, be it ego or pride, you will want to put more weight on the bar before you're ready. Resist this and take you time. You'll progress faster if you avoid a layoff due to an injury you incur due to hubris.

Finally, consider this excerpt from Charles Bukowski's "Roll the Dice"

"if you’re going to try,
go all the way.
there is no other feeling like
you will be alone with the gods
and the nights will flame with

do it, do it, do it.
do it.

all the way
all the way.

you will ride life straight to
perfect laughter, its
the only good fight
there is. "


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