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Old 12-21-2011, 11:42 AM   #1
Albert Bush
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Default Best oly lifting books for a beginner?

Just wondering if I could get some recommendations for the best books for a beginner looking to develop the oly lifts. I've been doing crossfit for a few months, but will likely move away from that to avoid injury and focus on getting stronger. I love the oly lifts and would like for those to be an integral aspect of my training.

My questions are as follows. Any suggestions or links to other relevant discussions would be much appreciated (I got tired of searching).

1) Would Greg's book be too much for someone who has only been introduced to the lifts through crossfit and only for a few months? I really don't want to try and run before I can crawl.
2) Which book would give me the best balance of technical instruction and programming. I am clueless in both, but especially the latter.
3) Would it be better to start with starting strength or 5-3-1? These seem to be more oriented to power lifting, although I realize that DL and squats will be integral to any training regimen I undertake. Plus, I really hate bench press (no idea if that's relevant, just throwing it out there).
4) If SS or 5-3-1 were the best ways to go, how would I incorporate oly lifts?

Ideally, I would follow the catalyst programming, except that I have no idea what a lot of movements are and am not sure I'll be able to get sufficient coaching to learn them properly. I will likely be working out at a Gayle Hatch affiliate gym, but my access to their coaches will be limited at best and I've been injured too much to trust anyone else around here.
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:02 PM   #2
Greg Everett
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1) I wrote it specifically to give complete beginners everything they needed to get started. The technical portions of the learning progression have little summaries to describe the drills if you're overwhelmed by the details, for example.

2) I think mine will, because again, the reason I wrote it in the first place is that I felt there wasn't a book on the market that addressed everything in one place and in a way that was accessible to even beginners.

3 & 4) 531 and SS have nothing to do with weightlifting--you'd end up having to completely rewrite the programs.

5) For learning the lifts, you might be more comfortable with my new DVD, which goes through the learning progressions in the book--most people are more visual learners. The drawback is that there is no programming information.
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Old 12-22-2011, 07:22 AM   #3
Blair Lowe
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3. No, you said you were interested in Olympic Weightlifting. SS 3rd edition covers the Power Clean and Snatch but does not cover the Jerk at all. I don't recall the new version of 5-3-1 covering any of the olympic lifts.

4. The power clean/snatch in SS is used only as an assistance exercise. Jim once stated in an old article on EliteFTS that olympic lifting at less than 80% of max never did much for him. He's also gone on record on Tnation that power cleans could be done before whatever strength lift and could be programmed with 531 but it's implied it's more of additional work to 531. In an interview with Rip he said doing an olympic lift was a good way to prime oneself for the strength lifts.

Long story short neither SS or 531 focuses on the Olympic Lifts and you stated that those are what you wanted to make them
Quote:
an integral aspect of my training
.

Dave Schmitz has gone on record that he likes 531 (and someone chimed in he uses it for his football players) but his olympic lifters don't and they don't use that formula for their strength work.
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Old 12-22-2011, 07:49 AM   #4
Albert Bush
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This is very helpful, so thanks to both of you for the responses.

Greg, I also appreciate the clarification on your book. It sounds like that is the best place for me to start. It looks like I will be doing 10-20 coaching sessions with the Hatch affiliate here, with follow-ons to continue refining my technique, so hopefully between that and your book I will develop a good sense for programming as well.

Blair, I understand your point on taking a more rounded approach to strength work, and I plan to incorporate DL, front squats and presses into my lifting workouts, as I really like those lifts. Hopefully I'll be able to incorporate other things as I learn and develop competency.

I can't believe I'm 36 and am just now beginning to learn how to really train properly. Not to mention the fact that it took me a badly herniated disc and two shoulder injuries to get here.
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Old 12-22-2011, 08:04 AM   #5
Pat McElhone
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I think Tommy Kono's Weightlifting, Olympic Style, is the best book for beginners. It is an easy read and he does a very good job explaining his version of teaching/doing the lifts and a basic training template.

I have the first edition of Greg's Book and the first DVD. I found the first edition to be very dense, almost too much information. Greg details everything and I had information overload the first few times I read it. I now use it as a reference and find it useful to go back an re-read parts of it.

Don McCauley's Power Trip, book was okay, an easy read, but I like Tommy Kono's first book better.

Dan John has a nice free weightlifting book, From the Ground Up, is a nice place to start.

Starting Strength has some good articles as does the CrossFit Journal stuff by Bill Starr. The CFJ olift videos down by Mike Burgener are worth the $25 annual fee.

Do not forget, there are many, many free articles all over the web about learning and programming the lifts. Pendlay's site and Sportivny Press are both excellent, free resources.
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:54 AM   #6
Matt Foreman
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I have to throw in a recommendation for my own book, Bones of Iron, which just went for sale on this site. Lots of stuff in there about programming, technique, finding the right volume level, which lifts to focus on and avoid. You should read Greg's book first, then mine (shameless plug).

A general word of advice is that if you're serious about the Olympic lifts, then you should try to find books that are more specific to that area. I own a copy of 5/3/1 and I liked it a lot. I recommend it to people who are interested in the power lifts mainly, but it doesn't have a lot of application to OL.
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:30 PM   #7
Blair Lowe
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Quote:
Blair, I understand your point on taking a more rounded approach to strength work, and I plan to incorporate DL, front squats and presses into my lifting workouts, as I really like those lifts. Hopefully I'll be able to incorporate other things as I learn and develop competency.
Umm, Albert, I'm pretty sure you misunderstood the point I was getting across. I stated what SS and 531 go over.

I only vaguely remember the strength programming in Greg's book. Not well enough offhand to comment on. But I'll come back to the point that Dave Schmitz out of CalStrength doesn't use 531 for his strength work for olympic lifters, rather something custom built for each of them.

I'm actually considering just scrapping Deadlifts mainly to focus on my 1st pull which sucks. We never did them in HighSchool for our Olympic work (He was a USAW L2, I think). Maybe during the first semester (football season), they just were not programmed. We did do lots of jump shrugs in snatch or clean grip. I never deadlifted until CrossFit in 2004-2007. Somewhere in there, and my squat was around 350 for reps in the early 2000s when I would just do the same programming I did in High School which consisted of the Olympic Lifts, Squat, Bench, and assistance work (pullups, dips, curls).
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Old 12-24-2011, 03:35 AM   #8
Gareth Rees
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert Bush View Post
Just wondering if I could get some recommendations for the best books for a beginner looking to develop the oly lifts. I've been doing crossfit for a few months, but will likely move away from that to avoid injury and focus on getting stronger. I love the oly lifts and would like for those to be an integral aspect of my training.

My questions are as follows. Any suggestions or links to other relevant discussions would be much appreciated (I got tired of searching).

1) Would Greg's book be too much for someone who has only been introduced to the lifts through crossfit and only for a few months? I really don't want to try and run before I can crawl.
2) Which book would give me the best balance of technical instruction and programming. I am clueless in both, but especially the latter.
3) Would it be better to start with starting strength or 5-3-1? These seem to be more oriented to power lifting, although I realize that DL and squats will be integral to any training regimen I undertake. Plus, I really hate bench press (no idea if that's relevant, just throwing it out there).
4) If SS or 5-3-1 were the best ways to go, how would I incorporate oly lifts?

Ideally, I would follow the catalyst programming, except that I have no idea what a lot of movements are and am not sure I'll be able to get sufficient coaching to learn them properly. I will likely be working out at a Gayle Hatch affiliate gym, but my access to their coaches will be limited at best and I've been injured too much to trust anyone else around here.
I have no idea of your level of knowledge, but I'll give you my 100% un-biased opinion based off of all of the books that I've read so far (which isn't many, but I started from knowing very little, and what I did 'know' mostly turned out to be wrong). This is not the order that I read them in, or the order of which book I believe is best, but the order that I believe would have taught me in the best order;
Coach Don McCauley - Power Trip
Greg Everett - Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches
Tommy Kono - Weightlifting, Olympic Style
Arthur Drechsler - The Weightlifting Encyclopedia: A Guide to World Class Performance

(I have also read Harvey Newton's - Explosive Lifting for Sports, but I genuinely would not recommend it. I did not think it was a good book, or correct in all honesty)

Again, in my unbiased opinion, if I were to recommend one book that is best of them all, I would not hesitate to say Greg's
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Old 12-28-2011, 06:03 PM   #9
Ben Glidewell
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I am new to oly lifting (6-8mos) and I just got Greg's book... my wife bought it for me for Christmas, but I have had a hard time putting it down and think it would be a great resource for lifters of all levels.
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