Sara doing an amazing job on her first clean session
Here are 3 tips when considering learning the Olympic Lifts:
1. Make sure you have a coach/are at a facility that teaches you to squat and pull BEFORE you begin regular training of the Olympic Lifts. Develop competency and a basic level of strength in the squat and deadlift first, then you can begin to look at the Olympic Lifts.
Learning to clean and snatch at the same time or before you have a basic level of experience in squatting, pulling and load bearing is like putting a 15 year old in a formula 1 race car to teach them to drive.
Unfortunately this is what many gyms do with their group class clients on a regular basis.
At best this results in total bastardization of the movements, very limited progress and frustration when you can’t lift very much weight and have to undo 2000 shitty reps that your coach let you perform over the course of all those WOD’s. At worst you get injured because you didn’t have the structural foundation or technique to do the lifts safely and correctly.
2. DON’T do a bunch of high repetition cleans, snatches or jerks over the course of a high intensity workout until you are GOOD at the lifts.
It can be a lot of fun to do mixed modal training (kettlebells, body weight exercises, barbell work and other implements and techniques mixed in one training session) and incorporate the Olympic Lifts. But don’t sabotage yourself by doing:
8 Rounds of:
15 Power Snatch
30 Double Unders
when you can’t Snatch correctly or just recently started your fitness journey at a new facility. Anyone that is telling you this is what you need or that this is a good idea in your first couple months of training DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING!
There are people around the world in functional fitness gyms that have been doing bad cleans and snatches repetitiously for years! And they still don’t do them correctly. Why? Because they were sold a one sized all solution from a coach with low competency who doesn’t know how/care to build a proper foundation first.
Think about this…
3. Make sure you do the most pointed work possible for your body and your goals. Lots of people who have paid good money for functional fitness are having their time wasted by having Olympic Lifting as a regular part of their training regimen. Maybe they shouldn’t be lifting at all due to mobility issues. Or perhaps there are much simpler things they can be doing that will help them achieve their goals faster. Maybe they really just need to power clean and that’s it. WHY ON EARTH that person is being told to squat snatch I have no idea. Get yourself a coach that knows the difference, can assess your individual needs/abilities and can think outside the “box”.
Olympic Lifting is awesome and can be very effective and fun to do. For the right person, at the right time, with the correct variations, in the right amount. Just make sure you get help from someone that can deliver more than:
75 Power Cleans
on your third week of class.