#344 – Adding Olympic Lifting to Your Program

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How do we program the Olympic lifts if we want to add Olympic lifting or potentially compete in an Weightlifting meet?  Andrew, Matt, and Niki discuss how to add Olympic lifting to a more traditional program with a focus on the Big 4 lifts.

Andrew recommends adding the power variants first–usually the power clean.  The cleans can replace the volume deadlift slot and move to the first exercise of that day–before the intensity squat.  For the deadlift intensity slot, pull some of the volume from the volume slot into back off sets.

As a lifter progresses and she becomes more proficient at the lifts, her volume, frequency, and intensity of pulling from the Olympic lifts will all increase.  This means that deadlift pulling will have to decrease.

The way to think about this is as a budget.  There is only so much time and so much stress that an athlete can recover from.  The other aspect to this is that the Olympic lifts require practice, so there is a tradeoff between too much emphasis on practice without developing strength and not enough practice.

The other thing Andrew recommends is catching the bar where you pull it.  This means that for a light power clean, you might barely have to bend your knees.  As the weight gets heavier, you catch it lower and lower, eventually turning a power clean into a clean.

Finally, they discuss the mentality that weightlifting requires.  Weightlifting will involve missed reps and fluctuations of your daily capability.  If you pulled a grindy deadlift a few days ago or life has been particularly stressful and you’re not as recovered as you normally are, you can’t grind through an olympic lift–you simply don’t complete the lift.  Your daily 1RM–and the resultant percentages off that 1RM–will fluctuate more day-to-day than for the slow slifts because, again, you can’t grind through a heavy olympic lift.  This requires an understanding of long-term progress and an acceptance of missed reps and adjusting based off your capabilities that day.

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