Olympic lifting complex

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    Chris Rombola

    I’m currently strength training four x per week on an upper/lower split.

    I’d like to add in two lighter weightlifting days for conditioning.

    Preferably one clean and jerk oriented day and one snatch oriented day.

    Micro cycle
    Upper one
    Lower one
    Weightlifting conditioning
    Upper two
    Lower two
    Weightlifting conditioning

    Can you please suggest what you think the most useful complexes and parameters for this would be?

    Thank you.

    Ryan Faehnle

    Can you be a bit more specific? When you say "conditioning" what are you looking to develop?

    I know Charles was not a big fan of using WL movements for creating fatigue resistance since it's a sport in and of itself and is very technically demanding (form breaks down as you get tired and do a lot of reps).

    Are you trying to get better at weightlifting movements or are you just trying to use the lifts to build lactic capacity / aerobic power / etc?

    Complexes can work, but I only recommend trying them if the client or athlete is very proficient at the Olympic lifts and the weight stays fairly light. Here is one that makes is way around the track and field circles for throwers. It's called the "British Circuit"

    10 Front Squat
    10 Power Snatch
    10 Back Squat
    10 Power Clean

    Do 2-4 rounds depending on how badly you want to empty the contents of your stomach.

    If you are looking to build alactic tolerance while still preserving technique you could try "on the minute" or EMOMs for your WL movements.

    Start a clock and at the top of every minute, do 1-3 reps of a weightlifting movement. The remainder of the minute is your rest. Can be done for anywhere between 10-60 minutes depending on your conditioning and skill level.

    Good luck!

    Chris Rombola

    Thanks for the suggestions!

    Simply, I started weightlifting 5 months ago with a coach, during which time, I continued my strength training as normal.

    I am not naturally very explosive. As I became more proficient in the Olympic lifts, the explosiveness transferred over to all of my normal lifts (deadlift, squat, bench, etc). I also saw almost overnight results in my traps and the thickness of my entire body.

    Weightlifting 3-4 days per week and strength training 4x per week worked short term; however, I burnt the candle on both ends and need time to recover.

    I am going back to my normal strength training, 4x per week, but in place of where I would normally do conditioning/recovery circuits, 2x per week, I would like to use the weightlifting.

    My goals are:

    1. Not to lose my technique (it took five months to go from suck to sub par lol)
    2. Keep building explosiveness/speed/strength
    3. Keep building my traps
    4. Have fun. The Olympic lifts rock.

    I thought if I used submaximal loads, I could somehow create a “conditioning session” that would give me some of the pros while not eating up too much recovery. Almost a potentiating workout that helps me perform better during my strength training vs. a workout that is going to drain my CNS.

    Maybe it can’t be done; I have a very high respect for Olympic lifting after trying it myself. I’ll never be competitive, so I aim to use what I can to better help me achieve my goals (strength/body composition).

    Ryan Faehnle

    Thanks for the update and the clarification. Okay, in looking at your goals and experience, I would absolutely NOT recommend doing "conditioning" complexes with the Olympic lifts.

    I think your best bet is to put Olympic lifts on your other lifting days, and use other means to develop your conditioning (assault bikes, rowers, ski ergs, sleds, battle ropes, etc).

    Since you want to build proficiency, just put the snatch or clean and jerk as the first lift on your 2 lower body days. If you wanted to, you could also put a VERY low volume of work in on your upper body days as well, keeping it light and focusing on technique (something like 3 sets of 2 @ 70%) or hitting different variations. If you manage your volume and intensity across the board, you can make this workable without burying yourself into the ground.

    Good luck!

    Jance Footit

    Chris, I am lost on your question because your thought process separates weightlifting and strength training. They are one in the same. I feel maybe you are referring to a more hypertrophy style of training. Honestly it sounds like you need to find someone who knows how to program effectively. You can still train the lifts while increasing technique yet not driving you into the dirt, and focus on accessory work for more strength gains. Look for variations you can do that are not so demanding, like jerks from the rack or hang power variations.
    Complexes are used to train work capacity in weightlifters, but that stays within their energy system demands and its definitely not the type of cardio most people think of, but believe me it will get your heart rate up just as much. Still, you shouldn't be doing complexes until you have decent form, otherwise you will end up using bad form very quickly and likely injuring yourself.

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