Comparison of Olympic Lifts

I am interested to know as a rough guideline the relationship in weight lifted for the following lifts:

  • Snatch Deadlift - Deadlift
  • Snatch Deadlift Shrug - Deadlift Shrug
  • Hang Snatch Shrug - Hang Power Shrug
  • Snatch High Pull - Clean Pull
  • Hang Snatch High Pull - Hang Clean Pull
  • Power Snatch - Power Clean
  • Hang Snatch - Hang Clean

Any rough relationships between exercises down columns ie Snatches or Cleans; or across rows ie between Hang Snatch and Hang Clean would be appreciated.

Use this:

Be aware that there is significant inter-individual variation. I can for example power clean 97% of my full clean (due to a lack of squatting strength). Limb lengths, technical proficiency, strength qualities (i.e. limit Vs RFD) etc are all factors affecting the ratios.

Damn I bench 255, this site says I should be squatting 450, I’m around 300 325 tops, no way can I clean 290, i do 185 200 tops. I must be doing something wrong. what do you think, maybe I’m coming down lower in the squats or I get scared to put more weight on.

I know there are so many variables but I’m after a very rough guideline.

Imagine it was a U21 Rugby side who have weight trained but not performed OL’s.

If they were performing 5 reps of each of the following lifts what would you start them with? ie an idividual could do 5 reps of 100kg for a snatch Deadlift what weight would you have them start:

Snatch Shrug - Snatch High Pull - Poewr Snatch - Hang Snatch

Any opinions ared welcome!

I would go with a hang snatch, although I am not a pro overhead guy, any attemps to stay away from that movement can be a more poisoning solution. Why are cleans not an option?

Being Rugby players I will certainly be using cleans rather than snatches, though for variety sake I may include snatch derivatives but would stop at Snatch or hang Snatch high pulls.

As far as programming goes I want to start with limit strength and progress along the force velocity curve to hang cleans.

Also I think this will also assist their technical development of the lifts. It is because of these progressions I would like guidelines of the relative weights between lifts.

Would you do the snatch work in season? As for limit strength numbers, what are you goals for the weaker athletes?

Gilman - do not attempt a ‘conversion’ of strength to power (especially in a sport like rugby). Look its not hard. Squat to develop max strength; Clean to develop RFD. ‘Tall’ players use hang derivative. Above all do not lift too close to max…

good point about tall athletes…(basketball mainly) but olympic lifts guys tend to be the same ratio…so a taller athlete will be the same structure…as for rugby all I am familar with is soccer and football.

Generally speaking the ratio between a “snatch-grip” exercise and the similar “clean-grip” exercise is between 75-80% (meaning, for example that you should power snatch 75-80% of what you can power clean).

HOWEVER consider the following:

  1. The ratio can vary if you are more efficient in one type of movement. For example a lot of athlete include power cleans in their training, but few include power snatches. These individuals might not be able to power snatch 75-80% of what they can power clean. I train many hockey players who can power clean 110-125kg rather easily (two are above 130kg) but can only manage around 70-80kg on their power snatches … this comes up to 53 - 72%!

On the other hand I train a football player who been doing a lot of snatches and he can power snatch 85kg and full squat snatch 97.5kg (he’s 16 years old and under 91kg) yet he only power cleans 105kg and squat clean 120kg for ratios of 81% for the power lifts and 81.25 for the squat lifts.

  1. A ratio is hard to establish for a pull. Why? Because you need to standardize the pulling height. You can use very heavy weights in the clean pull; but did you lift it high enough or fast enough? How can you compare two clean pulls if one was not pulled as high as the other? The best way to do pulls is what’s called “targeted pulls”. Do a search for it, Charles Staley wrote a good article about it.

Generally speaking if you pull with more than 10% over what you can do in the corresponding olympic lift, you are using too much weight. That means, for example, that if you can clean 150kg, you shouldn’t use more than 165kg on your pulls. If you use too much weight you will not pull the bar high enough and the motor pattern will be different than during a clean.

  1. Some peoples have better levers for certain types of exercises. So ratios between different exercises are pretty moot.

  2. As David explained, depending on the capacities of a lifter, the ratio between various lifts will differ. I am personally what we call a brachiomorph: I have short legs, short arms and a long torso. This makes me a very good squatter, but a lousy puller. Some other guys will be more of a dolichomorph body type: long legs, long arms, short torso and will be naturally good pullers but will always have problems with the squat.

I think that all clarifies it very well.

Gilman PMed me this question. I decided to post it on the forum as it may spark some discussion and help some peoples.

What differences would there be between block (what level should the block height be relative to the knee) and Hang.

Many thanks,

That is a great question! In a perfect world there would be no difference between both.

However the reality is sometimes different … some peoples are stronger from the hang others from blocks while some more are even.

So this led to the development of a little testing procedure I use:

  1. Test the athlete’s best power snatch/clean from the hang (doesn’t need to be a 1RM, can be a 2 or 3RM)

  2. Test the athlete’s best power snatch/clean from blocks (doesn’t have to be a 1RM…)

  3. Compare both results. If …

A) The athlete lifts LESS FROM THE HANG than from blocks it could very possibly indicate that the athlete either lacks eccentric strength, reversal strength (switching from eccentric to concentric) or has weak postural muscles.

B) The athlete lifts LESS FROM BLOCKS than from the hang it could very possibly indicate a low level of starting-strength or explosive strength.

We can make these assumptions because:

I. Lifts from the hang include a pre-stretch and an eccentric portion preceding the concentric (lifting) portion while lifts from the blocks doesn’t.

II. Lifts from the hang needs you to hold the bar in the proper starting position while in lifts from the blocks there is little muscle effort in this position.

III. Lifts from blocks don’t start with a pre-stretch or eccentric action, so the explosive and starting concentric strength must be very high.

However I must say that this test is not 100% perfect. A lot of peoples actually use a slightly different technique/motor pattern when doing lifts from the hang than when doing them from blocks, so you have to make sure that both pulling techniques are similar before passing any judgement.

What are the solutions?

  1. If the athlete lacks eccentric strength:
  • Negative deadlifts (110-120% taken from blocks and lowered to the floor in 5 seconds)

  • Altitude landing (dropping off of a 0.7 - 1.2m box, land on the gorund, on your feet in the pulling position in the lifts from the hang and STICK THE LANDING)

  • Superslow eccentrics: Use 70-80% of your max squat and lower it in 8-10 seconds before lifting explosively (generally done in sets of 2-3 reps)

  • Yessis isometric action training: Use around 70% of your max squat, go down a few inches, pause for 2 seconds, go down another 2-3 inches and pause for 2 seconds … repeat until you reach the full squat position then lift the bar as fast as you can

  1. If the athlete lacks reversal strength:
  • Depth jumps (from a height of 0.5 to 0.7m for 3 sets of 10 reps, two times per week)

  • Jump squat series (using 10-20% of your max squat, dip into a quarter squat and immediately jump up with the barbell. Immediately as you land you jump again, etc.)

  • Hurdle jumps/knee tuck jumps

  • Squats with Jumpstretch elastic bands: The bands actually try to blast down the bar faster than gravity, leading to a kinetic energy build-up (but the eccentric portion must be done relatively fast).

  1. If the athlete has weak postural muscles (in our case the obliques, erector spinea, rhomboids, hamstrings and calves) you must place an important emphasis on increasing the strength of these muscles.

  2. If the athlete lacks starting strength and explosive strength

  • Iso-ballistic jump squats: using 10-15% of your max squat, dip down into a quarter squat, hold for 3-5 seconds and jumo up as high as possible.

  • Sit jumps: You sit on a box (the height is such that the knees are bent at a 90 degrees angle). Without taking any swing or preparatory movement jump up and back so that you land feet on the box.

  • Isomiometric squat: using 75-80% of your max squat, squat down 2" above your normal squat depth, pause for 2-4 seconds and squat back up.

That calc is surprisingly accurate at least for me :slight_smile:
Cool stuff!
The bench is way off though by over 100 pounds.

Christian Thibaudeau,

     Thank you for that informative post; I'm copying that one down.

David W.,

      I would appreciate it if you would elaborate on this: Why should tall players use hang variations more than shorter players should?
      I am fairly tall (~6'), and I have somewhat long arms and legs and a pretty short torso; does this mean that I should do more hang variations in my training?

Whatever you do make sure you’re not doing snatch work in season. Especially a contact sport because you will mess up your shoulders big time.

It’ s important to recognize when looking at these charts where they come from. Usually they are copied from all the old russian texts.
These numbers are averages from competitive lifters.

The typically low prediction for the outcome in the bench press is an artifact of how Weightlifters train not an indication, necessarity, that your squat is too weak.

Generally speaking, a competitive lifter is more likely to have a lower squat to clean ratio than an athlete from another sport. One reason is that they’ll usually have better technique. Another reason is that they usually squat to a lower depth than most athletes in other sports.

So always take these recomended ratio’s with a grain of salt.

Alex Power