OL in a hypertrophy phase

Having read the thread regarding Marion Jones’ strength training, it got me thinking with regards to cycling max strength phases with power and hypertrophy phases. I was then thinking more in depth about how I would lift in each of those phases, and then I became a little stcuk at would I would do regarding cleans during a hypertrophy phase.

Do I still keep them in the program?? In the past, I have just ‘done’ cleans, in differing volumes, so sets of 6 right down to RM1. I don’t really know if cleans can be used for hypertrophy however, due to it’s explosive nature, or the time phase placed on it. I’m not really sure why it is, but I can’t see cleans, or any Olympic lifts for that matter, being used for hypertrophy.


I have no problem with using cleans in a hypertrophy program or you could use the clean pull in sets of 5-7x5. Why alt all three phases, just curious?

If you are going to do higher reps. You can do various pulls up to 10 or so reps without any real breakdown of form-mid thigh pulls, clean grip shoulder shrugs-CGSS(using hips and legs to initiate the movement so it’s not just a shrug), and clean pulls.

You can do higher reps-up to 10 even if fairly light for exercises like power cleans and snatches IF you perform as cluster sets with good intra-set recovery of at least 10-15 seconds of rest between reps(if not more). Usually I don’t like the athletes do do olympic lifts(the power versions of the olympic lifts that is) for more than 3 reps unless as a cluster. I typically prefer to do more with the pulls in hypertrophy, though. They work well in that regard.

I wouldnt recommend during any ol or pull for 10reps, also i dont like the idea of pulling from mid thigh etc because during the hypertrophy phase the goal is to increase muscle mass and i feel pulling from the floor is better at achieving this goal vs pulling from mid thigh etc.

The first question to ask yourself is “where am I trying to increase mass?” Are you trying to build mass overall, or trying to focus on certain areas, like the posterior chain? If so, a concurrent approach might work well for you, using low rep explosive movements early in a training session to build/maintain power and strength, and then finish with more traditional bodybuilding style lifts, with increased reps and volume, to stimulate hypertrophy in the specific areas you want to grow.

Sounds like westside to me.

I have done them for years-they have worked well. As long as the athlete can hold form/technique, in my experience, there’s no problem.

I’m typically not that big of a fan of the olympic lifts for higher reps than 3 unless light and done as cluster sets but I don’t usually do them. For pulls(straight arm, not high pulls), I think the higher reps work fine.

Dr. Mike Stone has had athletes use pulls for high reps for many years.

For clean pulls vs. mid thigh, both can be done in the same session to elicit a hypertrophic effect.

I have always thought of the pulls from the floor as a remedial exercise to the pc and ps and sets of 5 has always done the job, i have never done more then 5 so i cant comment on during 10reps. For my beginner athletes i have always started them out with 3’s for the cleans and snatches and 5’s for the pulls.

If your technique is good and stable leave them out of the HY phase.

If your technique is not so good, work on that first in your workout and use other exercises for hypertrophy.

Also, not to be forgotten is the technical mastery of the lifts. Although an athlete may be going through a “mass” phase, practicing the lifts is very important to maintain one’s technique.
I don’t see the energy systems used in OL as in direct competition with mass lifts, so why not keep doing them - even at a reduced level…

I agree 100%.

Does it not follow that to a certain extent maximal strength is proportional to cross sectional area of a muscle fibre, therefore, when looking to progress, upto an extent, hypertrophy is a means of improvement?? That sounds like an interesting approach, much like the method sprinterouge commented on Vizciano using in Cuba.

I’m not entirely sure what you mean by that. Can you elaborate on what you mean by altering all three phases? Are you asking why they would be different? In terms of exercises used?

From you >“it got me thinking with regards to cycling max strength phases with power and hypertrophy phases”. What does this mean???

Sorry yeah, I didn’t type that very well. It was just meaning incorporating all three phases into a training plan at some point. So, for a given amount of time, you would be following a hypertrophy phase, followed by a given time on maximum strength, followed by a given time on power.

From what I have read hear, it looks like many favour cycling maximum strength and power phases. I assume, hypertrophy would only take place once a season. I could be wrong though.

I like the way Pfaff does lots of singles and doubles of Olympic lifts in the general prep to help get some of the development and complements some other high volume/lower intensity (like hypertrophy lifting) work.

Tamfb also mentioned using pulls and then working into the power movement, which seems to be a good idea as well.

How would ur strength and power phases look like?

To be honest, I am not really sure. My weights programme has very much followed what I was doing when doing sessions with Malcolm Arnold’s group, which was cleans, bench, squat. One session a week was a pyramid, 5,4,3,2 and the other was 3x6 at 75%. There is very little periodisation in his programme, and Linford’s was much the same. 3x10 one day, 5x5 another, 5,4,3,2,1 another, again the same three lifts, all year through! I have altered the exercises slightly, in that I use hang cleans more often than not now, often replace squats with deadlift due to my shoulder. I also incorporate RDLs and step ups. In terms of the rep ranges, I am very unsure.

Wow, shitty planning.

Not too sure if that is aimed directly at me, or the coaches I have been following. However, I am trying to learn regarding this aspect of training, so any input would be greatly appreciated.

What I was kind of thinking, was working off a 6 week hypertrophy block, using two sessions a week. I would use 3x10 as the rep range possibly down to 3x8 by the end. Day one would consist of Hang cleans, Deadlift, Squats, Bench. Day two would consist of Hang cleans, RDL, Step ups (possibly reduced reps-3x6 each leg), Bench. Then I was thinking of alternating 4 week max strength phases with 4 week power phases. The exercise set up would remain largely the same, but the rep range would drop to 3x6, gradually being reduced to 3x3. The power phase would see a slight increase in the numbers, so 3x6-8, but at a reduced intensity, say 80%.

I really don’t feel very sure about what I am planning on this, so any help is appreciated. How does that sound though? Due to other lifestyle factors, it is far easier for me to do two whole body workouts a week rather than a split routine. I have discussed this in another thread. My weekly plan looks something like: