When to start oly lifts

Can athletes with no lifting experience begin do oly lifts or should there be a base of basic lifting experience?


Maybe with more success!

Yes - providing loads are sub maximal.

I find lifting initially from the hang or from blocks to be an effective method of developing sound mechanics.

Too MUCH strength can actually be a handicap to learning technique (and can increase injury risk)…

I found that also, when trying to incorporate the clean into programs for athletes with years of lifting behind them. That’s why I abandonned the clean with Ben.

For someone attempting to slow learn the oly lifts on their own, would you recommend starting from the hang or blocks as the best starting point?

I remember reading some stuff about when Shane Hamman (a monster strong PL’er, 1000+ lb squat as I recall) made the switch to OL. They had him work with just the bar + light weights for months to ingrain technique.

the key thing, I think, is to have an otherwise strong athlete check their ego at the gym door: if they expect to be heaving around big weights in the OL’s prior to perfecting form, they will get hurt.


Why not teach explosive medball tosses and powerball snatch throws…then teach the catch instead of the release component. I like doing plenty of assisstant exercises such as shrugs and deads and link them together with athletic power training. This makes the teaching faster, safer, and doesn’t loose training time (playing with broomsticks).

Time training is the bigest indicator along with the ability to cue athletes.

Since workload isn’t really an issue in learning, only concentration and time, how many reps per session would you use in the learning process and how far into the warm-up? Can you give some examples?

Number of reps typically decreases as the technical requirement of the drill increases. Usually, I use 1 - 6 reps; 3 - 6 sets & 3 - 6 skills (= max 216 reps!)

The actual number depends on the individual: how quickly they master the movements etc.

I typically follow the standard ‘reverse chain’ teaching process but will on occassion deviate from it (i.e. when a lack of flexibility is preventing performance of a given exercise)

Fuzz - If you have them I would recommend blocks

Starting anytime is good. The sooner the better.

Just get SOLID technique ingrained and get them to strengthen if they are young lifters before going heavy. If they have had some experience in any form of training they don’t have to strengthen as much but they will need to do so still. Back, abs are important for solid lifts.

Squat often.


Thanks Guys! Your comments are always helpful.

Me being a rookie, I have a few more questions regarding your comments. :smiley:

When do you kow when an athletes stregnth is holding him back? Does he look too stiff? or is the athletes performance not improving?

Also on the age thing, I was looking throgh Tudor Bomba’s total training for young champions, and it seems that for the younger kids he uses exercies that clemson mentioned in this thread. But no mention of oly lifts for post puberty/adolescents kids. Should these types of lifts be avoided at this age or do you just go by the athletes stregnth?