Olympic Weight Lifting Program

Whatever your goal is when it comes to weight lifting; whether it’s adding mass to your shoulders or onto each end of a bar, there is one thing that everyone in the weightlifting community agrees is essential: Go heavy or go home. And when it comes to lifting big-ass weights there is nobody that goes heavier than Olympic Weight Lifters. Knowing this makes it essential for anyone that wishes to increase their power to turn their regular program into an Olympic Weight Lifting Program by adding the lifts mentioned in this article.

These elite athletes have a strict lifting program that allows them to compete and the highest levels, pushing the extremes of what is thought to be possible. In this article I shall reveal the secrets of the Olympic weight lifting program and also the ways in which someone might make their first steps towards completing these extremely complex lifts.

“Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.” – Mark Rippetoe


The Competition.

There are two competition lifts, the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. Each Athlete has three attempts at each lift. Starting with the Snatch and then finishing with the Clean & Jerk. The total of the two highest lifts determines the athlete’s overall results. The competition is split into eight male and female weight categories, ranging between 56kg and 105kg+ for the mens and between 48kg and 90kg+ for the women.

Men's weight classesWomen's weight classes
56 kg (123 lb)48 kg (106 lb)
62 kg (137 lb)53 kg (117 lb)
69 kg (152 lb)58 kg (128 lb)
77 kg (170 lb)63 kg (139 lb)
85 kg (187 lb)69 kg (152 lb)
94 kg (207 lb)75 kg (165 lb)
105 kg (231 lb)90 kg (198 lb)
105 kg and over (231 lb+)90 kg and over (198 lb+)
“I am the opposite to traditional Olympic Weightlifting, I usually Jerk before I clean.” – Nelson Mandela

The Olympic Weight Lifting Program.

So you are probably wondering what kind of Olympic weight lifting program can a newbie like me follow to reach the power, technique and strength needed to do these technically complex lifts.

The Lifts.

So my first piece of advice would be to learn the Snatch first, before the Clean & Jerk. As the Snatch is more complex, and they use a lot of the same pulling movements. So when you have the Snatch down the Clean and Jerk should be a piece of cake.

The second piece of advise Ill give is to break each movement down into as many movements as possible. This is the best way to learn these lifts as they are very complex lifts compared to your standard compound lifts.

Finally, no matter how long you have been going to the gym and how much you can Bench, this applies to everyone. When you start off, you will be performing these broken down versions of the lifts with no weight on the bar, just for the first few weeks. These lifts require very explosive movements which may be applied to your regular lifts, so it is much safer and effective for your progress later on to unload the bar until you are confident you can perform these lifts with correct form.

“Form is temporary, a broken back is forever.”

The Snatch

So here is the Snatch broken down by a great YouTube channel:

Clean & Jerk

Here is the break-down of the Clean & Jerk:

The Program

The Program that I am going to recommend is going to vary on your progress. I advise that you dedicate a day to practice one of the lifts, for 20 minutes, on top of your usual routine. So if Monday is Chest day it is now Chest and Snatch day and if Wednesday is Leg day it is now Leg and Clean & Jerk day. Do this until you are happy that you can perform each of the lifts proper, then at this stage you’ll have an idea of how many reps you can do, but I recommend sticking to low reps for the mean time using reps x sets of 5×5.

Thats it! You now have all the information that you need to start to learn and do these magnificent lifts.