The Starting Strength Channel

Videos & Podcasts


The Olympic Weightlifting Episode | Starting Strength Radio #19

Mark Rippetoe | August 30, 2019

https://youtu.be/vKlFhojUEis transcript powered by Sonix—the best video to text transcription service

https://youtu.be/vKlFhojUEis was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your video to text in 2019.

Mark Rippetoe:
I am aware that there are Olympic weightlifting coaches, none of which are listening, of course, that are of the opinion that you don't deadlift if you're an Olympic lifter because deadlifting is pulling the bar slow and cleaning is pulling the bar fast. I don't know how to have a conversation with a person who thinks that the ability to produce sufficient force to deadlift 700 will slow down a 405 clean. I don't know what to say to you.

Mark Wulfe:
From The Aasgaard Company studios in beautiful Wichita Falls, Texas... From the finest mind in the modern fitness industry... The one true voice in the strength and conditioning profession... The most important podcast on the internet... Ladies and gentlemen... Starting Strength Radio.

Mark Rippetoe:
Thank you, Mark Wulfe. Welcome to Starting Strength Radio.

Mark Rippetoe:
I do a pretty good Mark Wulfe imitation, don't I? Isn't that interesting?

Mark Rippetoe:
How are you people? Good to have you back for our regular Friday episode of Starting Strength Radio. First, though, we need to visit the most popular segment of our podcast, which is...Comments from the haters!

Mark Rippetoe:
This one is in response to the how to deadlift, the rather long, informative how to deadlift video we just put up [In Depth on the Deadlift]. That was, by the way, shot at the grand opening of the Houston Starting Strength Gym. Starting Strength Houston is its name. Our franchise location in Houston. The place is beautiful. It's in a lovely little gentrified area west of downtown Houston. And I'd encourage you all to drop by and see what's going on. JD and Josh and Shelly and the Vanilla Gorilla are down there working their little asses off, trying to make this the best gym in the chain. Give them a shot.

Mark Rippetoe:
Chris Parades says, "Rip has a knack for creating an environment of sexual harassment. He's obviously learned to sublimate his rapist tendencies very well." If, Chris, if you only knew how thin the line is between me, between me coaching a female and me raping that female, that same female. It's a paper, paper thin boundary. Yeah. And ask Rusty. Rusty walks lightly around here.

[off-camera]:
Can't look at you in the eye now.

Mark Rippetoe:
No, you can't, can you. Rusty never drops the soap.

Mark Rippetoe:
Okay. This is Thomas Jefferson who quotes...who comments on YouTube, "From a room full of Texas fatties... while making a woman do the lift."

[Laughter] Making a woman do the lift.

[off-camera]:
What's he implying? Women can't lift?

Mark Rippetoe:
He's implying that women don't lift unless we make them... unless we Texans make them lift. It is sexist. It's racist. It's sexist. It's homophobic. It's white nationalism. It's all those things, right?

Mark Rippetoe:
"Rip's been wearing the same clothes for 30 years."

Mark Rippetoe:
Why be wasteful? You know? Just gratuitously change clothes...that's for... that's for women. Women and flaming homosexuals. Just to further the stereotype.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right? You guys change clothes every day? That's because they stink. I change my clothes when they stink. I just don't stink very bad. I don't stink very bad.

Mark Rippetoe:
"Hope you told..." I'm going to read this exactly like it's written because you're not gonna believe this. "Hope you told they stupid woman to stop lifting and destroying there" T-H-E-R-E :vaginas. Plenty leakage in later life pissing themselves cos" C-O-S "they thought they like men. Woman are really thick eh! Make me laugh stupid woman."

Mark Rippetoe:
Bottom 3 percent, I'm telling you. The bottom three of... The Baron & Rudi. Two people sent this. The Baron & Rudi. It was a collaborative effort apparently.

Mark Rippetoe:
Uncle Weenus predictably shows up. "This is not nearly gay enough to jerk off to. Rip show your fucking nipples."

Mark Rippetoe:
And that's comment from the haters! Our favorite little part of the show here. Oh, God almighty.

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. Just wanted to point out a couple of things to you people. We have a nutrition camp in Starting Strength Dallas, on September the 14th. That'll be Robert Santana. It's a one day camp. It's not much money. What is it? Two hundred dollars? Dallas wants two hundred dollars.

Mark Rippetoe:
The whole day you'll be talking to Robert. He'll be giving you specific recommendations about diet. Answering specific questions that you might have about this sort of thing and whether you need to lose weight, gain weight, maintain, change body composition. This is the kind of stuff he's going to deal with. And that'll be Saturday, September the 14th at Starting Strength Dallas.

Mark Rippetoe:
And the next month in October on October 12th and 13th here in Wichita Falls we're having the Nutrition and Rehab camp. And that will feature Robert Santana and Dr. Will Morris and Dr. Morris is a physical therapy - DPT - and he's coming in from Washington State and coming all the way down here for this camp.

Mark Rippetoe:
There are four or five physical therapists in existence that have a grasp of this material. Will is one of them and Will is very good. He works for the Army and he is... he's seen a lot of very exotic injuries and he knows his shit about rehab.

Mark Rippetoe:
And if you've got rehab issues, you've got injuries, you've got problems that you need to have addressed in a in a situation like this, one on one with Will Morris. This would be a beautiful opportunity to combine both the Nutrition and the Rehab camp. Now, this is a two day camp and it's here in Wichita Falls. It's October the 12th and 13th. You will benefit. Make your plans now.

Mark Rippetoe:
Okay. Today, we're going to look at a different thing than we've looked at before. We are going to talk about Olympic weightlifting, the sport of Olympic weightlifting. The snatch and the clean and jerk.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, this is something I've been dealing with professionally for about 30 years. I first went to what at the time was a week long coaching development course at the Olympic Training Center back in 1989. We stayed there for a week during the summer. This was when the organization was called the United States Weightlifting Federation and they hosted everybody there for a week. We stayed on the campus. We dealt with four or five very high level coaches and a bunch of high level athletes at the Olympic Training Center.

Mark Rippetoe:
And so that was my first formal credential that I obtained in Olympic weightlifting. I'd been dealing with the sport several years prior to that. Bill Starr was my coach and he was obviously an Olympic lifter back in the 60s, so I had had a lot of exposure to the lifts as well as through friends of mine that were also coached by Starr.

Mark Rippetoe:
Jim Mosher was a good friend of mine and remains a good friend of mine today. And I trained with him quite a bit. And we had... we'd had a long, productive relationship where we discussed a lot of stuff about the Olympic lifts.

Mark Rippetoe:
So I had quite a bit of exposure to the sport of Olympic weightlifting prior to that. Obtained that credential, which was at the time called the Level One - name of the credential's been changed several times since then- but at the time it was the level one credential and it was a fairly in-depth exposure to the process.

Mark Rippetoe:
As I continued coaching the lifts and dealing with Olympic weightlifters over time, I developed my own thoughts on the subject. And these are what I'm going to share with you today.

Mark Rippetoe:
Olympic weightlifting is a sport of force production. It is the display of strength quickly. And the reason that Olympic weightlifting is a display of power is because of the nature of the two lifts. The snatch and the clean and jerk all involve acceleration. So let's let's break this down and be pedantic about exactly what we're talking about here. So let's describe the clean in excruciating detail. All right. And I think if we examine it carefully, you'll see exactly what the situation is here.

Mark Rippetoe:
The clean involves a loaded barbell that starts on the floor. The barbell's pulled off the floor and caught in a position on top of the shoulders. And depending on how flexible the lifter is, that the rack position on top of the shoulders can look different. But in every case, the bar is sitting at some point on the meat of the deltoid. And this is necessary for the subsequent jerk to be accomplished.

Mark Rippetoe:
But the clean itself is a pull from the floor and it is a sub-maximal pull. A 1 rep max deadlift is a maximal pull, a one RM pull is a 1 rep max deadlift. A clean is a sub-maximal pull and a snatch is an even more sub-maximal pull. In other words, a max clean is not a maximum pull. A max snatch is not a maximum pull. Not at all.

Mark Rippetoe:
People clean various percentages of their deadlift. People clean even lower perc... people snatch even lower percentages of their deadlift because of the nature of the two lifts.

Mark Rippetoe:
A clean is happens when you accelerate the bar off the floor. The bar is sitting on the floor at zero velocity, all right. And in order for you to impart velocity to the bar, make it move upward, you're going to have to produce force against the bar. The force against the bar... if, for example, 405 is laying on the floor (not kilos), if 405 is laying on the floor, then in order to make it move upward, you have to exert a force of "406" in scare quotes on the bar. Okay.

Mark Rippetoe:
406 is shorthand for an amount of force greater than the force of gravity holding the bar down on the floor. So to get really pedantic 405 in pounds is a unit of force. That's a measurement of the amount of force that gravity is exerting on the load. A pound being a unit of force. A kilo is a unit of mass. A pound is a unit of force. So it really is more proper to say pounds than it is kilos in this in this discussion. Unit of force in the metric system is Newtons. But we're just going to say pounds because you and I all know what pounds are.

Mark Rippetoe:
Bar's laying on the floor. 405, all right. The earth is exerting 405 pounds of force against that mass of weight on the bar. In order for you to make it go up, you have to exert in excess of 405. And we're just going to call that number 406. If you exert 406 worth of force on 405 worth of force, then your 406 overcomes the 405 by a little bit. Now, how much? Well, not very much. OK. If you pull on 405 with 406, it's going to move off the floor very, very slowly. But it's important to understand that if you continue to apply 406 to 405, the bar will accelerate.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, velocity is the rate at which an object's position changes through space. Okay, miles per hour, meters per second is a term of velocity. And velocity also implies that we know the direction of the bar. In this case, it's up. So it is proper to talk about velocity.

Mark Rippetoe:
Acceleration is the change in velocity. If you apply 405 to 405 nothing actually happens to the bar. If you were to be able to measure the amount of force being applied by the bar on the floor, it would go down to zero, but no movement would take place. If you apply 406, on the other hand, 405, it will accelerate. In other words, from a velocity of zero, the load will achieve a positive number. A very small one, but nonetheless, motion starts. OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
Force is that which produces acceleration or motion. All right. So if the bar is not moving at all on the floor, if you apply 406 of force to it, then it moves. It moves upward. It moves upward very slowly, but it moves up. Furthermore, its velocity as it comes off the floor is a very low number, but if you continue to apply force in excess to that which it is being attracted by gravity, the velocity will will continue to increase. In other words, it will accelerate. And the acceleration - and this isn't entirely surprising - is going to be proportional to the amount of force applied to the load in excess of its weight, in excess of the amount of force gravity's applied to that.

Mark Rippetoe:
In other words, if you apply 406 to 405 the acceleration will be very slight and very gradual. If you apply 455 to 405, it will move off the ground faster and will increase in velocity faster. If you apply 600 to 405, you will be able to significantly accelerate the movement. You'll be able to significantly... significantly accelerate the load on the bar.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now let's back up and look at what a clean is. A clean is a bar that is accelerated off the floor through the range of motion during which you can pull on the bar. Pulling on the bar means applying force between your feet and your hands against the load on the bar. The pull lasts from where the bar breaks contact with the floor until the top part of the range of motion to the pull where you have to change the position of your feet in order to catch the bar on the shoulders.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now at the top of the pull, your arms will be straight. You will be slightly leaning back, your knees and hips will be in full extension. The momentum, which we'll talk about in a second, has carried you up onto your toes. And at that point you are going to depend on your ability to get under the bar to catch it on the shoulders.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, in order for this to take place, the barbell must continue on upward at the end of the pull for a distance that permit you to shift from your pull to the catch. The pull is on extended elbows, extended hips, extended knees, extended ankles, planter flexion and with a lean back into a shrug.

Mark Rippetoe:
All of these elements are featured at the top of the pull at the end of the range of motion of the pull. And if enough velocity has been imparted to the bar on the way up by the acceleration, then the load will possess the physical parameter known as momentum. Momentum is mass times velocity.

Mark Rippetoe:
In other words, if I take my car out from under the the carport over at the gym and I add back that car up at 1 mile an hour and I put it in neutral, then a person standing behind the car could lean into it and stop it because it possesses very little momentum, even though it weighs thirty nine hundred pounds.

Mark Rippetoe:
However, that same car out on Interstate 40 traveling a hundred and forty five miles an hour. This is how I drive on I-40. True story. That thirty-nine hundred pounds moving at one hundred and forty five miles an hour will vaporize your ass. And the difference is the velocity, the differences is the velocity.

Mark Rippetoe:
The faster the bar is moving at the top of the pull, the higher the bar will travel after the pull stops because there is a period of time between the stop of the pull at the top and the catch on the shoulders that the bar will continue upward based on the amount of velocity you have imparted to the load.

Mark Rippetoe:
This is the thing that gives you time to shift from the pull to the catch to get under the bar. And it is a function of the velocity of the bar and the load on the bar. The velocity of the the loaded bar, which is the momentum of the bar, is exactly and precisely a function of the amount of acceleration that you applied to the load and the amount of acceleration you applied to load is a function of your ability to produce force because force produces acceleration.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, this is high school physical science, right? The bar can't come off the floor without the prodution of force. The bar can't accelerate without the production of force. The bar has no momentum outside that which is produced by the acceleration and the subsequent velocity of the load at the top of the pull. The faster it's going, the higher it moves without being pulled after the pull stops and the more time you have to get under the bar.

Mark Rippetoe:
In other words, you can clean what you can rack. And you can rack what you can get under. And you can get under what you can accelerate. So, yes, boys and girls. Force production against the bar is extremely necessary for Olympic weightlifting. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
And the amount of force applied to 405 laying on the floor is going to be higher if you can deadlift 600 than it would be if you can deadlift 455.

Mark Rippetoe:
I am aware that there are Olympic weightlifting coaches, none of which are listening of course that are of the opinion that you don't deadlift if you're an Olympic lifter because deadlifting is pulling the bar slow and cleaning is pulling the bar fast.

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't know how to have a conversation with a person who thinks that the ability to produce sufficient force to deadlift 700 will slow down a 405 clean. I don't know what to say to you. All right. 700 is slow because it's real heavy, not because we are intentionally pulling it slow. But it should be obvious that if you can pull 700 off the floor slow, that it would be easier to pull 405 off the floor fast than if all you can pull off the floor is 455.

Mark Rippetoe:
Please tell me you understand this simple arithmetic. All right. This is physical science. 700 deadlift makes a 405 clean faster. Therefore, deadlifting is important to train for the practice of Olympic weightlifting. And we'll talk about these terms in a second.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, that's the clean. All right. In Olympic weightlifting, the most efficient way to clean a bar would be to squat down underneath it, because if you can squat down underneath it to rack it, you don't have to pull it as high and therefore can pull heavier weights that can't be pulled as high as, for example, a power clean. A power clean is caught at the top, must therefore be pulled over a longer range of motion.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, in general strength training, we use the power clean because we want to pull the bar over a long range motion because we're training a longer range of motion when we power clean than we are whom we squat clean. The full, squat clean referred to by Olympic lifters as the clean - it's understood that you're going to squat down - is a shorter pull than a powerfully. But the stronger we are, the more weight we can pull over the shorter distance too, right.

Mark Rippetoe:
This, again, is not complicated.

Mark Rippetoe:
A jerk, which is the last half of that two-part contested movement, the clean and jerk, is a bar that is accelerated off of the deltoids with a ground reaction between the hips and knees and the bar driven up overhead and then caught on straight, extended elbows after dropping under it to catch it. Okay.

Mark Rippetoe:
A legal jerk cannot be pressed out. So in other words, the thing must arrive in a position overhead that it can be caught on straight extended elbows. And then the recovery from the drop that straightens the elbows to catch the bar on straight elbows can be accomplished with either recovery from a split if the split is the method by which you're going to drop down under it or what's called a push jerk, where you just squat - squat jerk, push jerk, same thing - and then the recovery is just knee and hip extension.

Mark Rippetoe:
So the jerk is also an acceleration-based movement. Now in order to get the bar up over the head, there's going to be some interaction between the upper body and the and the barbell. It is a serious mistake to characterize a jerk as being optimally performed without any force, any pressing force, being applied to the bar between the shoulders and the lockout position. If the bar is going to go from shoulders to overhead, then the shoulders and elbows are going to have to flex and extend in order to produce this movement pattern. And if they can flex and extend while at the same time applying force to the barbell as it goes up, this is obviously mechanically more efficient than only relying on the ground reaction between the barbell and the hips and knees for that same amount of upward travel off the shoulders to the lockout position.

Mark Rippetoe:
In other words, an efficient jerk is going to have a pressed component to it, and that press component adds to the acceleration as the bar goes up. This is once again intuitively obvious if you'll get past the dogma that is being being taught nowadays.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, back in the day, back in the days of York, here in the United States, back in the days of the extremely strong lifters in the Soviet Union, the press was one of the contested lifts. And if you will look at Serge Redding's 502 clean and press on the internet - it's been viewed millions of times at this point if for no other reason than we have told you to do it. It is an amazing display of exactly what I'm talking about. Serge Redding takes 502 off the floor in an extremely matter of fact way. An astonishingly matter of fact way with this with a press grip, a close grip, closer than is useful for a clean and jerk. He takes he cleans it off the ground with a one bounce, absolutely effortless, what looks like a power clean, although it is a squat clean. It just... amazingly quick. And then takes a breath, lays back and drives the bar up overhead.

Mark Rippetoe:
That whole press took about, oh, I'd guess a second and a half. If that long, maybe a second, second and a quarter, we've all seen it multiple times. It's an amazingly explosive movement and our just drives up overhead to straight locked out elbows. He gets the down signal and drops in on the floor.

Mark Rippetoe:
I don't know how it's difficult to understand that a strong press would contribute to the overhead movement that the bar must make as it goes from your shoulders to your lockout position in a jerk. So that's the jerk again.

Mark Rippetoe:
Clean and the jerk are both dependent on acceleration. And because in the jerk as well, the transition from the drive upward to dropping under it to catch it is a period of the movement pattern where there is no force being applied to the bar. Both depend on momentum. Both are therefore dependent on velocity, which is dependent on acceleration, which is dependent on force production. The arithmetic here is simple and it's inescapable.

Mark Rippetoe:
A snatch is a similar acceleration problem, only the acceleration must occur over a longer range of motion because by definition, the snatch is pulled off the floor and is racked overhead on locked elbows in one movement. Now traditionally the snatch is performed with the wide grip. The wide grip facilitates a shorter range of motion by artificially shortening the length of the arms because of the angle between the shoulder and the hand that a wide grip permits.

Mark Rippetoe:
The wide grip shortens the range of motion by therefore shortening the effective length of the distance between the shoulder and the hand with a locked out elbow. And this... and this amounts to eight, 10, maybe 12 inches of reduction and range of motion. So the the snatch grip, the wide grip, is an important part of the execution of the snatch.

Mark Rippetoe:
But just like the clean, the snatch depends upon acceleration at the top of the pull because between the top of the pull and the rack overhead, no force is being applied to the bar. You are dropping under the bar. And in order to effectively do that, the bar must continue on upward under its momentum. The momentum that is the result of the velocity that you applied into the bar through acceleration from force production.

Mark Rippetoe:
So as it turns out, all three of these movements snatch the clean and the jerk depend on acceleration, which depends on force production, which depends on strength. It has become fashionable in Olympic weightlifting circles over the past twenty five or thirty years to regard Olympic weightlifting as a technique sport.

Mark Rippetoe:
It is a technique sport at the state meet. The Vermont state meet. You can regard as a technique sport if you want to. Even the Texas state meet is a technique thing where you can go down there and do 90 and 110 and not be embarrassed about everything. At the international level these numbers are inadequate, and I'll ask you to just do a simple calculation here. What is the difference between an 80 kilo snatch and a 200 kilo snatch? Do you really think it's technique?

Mark Rippetoe:
Come on, let's stop being stupid. Let's stop being defeatist. Let's stop placing thirty fifth at the Wprld's. OK. The difference between an 80 kilo snatch and a 200 kilo snatch is force production. It's strength.

Mark Rippetoe:
Why do you think Olympic weightlifters take steroids? For technique? Boys and girls, there aren't any technique steroids. Any athlete that's taking steroids for anything knows that strength is important to his sport. Baseball. Every sport where anybody has ever been caught doing steroids is dependent on force production.

Mark Rippetoe:
So why don't we just make our own minds that we're going to. We're going to increase our ability to produce force through training and stop pretending that this is a technique-dependent sport.

Mark Rippetoe:
It is technique dependent, but it is not technique-limited. It's not limited by technique. It's limited by force production.

Mark Rippetoe:
In other words, a man that can deadlift 700 pounds can snatch - if his technique is within 80 percent - 375 pounds. Whereas a man that can deadlift 400 pounds cannot snatch three hundred and seventy five pounds because he's not strong enough and it doesn't matter how good is technique is. OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
Olympic weightlifting, like a lot of other sports, is limited at the top of the performance by the ability to produce force against the load. And that is trainable. Now that we've explained the the basic physics of these movements, and hopefully we've convinced you that it's important to be strong for Olympic weightlifting. If we haven't convinced you of that, just turn this off because you're not going to like the rest of this either. Okay.

Mark Rippetoe:
Once we understand the physics of the snatch and clean & jerk, what we need to understand is how best to prepare for our performance in the snatch and a clean and jerk.

Mark Rippetoe:
Here at Starting Strength we have developed what we call the two factor model of sports performance. Now we've written about this extensively on the website and in the books, but just to refresh your memory about what we what we mean by this...

Mark Rippetoe:
Performance is... for again, in this context is the first, second, third attempts of the snatch and the clean & jerk at the meet. To prepare for the meet, which is -- we know when we enter the meet what day it is. It's in the point in the future. Here we are now. Six months from now, we're going to a meet. How do we prepare for this? All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
There are two factors that go into the preparation for the performance of a sports event. The first factor is training. What we call training. Training is a term we use specifically in this context to refer to the effects of accumulating over time of physiologic adaptation, that will improve the performance.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, when we're talking about Olympic weightlifting, we're talking about strength. We are going to start off where we are right now in terms of strength. And we know where we are and we have a rough idea that if nothing else, we know we need to be quite a bit stronger than we are right now at that day, six months in the future, where we will be expected to go on the platform and do three snatches and three clean & jerks with heavier weights than we're doing right now. Therefore, we understand that our force production capacity must improve in that period of time.

Mark Rippetoe:
Our force production capacity is the thing that allows us to accelerate the barbell off the floor. How do we get our force production capacity to go up? Well, we get stronger. And how do we get stronger? Do we get stronger by doing the snatch and the clean and jerk?

Mark Rippetoe:
Here's the here's the part that's hard to swallow for a lot of you: if you're not a novice, in fact, if you've been doing this any longer than about six months, you don't get stronger by doing the snatch and the clean and jerk because the snatch and the clean and jerk are technique dependent, but again, they are sub-maximal events in terms of force production. Force production must be very high, but it also must be very precise.

Mark Rippetoe:
And a snatch, a 300-pound snatch is not a heavy enough pull to strengthen the pull for a man that can snatch 300 pounds. It's a long pull. It must be accelerated. It's therefore very submaximal. Because remember, a max pull is a deadlift. A max pulls is a deadlift. A snatch is perhaps a fifty, fifty-five, sixty, maybe a sixty-two or three percent pull of the total amount you can deadlift. Therefore the snatch itself is light and it doesn't make you stronger for the pull.

Mark Rippetoe:
What makes you stronger for a pull? A deadlift. What makes you stronger for a deadlift? A squat. And the deadlift. The squat and the deadlift are how you get strong for doing a heavier snatch because the heavier snatch happens only if you're strong enough to accelerate the bar harder than you did previously. That's how the snatch goes up. More acceleration.

Mark Rippetoe:
And how does more acceleration happen? More acceleration happens through the production of more force. And how do you produce more force? You get stronger. How do you get stronger for the snatch?

Mark Rippetoe:
You deadlift heavier weights and you squat heavier weights and then you take that increased ability to produce force and you snatch with it and display that higher ability to produce force as the acceleration necessary to do a snatch.

Mark Rippetoe:
The same is true of a clean. How do you clean heavier weights? Well you accelerate heavier weights. And how do you accelerate heavier weights? Well, you pull heavier weights without an acceleration.

Mark Rippetoe:
In other words, who can clean more weight? A man with a 200 pound deadlift or a man with a 500 pound deadlift? Now, this is this is simple and easy to understand, isn't it? How can a man who can only deadlift 200 pounds, clean 250. He can't. Right. And how do we get him stronger? Well, we we train the deadlift.

Mark Rippetoe:
If we come to the gym and we add five pounds a workout to the deadlift for a period of time. And over that period of time, the man accumulates strength, he accumulates force production capacity. He accumulates over time, and through the programmed application of heavier and heavier loads, the ability to generate higher levels of force. And these higher levels of force enable him to accelerate the bar off the ground more effectively than he can if he's only able to produce lower amounts of force because acceleration is force production and acceleration is necessary for the physics of the clean and the snatch. Therefore, strength must be trained.

Mark Rippetoe:
We don't get strong accidentally. When we snatch and we clean, we get strong on purpose. When we deadlift and squat heavier and heavier weights by design intentionally, we don't accidentally get stronger. We require of ourselves a five pound increase in the deadlift every week or every workout or every month, depending on where you are and your level of training advancement. We require that of ourselves because we're training. We're not just fucking around in the gym. We are designing our workouts to produce higher levels of performance and training. The accumulation of the physiologic adaptation necessary for that performance is a thing we design into our training program over time.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now training is easy to understand. We've written about it quite a bit. I think it's intuitively obvious to you as well that the concept of training is not specific to power and strength sports. What happens when you train for a marathon? You intentionally affect your endurance capacity over a period of time so that you can produce lower and lower times in the twenty six point two miles. This is also training because you're specifically asking for a physiologic adaptation.

Mark Rippetoe:
But what about the other factor of the two factors? The other factor is skill. Now, skill is easy to understand in the context of Olympic weightlifting. The snatch and the clean & jerk are technical movement patterns. Deviations from optimum bar path of an inch are fatal in pulls. They can be overcome by an excess of force production capacity. In other words, the stronger you are, the less dependent you are on precision technique.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now this is an important thing to keep in mind. The stronger the the stronger you are, the more deviation from absolute efficiency you can tolerate. That's another reason why we want to be strong.

Mark Rippetoe:
But the snatch and the clean and jerk are famous for being very technical lifts. The bar path that must be generated must be relatively uniform. Every single pull needs to be about the same thing. Okay.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's a very critical thing to understand here. The Olympic lifts, the snatch and the clean and jerk, must be repeated over and over and over and over so that you, the lifter, get familiar with what to do. So your body gets familiar with what to do so that you can consciously concentrate on one aspect of the pull while reflex takes care of the rest of it.

Mark Rippetoe:
This allows you to correct errors. You can't correct for... 4 errors at one time. With the pullas long as it is in a snatch there is a lot of places in that pull where an error can take place. You have to have the ability to do the snatch as a reflex and enable yourself therefore to narrow down and focus on one aspect of the pull that you need to correct. And to do that, to embed that movement pattern as a reflex, it requires thousands of reps. It must be repeated with a high degree of accuracy and precision. Over and over and over.

Mark Rippetoe:
And when you are dependent on a sports performance, on a movement pattern that must be executed with a high degree of accuracy and precision, this is skill.

Mark Rippetoe:
This is what we mean by skill movements that are executed with a high degree of accuracy and precision. That's what skill is defined. And the activity that develops skill is what we call practice. It's different from training in that training is a general physiologic adaptation. You get stronger. Practice has to take place in the context of the performance, in the precise context of the performance.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I like to use the baseball analogy here because it's very easy to understand. If a professional baseball player is pitching, he is throwing the ball 60 foot six inches to the catcher's mitt. He's throwing a hundred and fifty five gram baseball, 60 foot six inches to the catcher's mitt. All right. This is a very specific set of circumstances that are performed at the performance at the baseball game.

Mark Rippetoe:
The man on the mound throws several dozen pitches, 60 foot six inches with a hundred and fifty five gram baseball at the same place at the end of the line, the catcher's mitt. Now the catcher can move the mitt. The pitcher may decide to throw a screwball or some other kind of weird ass pattern that he has practiced over and over that he knows he can execute. But he gets to the ability to execute this activity through tens of thousands of repetitions with a hundred and fifty five gram baseball thrown 60 feet, six inches.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, let's get clever here. OK, let's get clever and let's have him throw a 200 gram baseball. That'll make him stronger, right, because he's throwing a heavier baseball. That'll make him have to throw harder. Right. This apparently is the thinking. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you throw a 200 gram baseball, you are practicing throwing the baseball slower. Now, I don't think you want to throw the baseball slower. I don't think you want to alter the mechanics of the throw.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you throw too heavy a baseball, your shoulder, which is adapted to throw a hundred and fifty five gram baseball could very well get injured, can injure the rotator cuff during the deceleration. There's all kinds of mechanisms for injuring the shoulder by throwing a heavier baseball. So throwing a baseball is an example of something that must be practiced.

Mark Rippetoe:
And the practice, you can easily see, must be specific to the performance for it to constitute practice. Swinging a heavy bat is the same thing. You swing a heavy bat slower. Right. Seems to me as though swinging a baseball bat at a thrown ball that's moving 90 plus miles an hour is exquisitely dependent on timing. And if it is dependent on timing, what are you doing? Swinging a heavier bat when you're practicing? Swinging the bat slower? That doesn't sound like practice to me. What it sounds like to me is that you've confused training with practice.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you want to make the man stronger to swing his bat why don't you have the man squat and deadlift and make his whole body stronger so he can swing the bat harder? If you want to make the pitcher stronger, instead of having the pitcher throw a 50 gram heavier baseball - which 50 grams is not going to make anyone stronger, kiddos all right - why don't we have him press and bench press? And squat and deadlift so that the whole organism is stronger?

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, you know why I'm right? Because steroids. That's how you know I'm right.

Mark Rippetoe:
Baseball players have been caught using steroids, haven't they? I don't know if you're familiar with the pharmacology of steroids, but you're just going to have trust me when I tell you that there are no pitching steroids. There are no batting steroids. There are no rotational steroids. There are only steroids. And what do they do to make the whole baseball player stronger?

Mark Rippetoe:
So does the squat, the press, the bench, press and the deadlift. They make the whole player stronger. And in Olympic weightlifting, the squat, the deadlift, the press and the bench press make the whole lifter stronger, too, in a way that the terminal lifts in the performance - the snatch and the clean & jerk - cannot do. Okay.

Mark Rippetoe:
You cannot grind through a heavy snatch. It's either accelerated sufficiently to rack or not, but you can grind through a heavy squat, a heavy press, a heavy bench, a heavy deadlift, and access all of the higher threshold motor units that are not called into contraction during a snatch, clean or a jerk.

Mark Rippetoe:
You can make the whole thing stronger and that increased level of strength is then accessible for the display of the aspect of strength known as power. During the snatch and the clean and jerk power is displayed and power is a function of strength, and once again, who cleans a heavier barbell? A man with a 400 pound deadlift or a man with a 600 pound deadlift?

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, the man with a 600 pound deadlift can apply more force to the bar on the ground than a man with a 400 pound deadlift can. And how do we get from a 400 pound deadlift to a six hundred pound deadlift? Five pounds a week or five pounds every two weeks or five pounds every month or whatever it takes for that particular athlete's level of training advancement.

Mark Rippetoe:
In other words, we know how to make you stronger. So we're gonna train the Olympic lifter for strength. We're gonna train him for strength, just like we would train any other athlete for strength using the four movements that are the best at making you stronger. And those are the squat, the press, the bench, press and the deadlift. It doesn't matter that the squat, the press, the bench press, and deadlift don't look like the snatch or the clean and jerk.

Mark Rippetoe:
They don't have to look like the snatch or the clean and jerk to make you stronger for the snatch and the clean and jerk. They merely have to make you stronger because guess what? You're going to do you're going to practice the snatch and the clean and jerk as you're getting stronger by training, the squat, the press, the bench press and the deadlift. Okay?

Mark Rippetoe:
So practice for the Olympic lifts consists of the snatch and the clean & jerk. And training for the Olympic lifts consists of the squat, the press, the bench press and the deadlift, just like it does for everything else.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now another consideration for this discussion of training practice for the Olympic lifts is an interesting aspect of the mechanics of the snatch and the clean & jerk. As you go from a 50 percent snatch warm up to 60 percent - you go from 60 kilos laying on the floor, 50 kilos, wherever you are going to start - on up through the warm ups to 60 percent to 70 percent to 75 percent to 80 percent to 85 to 90 percent.

Mark Rippetoe:
You have all noticed if you've done this process, as you've all noticed, that 70 percent and 60 percent are different. And the difference is more than just the 10 kilos. Right. You've noticed that as you go from 60 to 70 percent, the pull feels different. And it does feel different because it is different as you go from 70 to 80 percent. It's not just a little heavier. It's a different mechanical problem.

Mark Rippetoe:
And here's why. The combined center of mass of the lifter barbell system is of importance here. The lifter has a center of mass. Center of mass of the lifter changes with the position lifter of the lifter off the floor. Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
We're all familiar with the center mass of the human situation. We understand that when you're standing there, it's in normal anatomical position. The center mass of the human body is a little bit in front of the sacrum in the middle of the pelvis. You're familiar with the fact that if you raise your hands over your head, you change the center of mass to a higher position, because the center mass is a calculation based on the position of the components of that mass center mass of spheres and the dead middle of the sphere center. Mass of a hollow ball is in the dead center of the hollow ball. Center mass of a circle is in the dead center of the circle.

Mark Rippetoe:
The center of mass of an object depends on size and shape of the object. Are the factors determined where the center mass of that object is as the lifter goes through the pull of, for example, snatch off the floor, the center of mass of the lifter changes position as he comes up off of the floor. So once hands are above the head, the center mass of the lifter's body is in a different position than the center of mass was as he started the pull at the floor.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now think about the other half of the system - the barbell. The barbell changes mass as it is loaded. Its center of mass remains in the middle of the bar, right in the middle of the center knurl of the bar. Its center of mass position does not change, but as the mass of the barbell changes, as you go from 60 to 70 to 80 to 85, 90 percent, then the center of mass of the lifter barbell system - the two part system comprised of you and your barbell - changes position all the way up because the heavier the barbell gets, the closer the center of mass of the combined system gets to the bar.

Mark Rippetoe:
To quote an extreme - to exaggerate the example- let's say you weigh 50 pounds and the bar weighs a thousand pounds. You can see that the combined center of mass of the you fifty pound [and] thousand barbell thousand pound barbell system is essentially the same thing as the barbell. Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you weigh 198 and a barbell weighs 300 at a hundred percent, then the barbell weighs only 150 at 50 percent. And the center of mass of the combined system is in a different place during the pull as the weight comes off the floor. The combined center mass of the lifter barbell system therefore changes as the weight on the bar goes up. And as the weight on the bar goes up and the combined center of mass of the lifter barbell system changes, you are solving a different mechanical problem with the pull every time the weight goes up.

Mark Rippetoe:
In other words, 60 percent and 85 percent are not only different in terms of the weight on the bar, they are different in terms of the mechanical analysis of the system and therefore the movement problem.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, thinking about it like that, what constitutes practice for a third attempt snatch on the platform? Do you understand that you cannot practice a third attempt snatch with a 70 percent weight because it's not the same movement? It's not the same pull.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you are going to practice for heavy PR snatches, then most of your practice is going to have to be north of 90 percent before it's even remotely applicable to the movement problem that you're going to have to solve on the third attempt at the meet. If you only hit a heavy snatch twice a year, my friend, you have not practiced. You have not practiced at all. This is why the Bulgarians and their interesting little method worked so well for people that can handle that level of stress. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
The Bulgarian method has you handling heavy snatches four days a week. You are therefore practicing as frequently as you have to practice for the task of a third attempt, PR snatch. But if you've never solved that mechanical problem but but twice a year you see the problem.

Mark Rippetoe:
You see why practice systems, our training, quote unquote, systems that assemble workouts out of assistance exercises, 70 percent off blocks for lots and lots of reps are not addressing the problem of PR.

Mark Rippetoe:
PR. The heavy snatches - more than you've ever snatched before - must be prepared for with both training and practice and practice for heavy Olympic lifts must be heavy Olympic lifts.

[off-camera]:
Even the people who aren't... who are not familiar with Olympic lifting, they see this all the time with the press, right? It's the same deal. Like you, you go to strengthlifting meet and everybody fails their third attempt press. A lot of people fail their second attempt press because they're not training it at that level where they where they should be. So it's kind of the same...it's along the same lines.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yes it is and it's good to point that out because the press of the three lifts in a strength meet is the most technical of the three. It is the least tolerant of deviation in bar path. It is essentially an Olympic lift in that it is - I know it's slow, but it's still extremely sensitive to technique. It must be practiced in practice.

Mark Rippetoe:
If... you can't do a PR third attempt press at a meet like you can PR third attempt deadlift. You can't do it if you haven't done your third attempt press at the gym a couple of times, you're probably not going to get it at the meet. All right. Because of this very thing. It's a mechanical problem that you have to solve. And every time the weight on the bar goes up, the mechanics of the movement change. And you have to practice those mechanics specifically because practice develops skills. Skill is that which is dependent on accuracy and precision. And a third attempt, heavy press is the very meaning of accuracy and precision. You can't just bull the thing up. It won't go. There are too many leaks in the kinetic chain. It's a delicate system. The thing won't tolerate a one inch deviation in bar path at all. Not even close to it. From second to third attempt press. If you're off an inch, it's a mess. Every single time.

Mark Rippetoe:
So. This. This this has to be understood in the... in the context of practice. See how useful this two factor model is in helping us determine exactly what we're trying to do to prepare for the performance? You understand this...

Mark Rippetoe:
The training is critical because the training prepares the physiology for the event. The training makes you stronger. The training improves endurance, whatever the event requires. The training is that which most effectively prepares the physiology for the event. All right.

Mark Rippetoe:
And the practice is that which most effectively prepares the skill for the event and in order for the practice to be actually practice. It must be specific to the event. You can't only do 70 percent snatches any more than you can prepare by throwing 200 gram baseballs. The practice must be specific to the event.

Mark Rippetoe:
If you understand the mechanics of the event, then practice defines itself. You have to practice those mechanics and they must be embedded and they must be reflexive, which means they must be done for thousands of reps over and over with precisely what you want to do with their performance.

Mark Rippetoe:
So I hope this. I hope this makes a difference in your understanding of how to prepare for Olympic weightlifting.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, what we'd like to do is give you a pointer here or two for how to get into Olympic weightlifting if you're training for strength right now. We're often asked about this.

Mark Rippetoe:
What if a guy comes into a strength program knowing upfront he wants to compete in Olympic weightlifting? What would I tell him to do?

Mark Rippetoe:
Well, what I would tell him to do is not going to be satisfactory to him because he's not going to want to hear this, but when I want to tell him to do is to not do the Olympic lifts for a couple of months. What I'm going to tell him to do is develop a strength base, get his squat from 135 up to 275, get his deadlift from from 155, 160, wherever he started, up to 315. I'm going to tell him to get his overhead strength up, get his press up from seventy five pounds to 135, get his bench press his general, upper body strength from 165 to two and a quarter. I'm going to tell him to invest initially in this training preparation, the strength preparation so that force production is up to the point where he can actually use that force production to more efficiently perform the snatch and the clean and jerk and therefore more effectively learn them early without having done so with bad habits and incorrect pulling mechanics that are just going to have to be sorted out later.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right now, the sport of weightlifting is littered with people who have never learned to keep a flat low back, some very high level lifters who never learned how to keep a flat low back because they started off with the Olympic lifts and not the deadlift.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now, this is a form problem. An unlocked soft, not soft, but imprecisely isometrically held lower back, produces form errors in both pull. Because a lot... an unlocked lower back does not transfer the same amount of force to the bar during each pull.

Mark Rippetoe:
One of the problems I noticed years ago in Olympic weightlifting coaching was the inability to pinpoint certain form errors. The bar would go one place at an 80 kilo snatch and the next 80 kilos snatch a different form error was evinced, was evidenced. And, you know... kid might throw the bar in three different directions on on three separate snatches with exactly the same weight.

Mark Rippetoe:
And what I finally figured out was if we would get the kid to learn how to lock his lower back in extension, that suddenly the snatch became more reproducible. And if there was an error, it became consistent and therefore easier to fix. But if different amounts of pull are getting to the bar every time, this is the result quite often of a less than locked lower back. And that kind of a problem arises when the kid learns the Olympic lifts without a strength base and without being taught to control his low back position.

Mark Rippetoe:
And we teach that thing in the deadlift. The deadlift must always be the precursor to the snatch and the clean & jerk. A correct pull off the floor is invaluable in being the starting point from which to execute a snatch and a clean & jerk. OK.

Mark Rippetoe:
So I'm going to I'm going to tell anybody who wants to do this that don't do the lifts for two or three months.

Mark Rippetoe:
And [then] the first thing we would start with is just like we start with everything else. We'd start with the power clean. Learn the mechanics of the throw and catch, the acceleration and the catch. Because it's basic to both the clean and the snatch. You throw the bar up and you catch it, you accelerate the bar up and you catch it. Right?

[off-camera]:
And arguably spending enough time... I mean, the power clean's going to be introduced real early, especially a guy who wants to be an Olympic lifter. I mean, you expect to start having him power clean a month, maybe even sooner into the program.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah. Yeah. Usually I say two or three months, but but.

[off-camera]:
Once they can pull the bar off the floor with a back...

Mark Rippetoe:
Once they can pull a deadlift off the floor with a flat back with a weight that's, you know, 15, 20 percent over their own bodyweight, they could probably start learning to clean, but not until then.

[off-camera]:
But but you're still setting them up for future...for the future...good practice for the Olympic lift by doing just the power clean. In other words there's no reason to do all this other shit when they're not strong enough. So the power clean is sufficient to also do the practice part of the two-factor initially.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yes it is because the power clean is also dependent - just like the snatch and the full squat clean - on accelerating the bar through the middle of the pull with a flat back. And the flat back is first enabled by a correct deadlift and then the power clean is added in so that we can apply the strength that we have acquired in the squat and the deadlift to an accelerated pull through the middle. Absolutely.

Mark Rippetoe:
And I you know, I would stray on the on the side of somebody that specifically wants to compete in Olympic weightlifting. I might go ahead and start that person out on the snatch after a month. But I still think we're going to do four weeks of deadlifts without without doing the snatch. Because the guy has got to learn how to hold his low back flat because it's a critical skill.

Mark Rippetoe:
And it's it's it's not just automatic. It's not as automatic as you think. I've encountered experienced lifters that were having that problem. And by that I mean guys had been lifting 3 or 4 years, been doing the Olympic lifts, going to meets 3 or 4 years that had never thought once about how to hold their lumbar in extension. That problem we solve every Saturday morning at our seminar. It's an it's an amazing thing that some very good athletes have never thought about their low back position.

Mark Rippetoe:
They're holding it there fairly steadily, accidentally. But if you give them the tool that enables them to block their lumbar spine and rigid extension and think about it and determine whether it's there and then train that position for strength, then you're handing them a way around a lot of form problems that are the result of having first learned the pull as the snatch or the clean. Because most Olympic lifting coaches are not particularly diligent about low back position in these little kids they are teaching how to do the snatch and the clean.

Mark Rippetoe:
I've watched them. I know this is true. And their response to this comment was it was an unnecessary. Yes, it is. Yes, it is. 14 year old boys are spazmoes. They are little fucking movement pattern problems on wheels and they depend on you to teach them how to hold, especially their low back, in the correct position during a pull. Don't assume they know how to do it. And don't assume that just because the kid performed a good clean that that's the best he can do. Because you can improve him if you'll teach him how to lock his lower back in extension.

Mark Rippetoe:
There are a couple of pretty good National lifters right now whose coaches have obviously never addressed this situation. And a month's worth of practice and training on this on this movement pattern and strengthening that particular position would immeasurably improve the reproducibility of their first, second, third attempt snatch and clean and jerks. But not my problem.

Mark Rippetoe:
My problem is to tell you how to do it. I'm telling you how to do it. We're not going to... we're not going to pull fast until we can deadlift strong and then we're going to introduce the power clean. The power clean is going to be the first thing, because it's all we need to do. It's the training wheels movement.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's the thing that doesn't require as much technical expertise as the squat version, but it's the thing that teaches you the concept of throwing the bar up, whipping the bar through the middle of the range of motion, imparting momentum to it and catching it effectively, quickly, and securely on the shoulders.

Mark Rippetoe:
You've got to learn how to rack the bar. You gotta learn how to rack the bar with a good elbow position later on. You've got to learn how to rack the bar with an elbow position that's going to permit an effective jerk, which will be done with lower elbows and not elevated elbows.

Mark Rippetoe:
It's not full shoulder flexion. Full shoulder flexion is not the position where the jerk comes off the shoulders in a position where the elbows can help drive the bar up. A lot of Olympic lifters have been taught to jerk with their elbows up in front of them.

Mark Rippetoe:
Look at every one of these people jerk and what you will see is that during the dip and drive, as they call it, they elbows drop down. If the elbows are going to drop now, why don't you just drop them down so that there's one less thing to do out of the bottom of of the jerk dip?

Mark Rippetoe:
All right. And then you power clean and you if you want to be an Olympic weightlifter, you're gonna have to learn how to rack your power cleans with lower elbows than you're going to use in a regular power clean for somebody that's only interested in doing the power clean for general strength and conditioning.

Mark Rippetoe:
You want to be an Olympic lifter, you've got to learn how to rack the clean in the jerk elbow position, which is lower because the lower the elbows are, the less drop the elbows have to engage in to drive the bar up over the head.

Mark Rippetoe:
And the jerk... And again, as we previously mentioned, don't be a dumb ass and assume there's not any pressing component to the jerk. There is. There should be. And if you'll train your press, you'll be a stronger jerker. Absolutely.

Mark Rippetoe:
Obviously, you have to learn how to harness that drive, but that's part of the movement pattern. And then I would add some probably the first thing after power cleans that I would add would be power snatches to learn how to apply that whipping motion to catching the bar it at lockout over the head instead of on the shoulders. These two are extremely related movements. Power clean and the power snatch can be learned fairly quickly together.

Mark Rippetoe:
Power clean for a person that wants to be an Olympic lifter, power snatches maybe two weeks later and there's plenty of opportunity to throw in the power snatch even into the early versions of the novice progression. We can alternate light pull day with power cleans and power snatches, or we could even add the power snatch - that's just not gonna be very heavy - to one of the other two workouts without any problems whatsoever.

Mark Rippetoe:
The third movement I would teach would be the jerk and I would teach the jerk after the power clean and I would teach it out of the rack like the press.

Mark Rippetoe:
I'd take it out of the rack, out of the rack, practice elbow position, get the idea of shoving the bar up and dropping under it and catching it on straight arms in bed.

Mark Rippetoe:
The idea that the jerk drop is a bounce instead of a dip and drive - which is a an ineffective way to perform the same movement - the faster the drop happens, the more rebound goes into the bar on the way back up, and the faster the bar leaves the shoulders and the faster the bar leaves the shoulders, the sooner you can begin the drive upward phase. You actually drive the bar past your eyes on with your pressing strength on a jerk, and that directly precedes the drop either through the split or the squat.

Mark Rippetoe:
And this movement pattern is sufficiently different from the pulls that you previously learned that some time is going to have to be spent on this. But I would probably - for a person that wants to be an Olympic lifter - I would probably have them jerking three months in out of the rack on on power clean day. And after I'd say even just stay with those movements separated like that for the duration of the novice phase.

Mark Rippetoe:
And then when we get to the end of the novice phase, early intermediate, we're going to start doing the clean and jerk as a separate exercise and the snatches of separate exercise. We will go probably to a four-day workout, some version of the Texas method or some version of the four-day split depending on your particular training situation, and incorporating the full versions of all these lifts.

Mark Rippetoe:
By then, we will have learned how to squat clean and squat snatch. We will be we be jerking all of our cleans.

[off-camera]:
And you learn you're learning the squat snatch and the squat clean when the weight gets heavy enough you just have to do it. And we've got the videos to show that progression.

Mark Rippetoe:
We've we've developed that progression on our on our video collection. Just look those up.

Mark Rippetoe:
What you'll find is that it's easier to squat under a heavier snatch and a heavier clean than it is the empty bar. Okay. It'll help you. So at first, we're not going to worry about squat because it's a fairly natural movement that you'll execute when you finally have to go under the bar.

Mark Rippetoe:
It'll take you a little while to learn that. But that's not the hard part of the pull. The hard part of the pull is the pull. The catching it overhead is not that big a deal. Once you have pulled it correctly and predictably.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now if you're one of these people that doesn't know how to pull the bar efficiently and the bar ends up with different amounts of backward momentum every time it reaches the overhead position, then you're going to have problems racking the snatch in the squat. You sure are, but that's a pull problem, not a rack problem.

Mark Rippetoe:
Now let's talk about the front squat. The front squat is a necessary movement pattern for Olympic weightlifters to train. OK. Olympic weightlifters are probably the only athletes that have to train the front squat because it leaves out the hamstrings and for other applications. It's not useful. I mean, why would you choose a version of the squat that leaves out the hamstrings? You wouldn't do that.

Mark Rippetoe:
But if you're an Olympic lifter, the front squat is how you get out of the bottom of the squat clean. So it has to be trained and has to be approached as a training movement. Right. This is something that is also going to be trained post novice because there's no better way to get a novices front squat up than to get his squat up.

So we're not going to worry about it at first. But after you get past the the point at which you're actually doing the squat clean, the squat snatch, the jerk out of the rack, and the clean and jerk in your training, you're also going to have to use a day for training the front squat.

Mark Rippetoe:
And by training I mean 5 pounds a workout, just like every other thing we train. It won't go up quite as fast as the squat. It may get down to two and a half pounds per workout before too long. But it must be trained. It must be done weekly. And it's another thing that an Olympic lifter, an Olympic lifter has to train that a person who's training for general strength and conditioning doesn't need to bother with.

Mark Rippetoe:
But remember, the front squat is training, ok. Practice on the application of the front squat comes when we practice the clean and jerk. Okay.

Mark Rippetoe:
So all of these things develop after the lifter switches from his the end of his novice progression into his intermediate phase.

[off-camera]:
So the next question is, is there... do you have... could you give like a general a general guideline for a late-intermediate or intermediate program? Like you have to squat twice a week. You have the PR your squat once a week. You have to deadlift heavy once a week. You have to bench heavy once a week. You have the press once a week.

Mark Rippetoe:
Right. All this is, is is dealt with in detail in Practical Programming, 3rdedition. But I would I would say that late intermediate, by the time your late intermediate, you are front squatting at least once a week, maybe twice a week. You're going to squat twice a week. You're going to deadlift at that point, probably once every two weeks. And you'd probably want to alternate the deadlift with the bench on a Saturday workout.

Mark Rippetoe:
All of this stuff must be trained. The press, the bench, press, the squat, the deadlift, the front squat. It all must be trained. And you're gonna have to figure out a way to work this in. And if you're an intermediate level lifter, that means that you're still making progress on a fairly close to weekly basis. All right. At this point.

[off-camera]:
But it has to be a planned PR.

Mark Rippetoe:
It has to be a planned PR.

[off-camera]:
Training does not mean just going and doing lifts.

Mark Rippetoe:
Training does not mean paying lip service to the deadlift on a Saturday. There must be - just like everybody else is training for everything else - the plan is to get stronger. And if you're just going to go in one day and squat as much as you want to, well, that's how we place thirty fifth in the World's every year for the past 30 years. Okay.

Mark Rippetoe:
That's not that's not training for strength. Yes, PRs are required because anything other than that is not training. And as you as an Olympic lifter have taken on the the the idea that you're going to get stronger in the snatch and the clean a jerk, and to do that, you've got to get stronger everywhere else, because everywhere else is what enables you to get stronger in the snatch and clean & jerk. It's a training process and you've got to commit yourself to it. This is not going to be easy. It's time consuming. But if that's what you want to do, this is what's involved. You're going to be in the gym a lot, but you're going to be driving yourself not only to apply yourself to heavy snatches and heavy, clean and jerks, but to pass on the strength movements that make progress on the snatch and the clean & jerk possible. Okay.

Mark Rippetoe:
So all of this stuff develops when we get toward the end of the novice phase and begin into the intermediate phase. And then after we get to the intermediate phase, shortly after we're doing all three of these movement patterns in correctly with full movements.

Mark Rippetoe:
I would enter a meet. I'd enter a meet and go ahead and get your feet wet. If you're an Olympic athlete and go do the lifts, go do the three attempts, snatches three, attempt clean and jerks and see what's going on and see if you've actually made the right decision.

Mark Rippetoe:
You'll find that there is an attitude in the warm up room in an Olympic meet that's a little different than the attitude in the warm up room at a power meet. Those of us that have been involved in both sports have noticed this for a long period of time. See if you can stand it.

[off-camera]:
Olympic lifters are the wrestlers of the barbells sports.

Mark Rippetoe:
Are they really? Wrestling's...

[off-camera]:
Weirdos.

Mark Rippetoe:
Weirdos keep to themselves. Never talk to each other.

[off-camera]:
Horribly introverted.

Mark Rippetoe:
Yeah. Yeah. Even if you can deal with the difference in the in the nature of the people in the sport, you might be a pretty good Olympic lifter, but you at any rate, you need to go see. So don't wait too long to enter a meet.

Mark Rippetoe:
By the same token, don't eat a meet the first day you start training. There's not any point in that. You're aways away from this. You don't need to go get humiliated the first time you go compete. But by the same token, you have to understand that the first time you go compete, you're not going to win.

Mark Rippetoe:
Don't wait till you know you're going to win to enter a meet. Because that's that's chicken shit. That's what we call chicken shit. Right.

Mark Rippetoe:
You got to pay your dues and getting your ass handed to you is part of your is part of your dues that you're paying. No reason to go before you're ready, but there's no reason to wait until after you're ready to go either. So go. Enter a meet.

Mark Rippetoe:
You're going to learn more about this on your own after these first steps that I've detailed for you. If you'll think about the sport in the way that I've that I've told you about today, I think you'll be better off in the long run in terms of being a successful Olympic lifter.

Mark Rippetoe:
This is a strength based approach to the Olympic lifts. It's not the most common approach in this country. It's certainly not unknown everywhere else. The Russians are famous for this approach. They're very good at this. And just remember, steroids means strong, but so does squat, press, bench, press and deadlift.

Mark Rippetoe:
Any other questions about this? Feel free to post it on the board at StartingStrength.com. Post it on my Q and A, anywhere else it seems appropriate to you.

Mark Rippetoe:
Good luck to you. This is a challenging thing you've assigned yourself to. And if we can help, we're here to help you.

Mark Rippetoe:
Thanks for watching. See you next time on Starting Strength Radio.

Quickly and accurately convert video to text with Sonix.

Sonix uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence to convert your be/vKlFhojUEis files to text.

Thousands of documentary filmmakers and journalists use Sonix to convert be/vKlFhojUEis file to srt or vtt to make their media content more accessible to the viewing public.

Sonix is the best online video transcription software in 2019—it's fast, easy, and affordable.

If you are looking for a great way to convert your be/vKlFhojUEis to text, try Sonix today.

Mark Rippetoe presents a logical approach to getting into Olympic weightlifting that involves getting strong first while learning and practicing the lifts.

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 01:37 Comments from the Haters!
  • 06:18 News & Upcoming Events
  • 08:22 Today's topic: Olympic Weightlifting (OL)
  • 08:37 Rip's OL background
  • 10:42 Nature of the Lifts
  • 18:32 - Clean
  • 26:58 - Jerk
  • 32:15 - Snatch
  • 33:15 OL as a Technique Sport
  • 37:53 Using the Two-Factor Model to develop OL
  • 44:42 - Training Strength
  • 46:20 - Practicing Skill
  • 57:41 Skill practice for heavy OL
  • 01:08:46 Starting OL - basic strength
  • 01:12:54 - Adding the power clean
  • 01:14:34 - Adding the power snatch
  • 01:20:55 - Adding the jerk
  • 01:22:28 - Squat lifts
  • 01:24:13 - Front squat
  • 01:26:15 Intermediate
  • 01:29:08 Enter a meet

Episode Resources

Discuss in Forums

Subscribe: YouTube   Audio feeds: RSS | iTunes | Google Podcasts




Starting Strength Weekly Report

Highlights from the StartingStrength Community. Browse archives.