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I did Olympic weightlifting for 4 months with dream of becoming a competitive lifter but unfortunately had to move out of town and here I don't have access to any coach or even a proper gym for that matter. After 8 months of getting frustrated & sitting idle, I started StrongLifts 5x5 and following standard program:

Workout A: Squat, Bench Press, Barbell Row
Workout B: Squat, Overhead Press, Deadlift,

Training 3 days a week with a linear progression of 2.5kg and switching between A/B/A and B/A/B workouts every week.

I'll get back to my town and thus to Olympic Lifting in an year or so. Currently I'm 1 month into StrongLifts 5x5 and squatting body-weight (60kgs).

In this program, Deadlift takes care of lifting weight off the ground to knee level. Over Head press takes care of lifting weight from shoulder to over-head. What I think lacks, and even miss, in this program is lifting weight from knee-level to chest level (or even over-head) which is key component of Olympic lifting. Power Clean or Snatch or Clean and Press integrates all 3 segments of lifting into one good compound exercise with long range of motion. How can I integrate any of such exercises into this program?

To be quite honest I am really missing the rigor of training I had under coach. We used to train everyday, both morning & evening. Working just 3 days a week and that too 3 exercises per workout, seems quite lazy to me. Can I add any other exercises which will help me further in my Olympic lifting?

  • @DaveLiepmann: Oh I'm sorry, it came out wrong. I meant 3 exercises per workout. In total they are 5 exercises as you said. OHP is shoulder to over head and deadlift is ground to above knees. There is missing segment of lifting overknees to shoulder. Power Clean integrates all these 3 segments very well. I'm looking a way to integrate Power Cleans or Snatches into it. – claws Oct 18 '15 at 11:29
  • My mistake; communication has now occurred :) – Dave Liepmann Oct 18 '15 at 13:06
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If doing a program similar to StrongLifts is important to you, consider buying the Starting Strength book and following its program. It is similar to StrongLifts, but more detailed and includes the power clean.

Also consider following an Olympic-lifting-specific program, like something from Catalyst Athletics (see other resources from them) or the Glenn Pendlay beginner program. It's possible to lift more than 3 times a week. It's possible to do Olympic lifting as a focus or as a supplement to basic strength lifts. There's no need to restrict yourself.

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It seems that you either started too low on StrongLifts, or you are indeed a beginner based on continuing to make progress on the program. You'll only benefit from exhausting your beginner gains in a linear based program like this. You'll be able to go back much stronger for your Olympic lifts.

In the meantime, to avoid losing technical proficiency, I'd start warming up each day with some variation of the O-lifts. Even if they are not max effort (probably for the best at this point), you'll be able to focus on maintaining technique so that you don't have to relearn when you get back to your coach.

I'd personally do a snatch variation on non-deadlift days, and a clean variation on deadlift days. You could also add in some jerks after doing presses to help keep that technique strong as well.

Keep in mind that the variations of the o-lifts don't just include the full and power variations. There are also the hang positions from varying heights, block pulls, etc. Utilizing all of them (not all at once) will help you maintain, or improve, your lifting technique.

  • I started from 20 kgs on all exercises (as suggested by the program). Because I did nothing for 8 months, I didn't want to take any risk hence stuck to the program. – claws Oct 18 '15 at 17:36
  • @claws: The program also mentions that people who already have experience lifting can easily start at half of their 5rm. In the end it shouldn't matter. In response to your edit, I really think that warming up with technique work before doing your lifts for StrongLifts will work very well for you until you either get back to your coach or stall a few times. At that point you'll be in a better position to specialize. – Alex L Oct 19 '15 at 1:01

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