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How to approach the Olympic Lifting Cycle

By Tim! Wells | In Blog, News | on June 26, 2019

Hi friends, your friendly neighborhood Tim here. Just wanted to take a minute to talk about the Olympic Lifting cycle that we’ve started. I know that before I started coaching, I liked knowing that what we were doing from day to day was all leading somewhere, that we were building towards an eventual goal.

During our Strength cycle, you got used to seeing the deadlift, back squat and shoulder press show up every week in one format or another. I was quite pleased with the results (aka the mad gainz y’all threw down towards the end there, amazing job). The Oly cycle will operate very similarly. You’ll see the clean, jerk and snatch show up every week, perhaps as a designated lifting day, perhaps prominently in a workout, or a beefy EMOM like we did on Monday.

One thing that you’ll see more of over the next few weeks are Accessory Lifts, like the Snatch Balance last week and the Jerk Balance on Monday. Oly lifts rely on a great deal of speed and explosive power. There are also a hell of a lot of moving parts. The purpose of the Accessory Lifts is to break down the movement and allow you to focus on a single part. Master the parts, master the whole.

It’s critical for us to really hammer home the fact that mastering an accessory lift does not mean that you can perform it heavy. Accessory days will hardly ever be about weight. I’d rather you hang out with an empty barbell and nail 15 perfect split jerk reverses in a row than load it up and barely make a heavy rep. Oly PRs are a result of improved speed, coordination, balance, power and yes, strength. Look at these Accessory days as an opportunity to work on your speed and coordination. Save the strength gains for Strength days.

You will, of course, see Strength days like we did on Tuesday with the paused front squat. In this case, the pause is going to help you develop strength and stability in the bottommost position of your clean, so you can expect to see them occasionally. Your ability to generate force out of a pause at the bottom of your squat will come in handy the next time you get pinned down by a heavy squat clean.

That’s all I really wanted to say. If you come to Oly days with a general understanding of the bigger picture, you should be able to make the most of your hour with us. If you don’t understand the bigger picture that day, ask your coach. They know what’s up and want to make sure you do too. Any questions? Use the Athlete’s Page to ask us things so that everyone can benefit from our answers. Remember friends: chase virtuous movement and the PRs will rain down upon you. Happy lifting!

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