Strength, Speed, Timing

Strength, Speed, Timing


Photo: Ivan Stoitsov. Bulgarian Olympic weight lifter. Watch Ivan Clean and Jerk 452 lbs!!


Olympic lifters spend decades on two lifts: The Snatch, and the Clean & Jerk. The amount of information on these two lifts is exhausting but what I have found are 3 concepts that are agreed upon across the best Oly training programs around.


It’s obvious that being strong is advantageous in the sport of Olympic Lifting. In the late 1970s the Soviets gathered data and found that their best lifters had best back squats that averaged 131% of their best cleans and jerk. As time passed there was anecdotal evidence that many of the top lifters in the world had even higher figures. Simply put being able to Squat 500 Pounds automatically places you at a higher bracket of lifters for your capacity to  Clean & Jerk more weight.


On a continuum of speed and strength, from fast lifts to the slow lifts, the Olympic barbell snatch is the worlds fastest lift. It is said the the worlds most powerful lifters receive the bar overhead from the ground in less than one second. Interesting point is that as load increases so does speed. Peak barbell velocity for successful lifts ranged from 2.35 m/sec (lightest weight) to 2.25 m/sec (heaviest weight). More speed equals increase power.


One of the hardest things to learn with the olympic lifts is timing. If the timing is off, more than likely peak loads will always remain low. This is evident in why novice olympic lifters can power clean more than they can squat clean. As depth increases during the squat clean or snatch, so do issues in timing. Learning how to drop under the bar at right time is crucial for success.


Want to learn more about these lifts? Join our workshop October 26 & 27th.

Olympic Lifting

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