I Hate Olympic Lifts







OK, the title above is far from the truth.  Olympic lifts (snatch, clean and jerk, etc.) are great but they are complex movements.  There are lots of benefits from cleans and presses and if you take the time to learn them and practice them they are great for a total body workout.  The amount of calories you burn and total body strength you get are some of the many benefits.    You can also modify these complex exercises or break them into parts to help your learning curve.  I’m writing this to empower you and help you realize what’s best for your health.   I have no bias toward specific types of exercises, only what is best for you, the client in front of me.

Questions to think about

Can you perform the movements with a dowel rod or broomstick?   Do you love the process of learning the technique, because it’s a skill to lift the bar? Have you looked at your ankle and shoulder ranges of motion to see if you can get the range you need with just the body itself?

How about bringing a buddy with you to lift so you can film and review your technique?   This might be extreme but everyone films everything these days and has to post it, so why not learn from your videos.    How many reps can you do with perfect form with a moderately challenging weight?   Can you break down the lift into stages?   If you’re doing a hang clean would dumbbells be better since your wrists hurt when you hold the bar on your collarbone?   What body part is your limiting factor? Will what you are doing destroy your knees?  Can you control the catch phase?  Can you do a vertical jump and land in the catch phase with just your bodyweight?

Control is always a focus no matter your exercise choice.  Some exercises might not be for you, period, are you ok with that? for example, what is the price you are paying when you kill your shoulders with a push press if because you can’t flex your arms up and over your head without the bar?  These are just questions and small tests to perform to help assure your ready for the awesome olympic lifts.

There is no perfect O lift for you but there maybe some that are better suited for your body type. So if you’re dedicated to O lifts do them and keep your form on point. When fatigue sets in and your form goes please decrease the weight. You only get one set of knees and one back so just be aware of that.   Being younger, your thought process may not be concerned with joints — it’s about pushing that weight.  Believe me, I was there at one point.  Don’t stop doing that exercise, just be aware and think about your body and how it is responding to the demands you are placing on it.

Suggestions:  have you heard of functional power exercises?   I’m not sure if I made it up or stole from someone, and who really cares about that, the point is you have options for power exercises besides Olympic lifts.   Your bodyweight can be used for power exercises or really any exercise and can be used for power.     Here are just a few examples to consider and play with if the O lifts aren’t your cup of tea.   Oh yea, and check out my YOUTUBE page for some videos on Functional Power Movements Made Easy.


  1. Range of Motion Speed Squats
  2. Down Pops
  3. Vertical Jumps Holds
  4. Vertical Jump No Holds
  5. Speed Lunges
  6. Sprinter Speed Lunges
  7. Shifts to Vertical Jumps
By | 2022-03-29T14:18:48+00:00 August 5th, 2017|