Monday, September 21, 2020

How to Train Progressively on the Three Olympic Lifts - Charles Coster (1957)


Courtesy of Liam Tweed

What applies to Olympic lifting can seriously be looked at by strength athletes involved in other disciplines.

In this article:
 - Streamline your workouts.
 - Correct order means faster progress.
 - Avoid duplication.
 - Start heavy, finish light.
 - Progressive training means EVERYTHING. 

In this article we shall not tell you how to train on specific lifts, but will bring to your attention certain important methods of training upon which all successful Olympic lifting workouts depend.

We do not wish to interfere with your present pressing, snatching, and cleaning & jerking routines. All of these may be going perfectly well with no assistance needed from us. However, you can have the most perfectly contrived workout schedule, yet fail to get the best results from it if you don't learn the science of PLANNED TRAINING ECONOMY . . . if you don't learn to CONSERVE TIME, AVOID UNNECESSARY DUPLICATION and to PLUG MANY OTHER LEAKS. 

Let's pinpoint the most common training faults and find the cure for them. 
First on the list would be OVER-ENTHUSIASM.  

The average lifter just wants to do EVERYTHING in one workout. Over-enthusiasm blinds the trainer to many things that might help him progress more efficiently.

For instance, if he insists on performing all three Olympic lifts at each workout, then then there are three golden rules for training which he should observe from now on: 

1) Don't begin your workout by using up all your strength and energy on a slow MUSCULAR movement like the Press. You'll severely handicap yourself if you do. 
2) Don't expect to get the best out of yourself on a fast lift like the Snatch after you've slowed up the shoulder muscles with a deliberate lift like the Press. The Snatch demands a great output of nervous energy and as much freedom of movement as possible.

3) Don't place the Clean & Jerk last in your workouts. The C&J is equal to TWO HEAVY LIFTS IN ONE. It calls for the GREATEST attention you can give it while you are fresh, strong and full of energy. This type of lift should be your first lift, not the last. 

Real progress can be achieved only if you realize that there are FOUR lifts you must train for . . . not three, for the Clean & Jerk - comprising two separate lifts - must be trained separately while your strength and energy are at a peak . . . not when they have diminished. 
Our suggestion for conserving vital strength and energy while training for this dual lift is to make use of boxes or the power rack. As we have said so often, "It's no use cleaning heavy weights in competition if you can't succeed with the Jerk." 
Then, when you are thoroughly satisfied that your Jerk routine has been well performed, you are free to tackle the next lift . . . the Two Hands Clean, which is the foundation stone of all Olympic lifting totals.
The Jerks you have just completed will not have taken up more than 20-30 minutes of your workout time, consequently you will still be full of energy for the Clean. You should make at least 12-15 Cleans with every workout (now and then completing a Clean with a Jerk), but principally you should concentrate on improving your style, strength and technique of the Clean separately. Then, having finished cleaning for the day, you can now pass on to the Two Hands Snatch.
This lift ranges between 80-100 pounds less in weight than the lifts you have previously done, and because they are so much lighter you can deal with your Snatches in various sets and reps fairly easily. Here's why: 
The Jerk calls for speed and maneuverability with a very heavy weight. The Clean calls for the same essentials. But when tackling the Snatch you're getting into a lift that demands even MORE speed and coordination. However, because of the lesser poundages used, the task is simplified. In this way you can complete your entire Snatch schedule, giving it everything you've got, WITHOUT AN EXCESSIVE DRAIN ON YOUR ENERGY RESERVE. 
You'll discover that when your Snatch routine is completed you'll still have plenty of firepower to use on the Press. Better still, part of your pressing muscles will have been so actively engaged in the previous lifts that they will have received a considerable benefit already.
Instead of tackling massively heavy weights when you feel pooped, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that they were handled when you were freshest. You then went on to the Snatch and because it was so much lighter than the weights you had handled a few minutes before, it felt light.
This so psychologically buoys up your spirits that you will be eager to take on the Press, and because of your still-high energy, your eagerness and keyed up enthusiasm, you'll knock out poundages you never dreamed you'd Press.    

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