May 08, 2010
Bill Starr offers up a program designed to help athletes begin training the basics of the Olympic lifts.
I’ve written articles for the CrossFit Journal on how to snatch, clean and jerk. By following the advice in those presentations, any athlete who is interested in the Olympic lifts can learn how to do them. I realize many athletes are tentative in trying these high-skill, explosive movements on their own, but they can still be done quite successfully.
That’s exactly how everyone who wanted to participate in the sport of Olympic weightlifting learned how to do the contested lifts when I got bitten by the iron bug. In the ’50s, there were no videos, clinics, books or even articles available for beginners wanting to do the quick lifts. On occasion, Lifting News or Strength & Health carried an article dealing with some aspect of technique on the press, snatch, and clean and jerk, but they were always aimed at the more experienced strength athletes and not rank beginners.
In addition, the number of capable coaches in the country could be counted on one hand, minus the thumb, and if an athlete didn't live close to one of these rare animals, he was out of luck. So aspiring strongmen had to teach themselves how to perform the lifts.
My situation wasn’t unique. On the contrary, it was the norm for that point in time. Most of us were on our own, and from that group came national, world and Olympic champions, proving that if a person is serious about excelling in this sport, he can do so through lots of hard work.