In Olympic Lifts

May 08, 2010

PDF Article

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.

Free Download


14 Comments on “The Quick Lifts: Start Here”


Neil Allman wrote …

I wonder why Starr prefers Good mornings over Deadlifts or RDLs for back work. Any thoughts?


wrote …

Does anybody know what rep scheme Starr prescribes for the Oly program? They aren't mentioned in the PDF and i am wondering if anyone has any knowledge.



wrote …

The rep scheme is mentioned, just read further


wrote …

I don't know about you, but I have found that good mornings in particular stress my back (in a good way) more than anything.

Also, Oly lifters often stay away from deadlifts and instead do high pulls and the likes because deadlifts are slow. Check out Tony Blanksteen's input in this discussion:

What I want to know is Starr's justification for the high bar back squat, as opposed to Rip's contention that the low bar back squat is better. He said it transfers to the clean and snatch... but WHY?


wrote …

Rip contends that using the low bar back squats recruits more muscles, but also mentions that when the torso remains upright the hamstring isn't as able to fire and help in the squat, putting more focus on the glutes. Maybe Starr then recommends high bar back squats so that you're mostly focusing on building strength in the muscles that are able to fire properly during the positions you find yourself in for the oly lifts?


wrote …

THATS ME!!!! At the Florida sectionals! WOOOO...
but I must add, I just did a clenic with Glenn Pendlay. The man is a genius, and I got to pick his brain for quite some time. Can't argue with the numbers, Glenn Pendlay coaches the best.


wrote …

As a newer crossfitter I am wondering how this fits in with the daily WOD. Should this be done in addition to the WOD or in place of it. Thoughts?


replied to comment from Robert Moore

It's open for interpretation. The goal of CF is broad. Get fit for life. Perhaps you need to work on the Olympic Lifts more than other aspects. Perhaps you need more strength. Or perhaps you just want to do more olympic lifting. I think you could do a block following Starr's program. And then get back to your regular crossfit life. I think doing this program AND the mainsite WOD would just be way too much unless you are part robot.

I've read on multiple affiliate sites that they set up goals for the gym (per month or per 3 months), on top of being more fit than last year. So May and June could have a strength focus and then July and August have a focus on met cons. Some people supplement the daily WOD with additional lifting. Crossfit Football does this with a 'strength WOD'. Some call it a buy in/cash out, which can be anything and sometimes just skills practice (Eg do 100 double unders). It really would depend on your own personal goals. I suggest making a stable plan, and not to switch between too many programs (eg 1 week of Starr's program then 1 week of mainsite then 1 week of CFFB). But doing 4 months of one, then the other and so on would still bring about fitness gains. 4 months of Starr's program might take away from your Cindy time, but you'll be better at Grace/Isabel if you can lift 60kg like it's a broomstick.


wrote …

I've always loved Bill's writings.


wrote …

Think I might give this a shot. What kind of diet goes along with this type of training? Excess calories, maintaining calories, or whatever I train best at?


wrote …

Excellent article. I always enjoy reading Bill Starr's work.


Damon Stewart wrote …

This has been commented on at length elsewhere but there are few (I know of none) OLY coaches who recommend low bar back squatting.


wrote …

this was an excellent article.

Robert, what Matt says is correct. If you haven't already, read the Crossfit Strength Bias article from a year or so ago.

In there, the authors break down how you can maintain your other physical skills while following a program specifically designed to focus on major gains on one area - Strength.

I followed the Strength Bias program for 6 weeks last year and made excellent gains without losing in other areas.

It's probably easier to create your own program or follow one like this if you're training away from an affiliate, where there may be more pressure to follow their programming.

For me, the only drawback was that it became slightly less fun than following main site/an affiliate's programming because it was less random. The gains made it worthwhile though and also refreshed my love for main site programming, which I have returned to follow religiously.

I'm definitely considering stepping off main site again to follow this program for a few months.


wrote …

I'm really liking the work out, but have a question on one thing, what is the difference between Clean High Pulls and Snatch High Pulls?

Leave a comment

Comments (You may use HTML tags for style)