When you get right down to it, there are three major goals in Olympic Weightlifting:
Goal 1 - Snatch
Goal 2 - Clean
Goal 3 - Jerk
Once you learn the positions and movements of the Oly lifts, you can reduce your concentration to:
Loose arms/shoulders forward of the bar. Tension in the lower and middle back. Plan to use Strong Legs - then strongly lift the bar close to your legs, hips and torso, you hips and shoulders getting under that bar as you STAND UP! QUICK HANDS!
When addressing the bar, no matter what the weight, you must visualize the positions listed below, then lift that bar high along your body.
You see yourself vertical under the bar, arms locked and standing on straight legs.
You see yourself standing tall and erect with the bar solidly at your shoulders.
You see yourself with the bar on locked arms overhead, standing solidly upright.
A Letter From Tommy Kono
So that you know my background in the sport, I was born, raised and received my education in Sacramento except for the time I was in WW II camp for 3 1/2 years (June 1942 - December 1945). I moved to Hawaii in '55 so I was an Olympic (52) and World Champ (53 and 54) before taking up residence in Hawaii.
Previously I was in Hawaii with Roy Hilligenn for 2 weeks in 1953 for exhibition purposes (fresh out of military service) and wore Hawaiian shirts since then. I believe when I made the trip to Moscow and the tour around the world in 1955 (was in India) for the State Department (Lebanon, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, India and Burma) I wore Hawaiian (aloha) shirts. I liked the casualness of the loose shirt on me. Maybe this identified me as being "Hawaiian".
Believe it or not in 1955 I made four major trips:
1.) Pan Am Games in Mexico City.
2.) USSR (match in Leningrad and Moscow) and to Egypt, Lebanon and Iran for the State Dept.
3.) Munich World Championship.
4.) Picked up where we left off of the State Dept. tour for Iraq, Afghanistan, India and Burma.
For #3 and #4 I was living in Hawaii so I continued on from Burma to Hawaii while the rest of the group returned by way of NY.
My work for the State of California did not allow me to make for many trips in 1955 (unlike today's employers) so I had to actually resign from my job . . . but they would old my position open so I could re-enter the system. The Pan Am, USSR and the first part of the Mid East tour I operated out of Sacramento, but by the time of the World Championships I had resigned and moved to Hawaii.
I sometimes wonder if today's champions could stand such a pace. I broke the World Records at Pan Am Games and in Leningrad. I weighed about 174 when I left for Munich but returned from the last of the trip weighing 157.
We were "tough" in those days and not pampered like these current crop of U.S. lifters whose peak training cycle is once or twice a year . . .
A Three-Day/Week Workout Stressing Speed
Denis Reno (2004)
These workouts are built around codewords as listed below - but be sure to read the notes at the end of the workout (because your mental attitude and concentration are very important). This workout assumes that you know in detail the proper technique of the Olympic lifts.
Speed Lifts - Concentrate on doing the lifts in perfect form, maybe exaggerate the extreme positions, start out doing the movement slowly to ensure you are in the proper extreme positions. Then practice speedy finishes from pull-up to pull-under, from jerk drive to split under. Make sure to go through all the positions of the lifts and learn to combine these into fluid movements. Above 50%, do the lifts in full speed. Do not go above 70% of maximum. Do 6 or more singles at the highest weight. Follow Clean & Jerks with 6 sets of 2 Front Squats, jerking after the first rep. Keep front squat weights light enough to get a speedy jerk after the first rep. Finish workout with 2-3 sets of 10 reps of weighted ab work.
Medium Lifts - On these we work up to no more than 85% of your best. Finish with 3 to 6 singles at this 85% maximum or less. You must use speed as you have practiced with the light lifts. Squats - alternate Front squats one workout, Back squats the next workout, to 3 medium/heavy sets, 3 reps for Fronts, 4 reps for Backs (medium heavy here means that these are tough, but you never fail to do the listed sets and reps). Finish workout with 2-3 sets of standing presses, 10 - 8 - 6 reps.
Maximum Lifts - If marked 2-cycles, work up to about 95% for single, then back to 75% and work up again. If marked max, keep adding weight set to set and if you do a PR, try more until you miss. You may keep trying as you wish. You may also decide for yourself whether or not to do 2-cycles and whether or not to try a max, and you can do both 2-cycles and max in the same workout. You must use the speed as you have practiced with the light lifts. You do both Olympic lifts on this day, as follows:
On Snatch day, follow the Snatch by doing 6 singles of C&J up to 80%.
On C&J day, start off doing 6 singles of Snatch up to 80%, and then do the Clean & Jerks.
Medium Pulls - Start workout by doing the lift, mainly singles up to about 80% for 1 set. Pull reps go 5-4-3-2-2-1 ending with single with 95-100%. Finish with RDL's, 5-6 sets, 6-4 reps, weight increases 50% - 90%.
Heavy Pulls - Start workout by doing the lift, mainly singles up to about 80% for 1 set. Pull reps go 5-3-3-3-3-3 with the last three triples with 95-100% (pick and % for each set). Finish with squats - to 1 heavy set, 3 reps for Fronts, 4 reps for Backs.
Following is the workout guideline:
Week 1 -
Day 1 - Speed Lifts
Day 2 - Heavy pulls - clean
Day 3 - Medium Lifts - Snatch
Day 1 - Medium Pulls - Snatch
Day 2 - Speed Lifts
Day 3 - Maximum Lifts - 2-cycles - C&J
Week 3 -
Day 1 - Speed Lifts
Day 2 - Medium pulls - Snatch
Day 3 - Medium Lifts - C&J
Week 4 -
Day 1 - Speed Lifts, medium pulls C&J
Day 2 - Medium Lifts - Snatch
Day 3 - Heavy pulls - Snatch
Week 5 -
Day 1 - Medium Lifts - C&J
Day 2 - Speed Lifts
Day 3 - Maximum Lifts, max - Snatch
Week 6 -
Back to Week 1 and run through this again - but switch Snatch and C&J days.
You can also work out with some general fitness lifts or movements if you wish.
I repeat some key rules below:
1.) During the pull never allow your shoulders to be behind the barbell. (When your shoulders are behind the bar, you had better be screwing under the bar with the intent to stand erect with the bar on your shoulders or overhead.
2.) Feel your full foot on the floor just before lift off.
3.) Create tension in your hip area (lower back, butt, upper thighs) just before you lift off.
4.) Maintain the angle of your back to the floor from lift off up until the bar is at upper thigh height.
5.) The finish of the pull includes 'screwing under' - your aim in doing a lift is getting it to shoulders or overhead.
6.) Keep the bar close to your body.
Pulls vs. Lifts
I was recently talking with some lifters and came to realize again the PULLS are quite different from the full LIFTS, and pulls should be considered more for strength building. The idea when doing an Olympic lift is to get the weight to the shoulders or overhead and to stand erect in those positions. The idea in doing a pull is to attain HEIGHT and to build the power to attain height with more weight. Therefore, pulls are done for repetitions (3-5 is recommended) and lifts are done for singles.
In both lifts and pulls, attention must be given to maintaining balance which really means learning and maintaining proper TECHNIQUE. Both pulls and lifts are important ingredients of a training program.