The Warmup

This portion of the workout is crucial. The Olympic lifts are high acceleration and high force exercises. So the demands on the body are very high. It is thus very important that you are well prepared to face each training session. The warm-up to be used is the same for all the sessions of the week. It is divided into two parts, the articular preparation and the muscular preparation.

The objective of this part of the workout is to prepare your body to reach the joint positions involved in Olympic lifting. You only use a bar for these drills. This portion of the workout includes four exercises. Do all of these exercises in succession, do not rest more than 15 seconds.

A. Snatch stance bar stretch

This drill is relatively simple. You take the bar with a snatch grip (wide grip) and squat down. While in the full squat position you place the bar on your quads and press down. Try to keep an arched lower back. Maintain that position for 30 seconds.

B. Snatch rotations

B. Snatch rotations

This drill is relatively similar to the good ole Cuban press. Grab the bar with a snatch grip, upright row it until your arms are parallel to the ground, then rotate to the finished snatch position. Do this drill for 2 sets of 6 reps with an empty bar.

This drill is a simple behind the neck press with an empty bar. Concentrate on pressing the bar in a straight line upward, the bar should not come forward during the movement. Once again, do 2 sets of 6 reps with an empty bar.

D. Overhead squat

Okay, now we'll see just how supple you really are! This drill seems simple, but it can be discouraging to some strong guys who will have trouble with only the bar! While the bar is held overhead in a finished snatch position, squat down in a straight line. The shoulders should not move, the bar should stay in place and not drift forward and the trunk is kept upright. A lot of you will have problems going down low in the drill. Don't get discouraged. Go as low as you can while keeping proper form. By practicing it you will eventually be able to reach the full squat position. Again, you perform 2 sets of 6 reps with the empty bar.

By now your joints are ready for the upcoming effort. You now need to get your muscles in gear! This phase uses the Javorek complex created by weightlifting coach Istvan Javorek. It is composed of five drills to be executed in a superset, no rest between exercises! Only one superset is performed. Keep the load low, the objective is to get ready for action, not drive yourself to the ground! This complex will give you a lot of muscle gain and will help you learn the Olympic lifts. I normally have my athletes start with 30-40kg and adjust the load from there.

A. Snatch-grip power pull

Using a snatch grip, start the bar slightly above the knees. Using your whole body, bring the bar up to your sternum. Notice how the bar is kept close to the body and how the body is fully extended. Do 6 reps of this exercise.

B. Clean-grip power pull

This drill is exactly like the snatch-grip power pull except that you use a narrower clean grip. You still want to use your whole body and finish fully extended. Also do 6 reps of this exercise.

C. Squat-press

C. Squat-press

This is a hybrid exercise. It combines a full back squat with a behind the neck press. Squat down, quickly stand up, and use the momentum to help you press the bar overhead. Use an intermediate grip spacing (between clean and snatch grip). Do 6 reps of this movement.

D. Straight-leg Goodmorning

Stand upright like you would at the beginning of a back squat, use an intermediate grip. While keeping the legs straight, bend the trunk forward and bring the hips backward. Do 6 reps of this exercise.

E. Barbell rowing

This is the last exercise of the complex. Place the bar on the ground and bring it up to your abs. The back should remain flat during the whole movement and the head should be in line with the spine (not looking forward which would hyperextend the neck). Do 6 reps of this last drill.

Learn to master all of these warm-up drills, as they will be a part of all your workouts for the next 12 weeks. Besides being a very thorough and specific warm-up routine, it will improve your dynamic flexibility and help you learn the proper form for the Olympic lifts faster.

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