How Many Reps for Olympic Lifts?


I received this question yesterday

“Wondering where you think olympic lifts fit into the strength/power equation…should there be a limit to weight/ repetitions for those trying to gain speed/strength for field sports?”

Lets start with question 1- where do Olympic lifts fit in the strength/ power equation?

A- I love the Olympic lifts for athletes, I do not love them for adults. Our philosophy is all about risk-benefit ratio. Risk-benefit is like a scale and we don’t want risk to outweigh benefit. For young healthy athletes I think Olympic lifts are one of the best things you can do. We do modify our lifts however. We do only hang cleans from above the knee and close grip hang snatches also from above the knee. We never Olympic lift from the floor and never use a snatch grip.

Q- Should there be a limit to weight?

A- I think the weight limit is based on common sense and what I like to call the S _ it Test. If it looks like S _ it the weight is too heavy. Olympic lifting should be smooth and athletic. Power is about bar speed, not weight on the bar. It’s about how fast you move the weight, more than how much weight you move.

Q- How about a rep limit.

A- This is the loaded question and I left it to last on purpose. I have said this over and over. No more than six reps in the Olympic lifts. I know this will piss of the Crossfit crowd ( hence my loaded question lead in) but, the Olympic lifts are highly technical and do not lend them selves to high reps. I know I’ll get the obligatory Crossfit rebuttals in the comments but, the “no high rep Olympic lifting”  thing has been around a lot longer than Crossfit. Also, in your comments please don’t quote any Olympic lifting expert who gets paid to teach Crossfitter’s. I see that as a conflict of interest.

3 Responses to “How Many Reps for Olympic Lifts?”

  1. […] Michael Boyle:  https://strengthcoachblog.com/2014/05/13/how-many-reps-for-olympic-lifts/ […]

  2. […] Michael Boyle:  https://strengthcoachblog.com/2014/05/13/how-many-reps-for-olympic-lifts/ […]

  3. Thanks for re stating what I must repeat hundreds of times over the course of a month. Now…I’ll just refer all questions to this article!

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