Olympic Lifting Program
A weightlifting technique and strength add-on to our Gym Program designed to increase proficiency and load for all athletes. Written by Chad Vaughn.
2-Week Free Sample
Every gym has a group of athletes who want more time with the barbell.
The problem is that these athletes rarely follow the same program, so in your group of weightlifting enthusiasts, there could be four different programs these athletes are using on top of your program. The programs certainly are not built to complement each other, and you have no control over what these athletes are doing. Athletes perform the workouts alone, with no instruction from coaches, no support from other members, and no shared training with other athletes. This can lead to a divisive, us-versus-them vibe in your gym.
And all of that can be solved with this one extension.
What you get in every session plan
Each planned day will provide 2 different options: “Competitor” and “Training.” The “Competitor” option is for the athlete who is already confident with their movement and looking for additional repetition with the barbell to help achieve load goals, whether that be in a weightlifting competition, CrossFit competition, or in the gym; they also want to maintain, optimize or improve overall mobility and technique. The “Training” option is for the athlete who wants to develop the execution of the Olympic lifts to improve their overall fitness abilities or as a starting point to progress into the “Competitor” option; this option is also great for people who love working with a barbell and just want more practice with the Olympic lifts but are not looking to compete.
The warmups are designed to increase (for that specific day) and improve (for the purpose of insurance, health, and longevity) range of motion for the end range and quality demands of the Olympic lifts, and include the assistant exercises that benefit them. The workout section focuses on positional awareness and strength and implements the concept of progression toward the full movements within the day and through the weeks. Lastly, in the warm down section, you will see a mobility rotation that will not only aid in overcoming the prior work, but prepare the body for upcoming workouts, and contribute to improving overall mobility over time.
Athletes will build a foundation through developing mobility, positional awareness, and strength that will enable them to handle greater loads, as well as maintain technique and quality through fatigue in WODs.
HIGHER LEVEL SKILLS
This program is built for any athlete serious about changing any necessary mobility limitations and/or movement patterns to get better at the highly technical demands of the Olympic lifts.
Athletes will be given an additional 60-90 min of training volume, 2-3 times/week in an effort to meet the demands of moving a barbell as effectively and efficiently as possible, whether they want to use these skills to improve their overall fitness abilities, or compete in a weightlifting competition.
With every plan there will be quick instruction and reminders written within the workout, and demo videos that include cues/guidelines within and/or detailed teaching of the specific movement in the description section below the video.
Use the Oly Program as a bundle or stand-alone program
You can use this program in combination with our Gym Program, as an add-on or extension, or as a separate program.
These weightlifting plans are written with every part of the Gym Program considered very heavily, especially the weightlifting movements (squats, deadlifts, shoulder to overhead, snatches, cleans, etc.) to complete the weightlifting program as a whole. With this in mind, each plan includes an “Additional Work” section for any athlete not completing the Gym Programming on that specific day (or the day indicated) or not taking part in those classes or the Gym Programming in general. The inclusion of the “Additional Work” section also means that it can be used as a very solid and detailed, stand-alone weightlifting program for anyone interested in just that.
But don’t get it twisted, we still believe that most of your athletes will want to do both. They are absolutely encouraged to attend the day’s regular class and also attend the weightlifting class or perform the work from the weightlifting program in Open Gym.
One of the main benefits of this combination is that your athletes who develop an extra interest in the Olympic lifts and are willing to take that extra step to find and perform extra work can now all follow the same program. So instead of having 10 athletes following 4 different programs, everyone is on the same page. Athletes can come in and perform the workouts together in a class, or they can do their own thing. Still, no matter how you decide to run the program, all your athletes are following programming that is a part of your main community. They are not off to the side, following programming you’re unfamiliar with, and just using your gym as a space to workout.
With our weightlifting program, your athletes putting in extra work for their Olympic lifts are strengthening your community, not dividing it. Because, you know exactly what workout your weightlifters are doing before/after the normal class. They can perform the workouts as a group or, at the very least, share their performances with each other to discuss what they are feeling emotionally and physically, and what they are looking forward to. Your other members know it’s an additional program that you offer, which gives them something to think about as an option if they ever “get the itch” or just to support those that are on that path. Everyone is on the same page, it’s all under the same roof, and you control it all. Plus, in the minds of members, it’s another way you offer them value.
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What you can expect
A more united community
Is a specialty weightlifting program necessary to get fit? No. These things only matter when someone wants to compete in a weightlifting competition or when someone just finds a love for the Olympic lifts and enjoys doing them more often. And when you give your gym a weightlifting program to follow, those are the two types of people who will join: the people who want to do well at a weightlifting competition and the people who love the extra strength work and repetitions with the barbell. As for your entire community, not everyone wants a strength-biased program, so a barbell program can help you satisfy the needs of everyone by giving your lifters a place to lift and keeping the general program more varied. This way, you’re not alienating the members who don’t want to lift, which is to say that this program is a one way to meet the needs of your lifters, without making your whole community follow a strength-biased program. Of course, the members who don’t want to join a barbell club will still enjoy rooting the weightlifters on and talking with them about the extra training they’re doing. Ya know, bonding.
Confidence in the programming
Chad is a renowned weightlifter, competing in the Olympic Games in 2004 and 2008, as well as winning the Gold Medal at the 2003 Pan American Games, and winning the USA National Championships 9 times. On top of that, Chad has been leading weightlifting classes in the fitness community and has been a consistent, trusted information source since 2010. He is one of the best at what he does, and perfect for this task specifically because he has been teaching weightlifting and programming with the demands of fitness as a whole in mind since becoming a coach. Let him worry about how to program extra mobility, skill, and strength work for the Olympic lifts, so you can focus on coaching the program.
Stronger, more efficient athletes
Your weightlifting athletes are going to see gains upon gains. And not in just the amount of weight they can lift. We are going to improve their mobility and technique with the goal of getting them to move like elite weightlifters, while also allowing for adequate recovery time so they can give workouts 100% effort.
This program is a one way to meet the needs of your lifters, without making your whole community follow a strength-biased program.
Frequently asked questions
This program is for people who want to improve their overall fitness abilities (developing a higher level of skill with a barbell), or athletes with goals of increasing load in preparation for CrossFit or Weightlifting competitions.
We have 2 options available to accommodate a wider range of your members.
The “Oly Training” option was built for those members who are serious about changing any necessary mobility limitations and/or movement patterns to get better at the highly technical demands of the Olympic lifts. The “Oly Training” option is for the athlete who wants to better learn and develop the execution of the Olympic lifts to improve their overall fitness abilities, or as a starting point to progress into the “Oly Competitor” option.
The “Oly Competitor” option is for the athlete who is already confident with their movement and looking for additional repetition with the barbell to help achieve load goals, whether that be in a weightlifting competition, CrossFit competition, or in the gym; as well as maintain/optimize or improve overall mobility and technique.
If you are ever in question, it would certainly never be wrong to start someone out on the “Oly Training” track, with the intention of evaluating them and developing them into the “Oly Competitor” as needed and desired by the athlete. In general, we would say that an athlete is ready for the “Oly Competitor” option when they can perform 90% of the “Oly Training” program as a whole without modification in load, volume, and exercise.
Each day of this program (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; 3 days each week) will require a commitment of 60-90 minutes (whether in class or self-guided). If an athlete is performing the Gym programming in addition to the weightlifting work on any given day, they would be putting in 120-150 minutes of time into the gym for that day.
If an athlete chooses to do only the weightlifting class or work, without the Gym Program workout, there will typically be “Additional Work” that is considered to make-up for the weightlifting that they would’ve done in the gym programming for that day. Remember, this completes weightlifting work for that specific week and for the program as a whole (this might take them to that 90-minute mark of weightlifting work for the day).
A Detailed Warmup that is designed to increase (for that specific day) and improve (for the purpose of insurance, health, and longevity) range of motion for the end range and quality demands of the Olympic lifts, and the assistant exercises that benefit them. You will notice a rotation between 4 different warmup sequences which provides just a touch of variety, but more importantly the much needed consistency in regards to developing and/or maintaining mobility and awareness in all the areas required when it comes to executing a snatch, clean, and jerk most efficiently and effectively (the bottom position of the squat and overhead position.)
A Workout with 2 options/levels (‘Oly Training’ and ‘Oly Competitor’) so that every athlete taking part in the program, no matter how long they’ve been doing weightlifting or how skilled with a barbell they are, can get a quality workout that meets their needs and abilities. With both options, this section focuses on positional awareness and strength and implements the concept of progression toward the full movements within the day and/or through weeks.
A Cool Down section where you will see a mobility rotation that will not only aid in recovery and overcoming the prior work, but prepare the body for upcoming workouts, and contribute to improving overall mobility over time. This section is typically indicated as “extra” for the athlete to complete outside of class (not as part of the 1-hour class, with the warmup and work section combined).
Additional Work is included with most of the plans, typically in the form of 1 exercise, or 2 that are alternating and work together. This section for any athlete not completing the Gym Programming on that specific day (or the day indicated) or not taking part in those classes or the Gym Programming in general. Remember that this completes the weightlifting program/work as a whole for those athletes missing the Gym programming.
Every section described above also includes time breakdowns that tell you roughly how long each piece should take so that your coaches stay on-schedule.
Yes! Recovery is crucial to fitness and strength gains! Excessive training without adequate time for recovery is not a way to see best results — it’s a way to get hurt.
The Weightlifting Program comes with 2-3 plans/week that we recommend you complete on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with the assumption that most people will still be taking part in at least some regular classes. With this in mind, there are 2 intentional rest days, every Thursday and Sunday. And yes, a “rest day” means they also must skip that day’s Competitor or Rxd workout. Rest means REST!
We want to keep the training schedule predictable, so it’s easier for your barbell goal-striving athletes to stick to it. The weightlifting plans are also written with these off-day recommendations in mind, so skipping every Thursday and Sunday won’t cause those athletes to miss any crucial barbell movements like squats, deadlifts, etc., as they will be indicated in one of the plans that week as one of the base exercises or within the ”additional work” section.
Try your best to get all your weightlifting program athletes on this schedule. If someone can’t do it, make sure they simulate a similar schedule with no more than 3 training days in a row.
Let’s first talk about how many weightlifting classes per week you should offer. We’ve seen solid change in respect to the goals and abilities of athletes who attend only 1 weightlifting class a week (in combination with their regular CrossFit schedule). From seeing what 2 or 3 days/week can do in that regard, again in combination with CrossFit, simply put, 2 is better than 1, and 3 is better than 2; but absolutely and undeniably, 1 is better than none! Those goals and changes for most athletes just take a little longer with less frequency.
For your gym, you have to decide what you can do and what makes the most sense. It never hurts to start out slow and simple by offering just 1 day of weightlifting classes/week and then build out from there as needed and able. Keep in mind that athletes who come to class 1-time/week can also complete 1 or 2 additional days of the program on their own; this will, of course, lend to their goals in a big way. So your job in the 1-class/week you see them is to educate them as much as possible so they can apply the program most effectively while self-guided.
For each class, keep in mind that the warmup section combined with the workout section of the program is written to take 1-hour, with the “additional work” and “cool down” sections as extra for the athlete to complete off to the side directly after class as needed and/or able. Each warmup should take 10-15 minutes, though in reality as you and your athletes are getting used to them, they will most definitely take longer. Once your athletes get the hang of each of the warmups, they should be able to come in and get that started and completed with far less supervision. The working section on average should take about 45 minutes, the recovery section 10-15 minutes, and the additional work section 10-20 minutes.
With all of this in mind, you can make your classes 1 hour, 1 hour and 15 minutes, or 1 hour and 30 minutes each. An example of this in play might be with your classes being 1 hour each and you having a 4pm class, a 5pm class and a 6pm class. With the 5pm class athletes showing up at that time, they can be starting their warm up on their own and ready to start the working section of the program at 5:15pm. Any of your athletes from the 4pm class needing to complete the “additional work” section can be getting that in and finishing it up through the first 15 minutes of that 5pm slot since the warm ups can be completed more off to the side. Then the recovery section of the program can be completed by the 4pm class off to the side. So, some overlap is definitely ok and can be done very efficiently. If you don’t think you have room for the overlap, or would rather have more cushion and/or ability to spread things out, then 1 hour and 15-30 minutes are definitely usable and quality options.
These weightlifting plans are written with every part of the Gym Program considered very heavily. With this attention to detail in combining the 2 programs, there is no clear advantage in placing one before the other. Certainly, there will be the rare occasion that it might be more beneficial to do one or the other first, depending on the individual, but ultimately what matters most is that those who want the extra work get it. No matter what, they will benefit.
Some gyms/athletes may not have a choice in where they can provide or perform the weightlifting class/work in relation to the regular class, so if you are in that position, have confidence that this is a consideration in developing each plan, and one should not be deterred if the weightlifting class is in one order or the other.
Standard weightlifting gear is all you need. From time to time, we’ll program something that would ideally require a power rack, or jerk blocks, or blocks to elevate the weight for snatches and cleans from different positions, but this will be rare. On the occasion we program something you don’t have, we will indicate a recommended sub that will fulfill a similar stimulus.
Here is a list of the essentials for the program —
Platform or designated area that is ideally 8’ x 8’ to give sufficient space for each athlete (or group with members taking turns) to perform snatches, cleans, jerks, squats, etc.
Barbells — With our recommendation of capping weightlifting classes at 6 or less, 3 men’s bars, 3 women’s bars, and 2 trainer bars that are specifically designated for your weightlifting area would suffice. This will be whether you are delivering the program within a weightlifting class, or giving the program to your members as extra work.
Weights — Again, with the small class size in mind, a minimum of 3 full kilogram and/or pound sets designated to that area would ensure enough weights to be used or shared within each class. A set of kilogram plates typically includes a pair of bumpers each of 25kg, 20kg, 15kg, and 10kg. Also, a pair of change plates each of 5kg, 2.5kg, 2kg, 1kg, and 0.5kg. Extra would be technique plates (bumper size) of 5kg and 2.5kg (or 10lb and 15lb bumper plates can be used as “technique” plates as well).
Squat Racks or Stations — 3 designated to that area would be sufficient to be used or shared within a class.
A few other pieces of equipment that might be necessary to borrow from the CrossFit area on occasion would be Dumbbells, Kettlebells, Plyo Boxes, etc.
But here are a few ways you can send the workouts to your athletes:
1. Copy/paste and email or text athletes the info
2. Export as a PDF and email athletes the docs
3. Export as a PDF and print packets for athletes
To summarize the programs quickly: Our Oly Program is for people who want to get better at the sport of Olympic Lifting, whereas our Competitor Program is for people who want to get better at the sport of CrossFit. Our Oly Program looks to make people better lifters, and our Competitor Program looks to make people better competitors.
Another big difference between the two programs is that the Oly Program can be done as a stand alone program, but the Competitor Program cannot (it is only available as an add-on to our Gym Program).
The Oly Program includes “Additional Work” for people who don’t follow our Gym Program so they still get the desired results. This program is 60-90 minutes of training volume 2-3 days a week.
With our Competitor Program, you must complete the Gym Program workout at the Rxd or Competitor levels and do the extra Competitor Program work to see the desired results. This program is 30-60 minutes of training volume 5 days a week.
Choose A Plan
Select any combination of programs, and then click add to cart.
(monthly plans will be pro-rated for the first month)