View Full Version : olympic lifting for fat loss

07-12-2003, 06:23 PM
i'm currently cutting (high bodyfat percentage) but trying to increase strength while maintaining muscle mass. so far it's been pretty decent, and as of the past week, i added some sort of olympic lift into my routine just to mix it up a bit (just hang cleans + push press, or power clean + split jerk). i'm using light weight until i can get the form down perfectly (100lbs) but i noticed that after doing a bunch of cleans or something, i'm all sweaty and out of breath. this is good.

i also read in one of the (instructional) posts below that a group doing olympic lifts for 8 weeks or so lost about 6% body fat, again the results that i want. i'm not interested in size but increasing my core strength while i'm cutting, and feel this is a pretty reasonable goal (from what i've read, its mostly a CNS issue versus a muscle hypertrophy issue)

that said, if i want to incoroporate more "olympic" style lifts (read: CNS development instead of isolated hypertrophy) what would a decent routine look like? i want a mix of cardio/strength training instead of the typical split, but still want to hit each muscle group for a few sets just for the hell of it. so far i've just thrown some power cleans or something into my current routine, but now don't find the rest of the routine as fulfilling :) i also love the looks i get from the curl jockeys doing their dumbbell kickbacks when i somewhat effortlessly take the bar from the floor and lift it over my head :D

BTW - a few clean questions. i've got the hang clean down pretty good with regards to form, but the power clean is giving me trouble. is it basically just a deadlift and hang clean put together? the part i've been messing up on is the transition between the two movements. also, what's the best way to let it down? i've been lowering it like a military press and then sort of dropping it and catching it before it hits the floor (like a reverse hang clean) but i'm sure this will get hard when i can actually put some weight on the bar

07-12-2003, 11:04 PM
You burn alot of calories during olympic lifts, but they are very taxing on your cns, and don't build as much muscle as core less explosive lifts(bench press, squats, dips, rows, deadlifts..).

07-12-2003, 11:21 PM
I really wish people wouldn't invoke CNS overtraining for *everything* the body does.

Oly lifts, much like ANY movement, are only going to over-stimulate the CNS if done at a high intensity for a long enough period of time.

At lower intensities, the ones he'd use for what he has in mind, you'll see no such effect.

On another note, that's something I've been toying with for awhile now. Trying doing 4-5 sets of 5 rep C&J's or snatches.

If you really get brave, try doing them for triples with 30 second rests for about 6-8 sets.

To hell with sprinting.

chris mason
07-13-2003, 07:37 AM
Actually, I am going to have the go the other way with CNS on Olympic lifts. Olympic lifts are actually less taxing on the system than heavy powerlifts. That is why trainees can do them 5-6 days per week, even repeat the same movements day after day.

If you think about it you will realize the logic. When you clean a weight you are not maximally taxing any of the involved muscles. Your legs/hip structure can certainly lift more from the floor than you can clean (i.e. deadlift vs. clean). The movement dictates this as one cannot move maximal weights (relative to one's ability) quickly enough to facilitate a clean. The same goes for a shrug vs. the pull to the shoulders past the mid thigh point. In addition, the pull to the shoulders is helped by the momentum of the clean from the floor.

In addition, Olympic lifts are normally performed with very low reps (1-3). The lifts are rarely performed to failure (only by accident I would think).

Finally, there is no eccentric (negative) component to Olympic lifts.

As Olympic lifts use a vast majority of the body's skeletal muscle to move the weight I would think they are great for weight loss.

07-13-2003, 11:51 AM
True dat.

This is actually something I've had in the works for awhile but haven't talked about a whole lot.....but suffice it to say, doing either power snatches or clean & jerk three times a week for 3-4 sets of 5 is *brutal*

Adopting a true interval approach, ie, doing triples with very short rest periods for either a given amount of sets, or even better, a specific time frame, would easily rival if not exceed the results of sprinting.

Several reasons for that. First and foremost, there is *no* guess-work as to the cardivascular intensity level. Whereas we can debate for days on end as to whether or not somebody's going hard enough on a sprint, there's no doubt on an Olympic lift. Secondly, this doesn't require anything more than a barbell and some weights. Thirdly, its a lot easier on the joints than running, at least assuming the pulls are being done in the power style and with good form on the catch.

So yeah, there's a lot of potential here that I don't think most people have realized.

07-13-2003, 01:00 PM
i've read what you've done and realized the same thing :) plus, sprinting is boring as hell. i'd much rather throw some weight around

so now what's the best way to integrate this into my routine? just do a couple sets after my regular lifting? i'm not sure i want to do it on my normal off-days because of fear of overtraining

and my question about lowering the weight still remains... i don't want to "unload" the weight (well i do, but i can't :)), but i also don't want to drop/catch it and end up hurting my back. what's the best way to bring it down?

07-13-2003, 01:03 PM
Unless you've got bumper plates or a platform, there's really not much choice besides a "controlled crash".

My thighs usually get bruised up pretty bad on days I do heavy Oly moves.

07-13-2003, 01:10 PM
how do you integrate this into your routine?

since im trying to lose some weight but remain fairly strong, i was thinking of switching to basic full body workouts for a while... bench, lat pulldowns, squats, DLs, shrugs, power cleans + jerks, decline sit-ups, etc. i think if i do this then i can integrate the olympic stuff into my routine a lot better... this prolly isn't the right forum for it but does it sound like a good idea?

07-13-2003, 01:24 PM
I don't have a traditional split by body part like most people here.

I train according to movements, in a structure loosely similar to the Westside powerlifting system, or in a 3-day full-body structure (like HST, but not exactly).

In either one, its easy to throw them in either on all three days (which *will* give you quick results) or on the lower body days.

So whichever works for ya.

07-13-2003, 02:03 PM
would you say full body 3x a week is a good idea? i haven't really read up on powerlifting so i'm not familiar with what goes into either HST or westside

07-13-2003, 02:08 PM
For fat loss, yeah, I'm starting to think it is.

The one time I played with HST, the cardio training effect was unreal just from the regular lifts.

Recently I've been doing that three-day split oriented around the Olympic lifts and compound moves, and that took it to a whole new level.

So just from my experience, it'd be spot-on for a fat loss program.

07-13-2003, 02:24 PM
excellent. thanks for the help :)