The Olympic Lifts ( the snatch and and the clean and jerk) are easy peezy to learn. However,  its still quite a difficult  skill to access quality tuition. Andrew Stemler is one of the few Olympic weightlifting instructors  ( not only in London, but the UK) that actively accepts non-lifters and teaches them to snatch from  Scratch (and clean and jerk)

Crossfit London was the 1st ever Crossfit affiliate in the UK, is affiliated to BWLA and  holds a  licence from REPS to deliver CPD events to fitness instructors


I have been teaching the Olympic lifts to absolute beginners in London  since 2005, and since that time they have become one of my passions. All of my clients learn to Olympic lift. Some never go heavier that a 7kg bar, but the benefits from the movement alone are excellent.

 Once you have the skill it can never be taken away from you. So why lift I hear you ask, well, according to Arthur Drechsler, author of The Weightlifting Encyclopedia (the single most important book ever written on Olympic weightlifting),  the unique value of the Olympic lifts for athletes ( and that's you by the way) are

1. Practicing the (Olympic) lifts [the snatch and the clean-and- jerk as well as related lifting techniques] teaches an athlete how to explode. 
2. Practicing proper technique in the Olympic lifts teaches an athlete to apply force with his or her muscle groups in the proper sequences. 
3. In mastering the Olympic lifts, the athlete learns how to accelerate objects under varying degrees of resistance. 
4. The athlete learns to receive force from another moving body effectively, and becomes conditioned to accept such forces. 
5. The athlete learns to move effectively from an eccentric to concentric muscle action.
6. The actual movements performed while executing the Olympic lifts are among the most common and fundamental in sports. 
7. Practicing the Olympic lifts trains an athlete's explosive capabilities, and the lifts themselves measure the effectiveness of the athlete in generating explosive power to a greater degree than most other exercises they can practice. 
8. The Olympic lifts are simply fun to do. 


If you want to learn Olympic weightlifting In London , you really should be training with Andrew Stemler  You can do this on a 121 basis, or at one of his  popular masterclasses



 Worried, that the lifts are not for you?

Read on.

Until now, the Olympic lifts have been seen as a secret hidden weapon of advanced athletes, and some old boy trainers and self important academics would like to keep it that way. 

i will show you how easy these moves are to learn and once I have given you the basic progressions, we set you up with the drills to help you develop and move to mastery in your own time.

You will learn the moves with a bit of lightweight plastic tubing so that you can understand them, without having to worry about dropping heavy weights on your head.

I will also 'fix' your squat (I'm like that) and give you the drills to continue to make it, er, more marvellous?!

Im patient and kind ( although I do have my moments),  and I  really know tmy stuff; you won't have to worry about being a normal person.

I am simply there to help you learn, in a fun, safe environment. I have taught hundreds  of people these moves over the past few years.



 Learn the Olympic lifts  from A Crossfit ( and preferably a crossfit London) trainer.


If you are considering who to teach you to Olympic lift, im going to say a crossfit Trainer. Im also going to say that, if you decide to focus on the olympic lifts only  ( which is  a mistake)  you will eventually need to join an olympic weightlifting club.

But if you are adding the olympic lifts to get fit to support your life or your sport, you need to talk to people who use the lifts to support their other performances. I  know many great olympic lifters: they have 2 things in common, they olympic lift fantastically, and they suck at everything else. In  fact, one olympic lifting  champion admitted he hated teaching beginners as he didn't understand why his clients didnt "get it". Actually that was a useful conversation. he also explained he got his various cups and awards by doing nothing else but lifting. He went on benefits, lived in a council flat.

We teach the lifts to house owning, graduates with good jobs, or students aspiring to get a fitness that matches their career hopes. 

We look at the lifts as a sport in  itself, a technique used by other sports to improve performance,as a fun activity, and as part of the famous crossfit games. This means we teach you simple and effective method

Check out the next masterclass dates here (Only £60)



 Learn the lifts in  a personal training session.

(Personal Training With Andrew Stemler, (or  a trainer personally trained by Andrew)

Any time spent with Andrew is like Gold dust. An experienced teacher/trainer, Andrew makes   the muddle of drills and techniques that float around the internet mean something to you.. Prices start at £55 an hour, and then go down with bulk discounts and beginner packages.


 Drop andrew Stemler an email on andrew@crossfitlondonuk.com  



Drop Andrew Stemler an email andrew@crossfitlondonuk.com  



Do you want to learn how to  perform the Olympic lifts, the snatch and the clean and Jerk. Well you can now  learn at home for less than £5 with the Stemlerfit Olympic weightlifting App. Why attend a class, a masterclass or a PT session as an absolute beginner. Get a handle on those core essential skills first.




Learn the Olympic lifts at home or at your gym, using this structured step by step approach that combines  step by step guides to learning the drills and mastering the skills that you need to lift well.

These are the drills that the best lifters in the world use.

search for the app in the "app Store" or "I-tunes"








 Below is a selection of materials that may help you with your  Olympic weightlifting journey.

If you want "functional Fitness" should you be "Olympic Weightlifting"

By Andrew Stemler 

I'm sometimes asked why people who want to develop functional fitness should Olympic lift.

Here is my answer.

Depending upon your view, I have either a very narrow or very broad definition of functional fitness. I simply look at those people I would want to take with me into the unknown. Recent crises have seen buildings collapse, crowds riot, aid in need of unloading and rival villages or postcode gangs in need of killing or a good shanking.

I know I annoy a lot of strength trainees who expect me to marvel at their deadlift, and wee little runners who want me to stand drop-jawed at the fact their genetic profile means they can prance around like a gazelle all week. My problem is this specialism produces useless gits. There, I've said it. Are you  are kettlebell specialist? Yes, no, sorry - you're a git. Same with 400m runners,  same with deadlifters:  Introverted, useless gits.

In a normal world, nature does not throw you component challenges of strength or distance or flexibility - it just drops you in holes, floods your home, collapses buildings on your family. Are you a fantastic deadlifter, tough, because you now have to run 10k to get some water? A yoga specialist? Damn, you now have to shift a ton of rubble to rescue your family. A runner? Now you have to  pull yourself out of a hole. Bugger!

So that's my view. Agree or not.

But what are the Olympic lifts?

According to me, in a less witty writing style:

"The Olympic lifts are a sole-participant, self-paced skill performed in a static environmental context.  The move is initiated by the performer, which  according to Gentile (Schmidt  & Weisberg, 2000) makes this a closed motor skill. It is an object manipulation action function involving the change of position of a barbell  (Magill 2007), requiring correct management  and the adjustment of body position to counteract the in-balance created by the object and conforms to  skill definitions suggested by both Knapp (cited in Guthrie 1953) and Magill (2007): a learned ability, maximum certainty, minimum of time and energy with predetermined results and, according to   Schmidt & Weisberg (2000) produced as a function of practice.

The snatch  for example is   a ground based  multi-joint weightlifting exercise. The athlete exerts large multiple-muscle group force whilst standing on his own feet, thus developing balance and  coordination. The speed develops the nervous system (Garhammer, 1985). The move requires a triple extension at the ankle, knee and hip - a  jumping athletic movement, which  demands the athlete recruits muscles in  a synchronized pattern. The move develops explosive power:  and requires a high degree of kinesthesis or proprioception (Magill, 2007) The larger muscles are mainly used, making this a gross motor skill,  requiring both gross motor and psychomotor ability (Magill, 2007)" (Stemler, 2009)


But for those who like multiple references:

According to Arthur Drechsler, author of The Weightlifting Encyclopedia often cited as "the single most important book ever written on Olympic weightlifting" (by people who cannot possibly have the read this boring book),

1. Practicing the (Olympic) lifts [the snatch and the clean-and- jerk as well as related lifting techniques] teaches an athlete how to explode.
2. Practicing proper technique in the Olympic lifts teaches an athlete to apply force with his or her muscle groups in the proper sequences.
3. In mastering the Olympic lifts, the athlete learns how to accelerate objects under varying degrees of resistance.
4. The athlete learns to receive force from another moving body effectively, and becomes conditioned to accept such forces.
5. The athlete learns to move effectively from an eccentric to concentric muscle action.
6. The actual movements performed while executing the Olympic lifts are among the most common and fundamental in sports.
7. Practicing the Olympic lifts trains an athlete's explosive capabilities, and the lifts themselves measure the effectiveness of the athlete in generating explosive power to a greater degree than most other exercises they can practice.
8. The Olympic lifts are simply fun to do.

Chiu and Schilling (2005) observe that Olympic weightlifting is associated with improvements in motor control, noticeably improved activation of muscle groups and motor units, and activation of more fast-twitch fibers. Hence the skills are also taught to many athletes as part of their strength, conditioning and power  programmes, and are not pursed as a sport  in their own right.

How do you learn this stuff.

Without a doubt, you must learn the snatch with a bit of PVC pipe in a Crossfit London UK - style of seminar. A good 2 hours of marine-type drilling will get you the basics of the snatch .You can build on this in the years to come. I recommend this  because it was the way I was taught.  It's the method we use on the i-course, and I have used it for  5 years of one-on-one and class training. It has received praise in scientific literature.

I think it's very superior to throwing a  20kg bar at someone and telling  them to get on with it. I see this approach too often in the few remaining "authentic" lifting clubs around - or certainly those that are competition-orientated who believe that your training should be as abusive and poor as the training they had, combined with the belief that breaking complex skills down is "spoon feeding".

Me,  I love being spoon fed.

Once you have the basics, start adding weight. It's as  simple as that.

So Olympic lifting is essential to be  a functional athlete?

There are generations  of strong, effective, functional people who have destroyed whole civilizations, and mutilated acres of this  planet's surface who never  heard of the Olympic lifts, let alone screwed one up. (Incidently, missing a lift is the more fun part of lifting: hence the famous books, "When Lifting Goes Bad"," Missed Lifts That Amost Killed Me", "Missed Lifts That Almost Killed The Cat",  "Missed Lifts That Actually Got The Cat","Why Your Cat Doesn't Want You to Olympic Lift".)

So, no, it's not essential.

In the same way it's not essential to buy your girlfriend flowers.

If it's so great how come its so underground?

For those of us who have lifted for a while, and see throwing a bar into the air then catching it as normal, we must remember that all this fun has all but been wiped out as a general fitness activity. Most gyms don't have bars, certainly cannot be bothered to buy expensive bumper plates, and will go beserk if you drop  a weight on the floor. Above all they don't employ staff with enough skill to teach the lifts. Those that have the skill at your local leisure centre, quickly leave.

As a competitive activity, lifting appeals to  a minority of a minority. As an all-day sporting event in anything below Olympic level, to watch or to take part in, it is viciously boring. I don't intend to compete/watch again. If I do, I'm taking a spoon to scoop out my eyes with halfway through the day, just to break the boredom.

But to take an activity this effective and make it this unheard of, takes some doing. Until recently Olympic lifting has been seen as a dedicated sport (yawn, yawn, see above), controlled by a  very well meaning,  government handout-obsessed but incompetent group of old boys who have managed to make a boring sport difficult to access and learn. The years of mismanagement and introspective alienation of new trainees needs acknowledgement and praise. Their love and devotion to the sport is without question. If only that was enough.

But why did the Olympic lifts come crashing back to life.

Rapid, force-generating hip extension has always been at the heart of athletics ( jumping, sprinting etc), but this force has always been seen as a single explosion  The few athletes who are encouraged to take up the Olympic lifts normally focus on low-repetition and high weight, in pursuit of Olympic weightlifting's objectives of power and strength.

According to Greg Glassman, Crossfits founder, the value of the lifts outstrips their much-promoted development of strength and power.  Those who struggle to learn the clean often suffer from a lack of sufficient speed, flexibility and ability  irrespective of how much imagined strength they possess. Refinement of the move calls for exacting standards of coordination accuracy and balance which often outstrips the ability of most  strength specialists

His observation that directly proportional to the load you can clean are the benefits, strength, power, accuracy, flexibility, speed, accuracy, agility and balance, is a standard proposition. However his second, unique, world-changing, visionary observation was that your cardiorespiratory endurance and stamina are directly proportional to the reps and loads you can clean. Crossfit, to my knowledge, was unique in the early days in requiring repeated hip extension under fatiguing conditions which, arguably, is more functionally relevant than the best you can lift. The ability to do one thing explosively, once, is very overrated (there is the potential for a smutty joke here that I am rising above).

Heretically, Greg also goes on to state that you don't need to be able to do the lifts super-well to get super-benefits. This must have a been a stinging slap in the face for the old boys who had spent years  of effort working out the most effective way to lift half a kilo more.

This is a complete exercise which incorporates a "super-useful" core to extremity motor recruitment pattern, along with learning how to generate and transmit large and sudden forces.

From another perspective, it builds bravery and stupidity, the two essentials for any elite functional athlete . The Olympic lifts involve throwing stuff from the floor to above your head (while standing). Visualise the issue - you have thrown something heavy into the air, and it's now crashing down upon you…

You have two  options,

1) Run like hell or
2) Stay and catch it.

Option 1 is sensible and demonstrates a mature ability to identify risk. Option 2 is dangerous, foolhardy, bound to end in tears -  and - incidently, the right answer.


A great group coaching point, but on a refined level it may not work for everyone. ( pocket sizes, arm lengths, thigh lengths vary… they do really!) Some are happy to experiment, others need drills to guide their learning.

Here is a box jump drill that could help. (click here if the you tube box does not show)

If you want to learn the Olympic lifts, or get your form improved, drop Andrews Stemler an email onandrew@crossfitlondonuk.com



 Getting depressed that you cannot lift as much as young people? here are the qualifying totals for BWLA masters national competitions


 54  59  64  69 74
 79  80
 107  95  82  72  57  55  55
 120  105  90  80  62  55  55
 69kg  155  147  137  132  115  100  87  67  60  55
 77kg  170  162  147  142  122  107  95  72  65  60
 85  180  170  157  150  130  115  102  77  70  65
 94  190  180  165  157  137  120  107  180  72  67
 105  197  187  172  165 142  125  110  85 77
 105+  205  195  180  170  147  130  115  90
 80  72


PRESSING SNATCH BALANCE: Start with the bar resting on your shoulder like a back squat with a snatch width grip on the bar and your feet are in the landing position. Slowly begin to push your body under the bar until you are in the bottom position of the overhead squat. Make sure your arms are locked out and your shoulders are shrugged. Stand up, then lower the bar to your shoulders and repeat. On this exercise the bar does not raise off of your shoulder the bar remains fixed at that height while you push your body under the bar.

SNATCH BALANCE Same set up as the pressing snatch balance only now take a quick dip and drive the bar up like a push press, then push your body down under the bar into the bottom position of an overhead squat. Stand up with the bar locked out overhead. Lower to the shoulder and repeat.

HEAVING SNATCH BALANCE Same set up as the pressing and heaving snatch balance except your feet are going to begin in the jumping position. Now take your quick dip & drive the bar up. While pushing yourself under the bar quickly move your feet from the jumping position out to the landing position. Your arms should lock out the same time as your feet contact the floor and you should be in the bottom position of the overhead squat. Stand up with the bar over your head. Lower the bar to your shoulders and repeat.




Olympic weightlifting Hook Grip

Once you have taped your thumbs, grab the bar with your thumb inside your fist (like a really bad fist). It will be uncomfortable at first, but gets easier. It's better than trying it without tape.

Olympic weightlifting Hook Grip

The learning and practice of  Olympic Weightlifting from a Psychological point of view

By Andrew Stemler

As a quick introduction, Crossfit london has a central role in the development of Olympic weightlifting in the UK. We try and understand this sport on every level

This paper describes the learning and practice of the snatch, from the sport of Olympic style weightlifting where a barbell is pulled from the floor to overhead and caught in a deep squat. Many of the skill and learning issues are the same for the other Olympic lift the clean where the bar is caught on the shoulders), so illustrations will be used from both activities. It is described as a discrete, gross motor skill and a combined throw and catch. The learning curve is initially positively accelerated then becomes stepped, and pyramidal at advanced levels. Demonstration and extensive cueing are used in the early stages of learning as is segmentation and light weights. Feedback focuses on knowledge of performance. The strength element of the move influences the selection of practice type. The whole spectrum of imagery and self talk moves from technical to motivational.

Chiu and Schilling (2005) observe that Olympic weightlifting is associated with improvements in motor control, noticeably improved activation of muscle groups and motor units, and activation of more fast twitch fibers, hence the skills are also taught to many athletes as part of their strength, conditioning and power  programmes and are  not pursed as a sport  in their own right.

The Olympic Lifts are   a sole participant, self paced skill, performed in a static environmental context.  The move is initiated by the performer, which  according to Gentile (Schmidt  & Weisberg, 2000) makes this  a closed motor skill. It is an object manipulation action function involving the change of position of a barbell  (Magill 2007), requiring correct management  and the adjustment of body position to counteract the in-balance created by the object and conforms to  skill definitions suggested by both Knapp (cited in Guthrie 1953) and Magill (2007): a learned ability, maximum certainty, minimum of time and energy with predetermined results and, according to   Schmidt & Weisberg (2000) produced as a function of practice.

The snatch is   a ground based  multi joint weightlifting exercise, the athlete  exert large  multiple muscle group force whiles standing on his own feet thus developing balance and  coordination: the speed   develops the nervous system (Garhammer, 1985) requires a triple extension at the ankle knee and hip, a  jumping athletic movement, demands the athlete recruits muscles in  a synchronized pattern, develops explosive power:  requiring a high degree of kinesthesis or proprioception (Magill, 2007) The larger muscles are mainly used, making this a  gross motor skill,  requiring both gross motor  and psychomotor ability (Magill, 2007)

According to Charniga (2001) the lifts involve a combination of lifting and catching which, using Gentiles (Magill, 2007) taxonomy   is a mixture of 2B, a throw, combined with 4B, a catch.   4B is higher up the skill table (Magill, 2007) suggesting the catch element of the move to be more problematic than the throw aspect. Hence Newton (1984) recommends that athletes should learn the receiving position 1st,, then the 2ndpull.

Lears (1989) observes  the sport  to be  a changing apparatus:  the aim is to lift more each time, and thus  creates  different velocities  and changing weights resulting, in  intertrial variability  (Gentiles, cited in Magill, 2007) .  When demonstrated as a sport, the lifts are performed as single attempts, making this a discreet skill (Magill, 2007).

When the move is evaluated as a learning or performance curve, the early cognitive stages represent a positively accelerated progression.  However, the skill ultimately reflects dynamic strength (Zatsiorsky,  2006)  with practice stepped , pyramidal and periodized as  higher gains  are sought and progress becomes slower (Rippetoe and Kilgore, 2005, Bompa, 1999)  reflecting the associative and autonomous stages of Fitts and Posners model (Magill, 2007)

Learning stages reflect much of the literature with the need for an overt cognitive  Stage ( Fitts and Posner 1967, cited in Magill, 2007 ) where very clear progressions and skill break downs are deployed. Crossfit London (2005) indicates some 32 separate stages or progressive practices. For absolute novices, its best to use a wooden pole or polyvinyl chloride pipe (Hori and stone, 2005).

According to Hedrick (2004) most  strength and conditioning coaches avoid teaching the lifts  because of the technical demands but he   suggests he has taught thousands of (US air force academy) athletes to clean with good  technique which  is essential (Chiu & Schilling 2005, Hori and Stone, 2005) as is   attention to detail (Lear, 1989)

Many teaching practices simplify the skill, thus addressing  the degrees of freedom issue (Magill,  2007) but also reflect the fact that part of the skill can be used to develop power generation.  Hori and stone (2005) recommend practices that begin from the hang or from boxes, to simplify learning and  take  advantage of the  high velocity and acceleration output.

Hedricks (2004)   suggests 12 steps: Education, modelling, foot position, hand position, grip, start position, jump shrug, low pull, high pull, clean adjusting foot position and squat clean.  Garhammer (1984) sees three distinct phases the 1st pull, the second pull (including the transitioning double knee bend) and receiving the bar.

Some teachers focus on the Double knee bend teaching  and practicing it  segmentally; research suggests this does  not need to be  specifically taught or practiced. (Gentry, 1999)  Some believe this to be an overt coached move, others that it is a natural move that some do or don't have (Jones 1991, Walsh 1989) Never the less, Johnson (1982) details segmental exercises.

In order to assist learning in the cognitive stages, BWLA ( the British weight lifting association)  rely  on a set teaching  sequence with demonstration at its heart (Lear 1989) . According to Magill (2007) demonstration works best when the skill to be acquired is about  mastering unfamiliar patterns of movement hence there is a widespread use  of observational learning (Bandura, 1986), modelling, and demonstration (Magill, 1998, Cumming et al., 2005).

Adeyanjou (2005), Heyes and Foster (2002), Hebert and Landin (1994), all suggest that repeatedly watching live or video taped performances can result in enhanced skill acquisition. Magill (2007) shows beginners, observing other beginners, will perform at a higher level.  There is an emphasise on verbal cues, (Landin, 1994) which are used extensively in coaching the lifts (Crossfit London 2005), and are often combined with demonstrations (Cissik, 1998)

As with many skills and sport, feedback is essential to assist learning and the development of the snatch.  In the early stages there is sufficient task intrinsic feedback (Magill, 2007) as the lift is either achieved or failed. However, it is possible to successfully lift weights badly; so much coaching focuses on feeding back knowledge of performance, rather than knowledge of results.  Learning is about force control and applying the right amount of control (Magill, 2007). The teaching aim is to over  overcomes the  end state comfort control issue, were trainees use incorrect form as it feels easier, but drill  correct mechanics.(Cohen & Rosenbaum 2004, cited in Magill)

However, feedback tends to mirror all spectrums of coaching available: Kono (2001) suggest that many early stage athletes receive poor quality coaching.

Like many challenging skills the problem is in the transition from one phase to another, throw to catch, which relies on a strong stimulus response bond created by practice (Magill, 2007).

The sport has a large foundation in deliberate practice. Much of the repetition levels are low i.e. one to five repetitions of amounts reflecting 90+% of the lifters one rep max. According to Ericsson (Magill, 2007) this is not intrinsically motivating, requires high levels of attention and does not leads to immediate social or financial rewards

Much practice focuses on retaining skill at escalating levels of maximal muscular contraction (Lear, 1989).

Many psychological studies are on continuous skills rather than discrete skills (Lee and Genovese, 1988). The snatch is about maximal lifts and practice tends to be grouped at the minimal repetition/ maximal strength end of the training spectrum, there being no strength  benefit to training with lesser weight ratios, with higher ones not physically possible (Zatsiorsky, 1995)  conforming to Ericssons  ( Magill, 2007)  view  that training  quality is vital and needs to be appropriately difficult.  However at the elite end training sessions are  variable as athletes would be unable to tolerate a maximum lift regime.(Rippetoe, 2005).

Both schmidts  Schema theory and   Gentiles learning stage model (Magill, 2007), suggest  variability to be the key to successful future performance. Standard variability practice  is not conducted against a maximum effort  back ground, but well within the  students capability (Shea et al., 1990). This  is clearly distinguished from an attempt to lift the heaviest weight possible. It is note worthy that some athletes win competitions by lifting a weight they had not achieved in practice, lending possible support to both of the conflicting theories of motor programme learning as advocated by Schmidt versus dynamic theory pattern as advocated by Kelso (Magill, 2007).

The study of lifting practices can be deceptive as many athletes use the lifts as a power training system, and not as a competitive event in its own right,  and  focus on weights in the 70% of 1 RM (Garhammer, 1985).

Practice can be subdivided into structural units: training sessions, training day and various periodized cycles (Bompa,1999), where the aim is to keep athletes fresh and vary the training intensity (Zatsiorsky, 1995 ) Elite practice tends to be shorter, multiple session and distributed, rather than massed, practice to allow for rest as fatigue negatively influences learning (Magill, 2007).

As the skill is  high in complexity  there is  substantial use of Whole Part Whole practices, but with variation at various stages of learning. Some exercise regimes will take the novice back to basic muscle strength and set isolating exercises (tricep extension, and hamstring curls).  This is not without controversy, as some coaches see no value in breaking exercises down to individual muscle level as they offer no specificity of practice (Magill, 2007).  Some advanced coaches even object to the inclusion of the back squat as having little transfer to the speed  of the snatch (Charniga, 2001)

At an elite level, the tendency, in the absence of rehabilitation, is to focus on compound movement   (Lear, 1989) or meaningful chunks as the associative and autonomous stages are reached (Magill, 2007)

Various experiments have concluded that the correct imagery can enhance strength (Chaiwanichsiri et al., 2006 &  Ranganathan  et al.,2003).  Silbernagel et al (2007) ascertained that many weight trainees use the whole spectrum of imagery, both cognitive specific and motivational. Munroe-Chandler (2004) identifies that weight trainee's use imagery in the following order: appearance, technique and energy, but grouped body builders in the same category as athletic lifters and studies the subject as "exercise addiction". These experiments were single joint isolation exercises and may not apply to athletic moves. Zatsiorsky (1995) notes that Olympic lifts do not primarily provoke hypertrophic growth: making it an unsuitable mechanism to discharge body dismorphia.   Kono (2001) states that positive thinking clues and technical phrases are used by Olympic level lifters, suggesting technique and success (in lifting) imagery and self talk is the focus of the weightlifting athlete.

Rushall (1984) indicates that athletes use self talk to cover all aspects of training, both specific and motivational. Milller (2006) notes the use of cues and self talk raises from technical to motivational as higher skill levels are reached.

This paper ascertained that the snatch is a discrete, gross motor skill and a combined throw and catch. The learning curve is positively accelerated for beginners, and then becomes stepped and pyramidal at advanced levels.  The practice of the sport is influenced by its unique strength nature, but never the less follows traditional learning patterns of using demonstration, cueing, segmentation, imagery and self talk.


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Bompa T (1999)  Periodization training for sports Human kinetics United states.

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Charniga A (2001) The relative value of  pulling exercises in the training of weight lifters Part 1 www.dynami-eleiko.com

Chiu L  Schilling B A primer on weighlifting from sport to sport training National strength and conditioning association vol 27 no1 42-48

Cissik, J (1998) An introduction to Olympic Style  Weightlifting McGaw-Hill USA

Crossfit London 2005  accessed at www.Stemlerfit.com

Garhammer J  1984  Power clean kinesiological evaluation. National strength and conditioning association  journal 40, 61-63

Gentry Roy, 1999  "a comparison of two instructional methods of teaching the power clean weight training exercise to intercollegiate football players with novice power clean experience"  Part of  a doctorate submission to the Virginia polytechnic institute.
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Heyes, C., & Foster, C. (2002). Motor learning by observation: evidence from a serial reaction time task. The quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 2002 55A(2) 593-607

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Jones  L (1991)Coaching accredition Course Club Coach  Manuel. US weight lifting federation

Kono t. 2001  "weightlifting Olympic style" Hawaii kono company USA

Landin D 1994 the role of verbal cues in skill learning. Quest. 46 299-313

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Miller  A J 2006. The influence of types and selection of mental preparation statements on collegiate cross-country runners' athletic performance and satisfaction levels

Accessed at http://www.ohiolink.edu/etd/send-pdf.cgi?miami1145904211

Munroe-chandler, Kim, 2004  Using imagery to predict weightlifting dependency in men International Journal of Men's health accessed at  http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0PAU/is_2_3/ai_n8966587/pg_1

Newton H  1984 Bridging the gap power clean. National strength and conditioning journal vol 6 no 3 64-66

Ranganathan V, Siemionow V, Liu J, Sahgal V Yue G (2003) From mental power to muscle power-gaining strength by using the mind Neuropsychologica 11.018

Rippetoe M (2006)  The power clean  Crossfit Journal Aug 48 6-9

Rippetoe Mark and  Kilgore Lon (2005), Starting Strength  a simple and practical guide for coaching beginners The Aasgaard Company, Wichita Falls

Rushall, B.S. (1984). The content of competition thinking. In W.F. Straub & J.M. Williams (Eds.), Cognitive Sport Psychology (pp 51-62). Lansing, NY: Sport Science Associates.

Silbernagel Ms, Short SE Ross Stewart LC Athletes use of imagery during weight training  Journal of Strength and  Conditioning research. 2007, Nov(4) 1077-81

Schmidt ,RA & Weisberg G 2000 Motor Learning and performance (2nd ed) Champaign,IL Human Kinetics

Shea C and Kohl R   & Indermill C 1990 Contextual interference contributions of practice  Acta Psychologica 73

Walsh B (1989) the scoop in Olympic  style pulling movements- is it a teachable commodity National strength and conditioning Association journal 112, 65 67

Zatsiorsky V  & Kraemer W (2006) Science and practice of strength training   (2nd ed Human Kinetics usa)


But What if some one really cannot "get" the lifts:  

Well, we look at 2 things at Crossfit London.

 1) we can always look at high pulls and jumping squats, 


2) interestingly we teach the medicine ball clean 



The medicine ball clean builds on the the Sumo Deadlift High Pull  but adds a pull under the object.


client instructions

intended outcomes

client cues

equipment required
medicine balls ( larger ones if possible) various weights 2 to 10kg

 Stance = shoulder width or slightly wider

 Weight in heels

lumbar curve locked in

 Shoulders over the ball

Ball on the floor between the legs with clearance for the arms Arms straight, palms on outside of the ball; fingertips pointing down

correct starting position

get over the ball


stand up with the med ball


stand agressively and  shrug

adding the shrug to the drive

stand and shrug

stand shrug let go

 see if you can get the ball to "live" . take your hands off at the top of the shrug, se if it "floats"

make your medicine ball live

medicine ball front squat
hold the medicine ball in front of your face, then squat

a medicine ball front squat

keep the ball in front of you..

stand tall and drop. get on the balls of your feet with your shoulders shrugged, with an imaginary medicine ball, drop into a squat, catch your imaginary medicine ball

practise the drop without the ball

drop, and catch

try the same drill with a medicine ball

practise the drop with a medicine ball

drop aqnd catch...this time its real

lets try the whole thing

thw whole thing

drive and drop. Whats not to like


pulling early with the arms

tossing the medicine ball

bicep curling the ball

early pull, long arm stand shrugs

tossing the ball: hold the ball with palms only

bicep curling : hold the ball for them and make them drop

long arms
take your fingers off



Olympic Weightlifting Literature Review.

I want to try and consolidate all of the present research on the Olympic lifts, so as reports surface (or I find old ones) I'll put the title here along with a review of the conclusion.

The Snatch Technique of World Class Weightlifters at the 1985 World Championships. Baumann, Gross, Quade, Galbierz & Schwitz. International Journal of Sports Biomechanics 1988, 4, 68-89 

 This study used 3D  film and measured ground reaction forces in the 1985 world championships in Sweden. The most interesting discovery was that knee joint movements are fairly small (1/3rd of the hip joint moments of force) and do not correlate well with the total load. Better lifts actively control their knee movements.

The report identifies the point at which the lifter drops under the bar to be the most important and technically most difficult . Its interesting to note that the trajectory of the bar  comes in towards the lifter. Many coaches emphasize bringing the hips to the bar.

it was noted that the movement ends with a jump backwards under the barbell. ( this has been noted by Garhammer(1985) and Vorobyev(1978) who thought it a fault. It was also noted that the pull brought the bar to approx 60% of the lifters stature.

Garhammer John 1989 Weightlifting and Training(chapter 5) in Biomechanics of Sport ed Christopher L. Vaughan PHD CRC press Florida.

 This is quite a comprehensive( review) chapter and identifies  these characteristics in better lifters

1 ) faster movements

2)  body extension during the pull

3)  lower peak bar height relative to body size

Garhammer John  & Takano Bob, Training for weightlifting (chapter 25) in Strength and Power in Sport 2nd edition edited by PV Komi 2002 vol3page 502-535.


Below is an extract from Tommy Konos book showing successful and unsuccesful pull heights and the trajectory of the bar during the snatch



Check out coaches info. This is a great site with some interesting analysis of the snatch and clean http://www.coachesinfo.com/

Garhammer John, ( accessed from the internet  Dec 2008) .Barbell Trajectory, velocity and power changes and four world records

This study took place at the 1999 junior world weightlifting championships ( savannah, Georgia). The aim was to support the concept of using sub-maximal training lifts to increase power output. The paper concludes tht 75% -85% of 1 RM is best to produce maximal power output.


Once you dip into the murkey world of Sport science, you eventually come across the dreaded t-test. Because of the programme SPSS, its mainly taught as monkey see monkey do ( well, most sport scientists are thick).

Here is the basis of the concept of T


IF YOU MEET MR OR MS "right"....................


.........ask them to hold that thought for 3 months awful, but true. If you meet the person of your dreams: your soulmate: your true love, do not, repeat do not go out with them! simply, ask them to wait. For 3 months.


In the next three months you should:


IF YOU ARE A BOY : Seek out that  girl who is  "Crazy and free". The one who tells you she is happy having an open relationship with you,  and will never make demands on you.  She simply offers carefree casual sex, with no expectations of  being taken out, presents or commitment. Then watch as she turns into the jealous bitch from hell, as she steals your details, max's your credit cards, goes through your address book and drunkenly phones all your contacts at 2 am in the morning to ask why you are so heartless, or demands to know where you are.....

IF YOU ARE A GIRL hook up with that floppy-fringed guitar-playing dreamboat; and hang on to your pants as his caresses turn into punches that wont bruise, watch as he howls done the phone to your mum what an untrustworthly slag you are, nicks money from your purse, and shags your friends. Badly.


Once you have extracted yourself from these disastrous relationships (and had the STD tests results back), go straight back to the right person and have a delightful, happy, idyllic, fulfilled lifeknowing that you are doing the right thing. Knowing that even if  things get a bit tense, its loads, absolutely massively better than going out with that psycho.


And snatching is a bit like that: Once you meet  your 1 rep max, ask it to wait a bit, sneak off and hangout with some incredibly heavy snatch high-pulls. When you go back to your snatch, it will seem like angels are wafting the bar up to heaven.

Trust me.



Olympic Weightlifting and the 2012 Olympics



Well, Im lucky that I live in the middle of stratford, just by the stadium , and not far from Excel where the Olympic Weightlifting will be held. Its scheduled between the 28th July and 7 August

According to the olympics web sites, its "One of the most straightforward sports on the London 2012 Olympic Games" 
The basics


There are 15 weight categories, eight for men and seven for women. 

Each event features two types of lift.

The snatch: the bar is lifted from the floor to above the head in one movement.

The clean and jerk : The bar is first brought up to the shoulders before being jerked over the head.

Each lifter is allowed three attempts at the snatch and three attempts at the clean and jerk, and their best lift in each discipline counts towards their total. 

Bad moves: 
  • No lift: A lift that is judged to be unsuccessful by at least two of the three referees.
  • Press out: An illegal move where the lifter bends the arms while holding the bar overhead, then presses them out to straighten them.

See the London 2012 Olympic Games competition schedule

If you have tickets, enjoy. I teach the olympic lifts locally and  because I am a member of BWLA , I got some priority tickets.

Well done Zoe smith!. Great to see her passing her qualifying levels at the Europeans 

More  Olympic Weighlifting Sources 

I found these  references attached to an interesting  olympic weightlifting review. I thought i would park them here while I review them 


Akkus, H. (2011) Kinematic analysis of the snatch lift with elite female weightlifters during the 2010 World Weightlifting Championship. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, (In press).

Bartonietz, K.E. (1996) Biomechanics of the snatch: Toward a higher training efficiency. National Strength & Conditioning Association Journal 18, 24-31.

Baumann, W., Gross, V., Quade, K., Galbierz, P. and Schwirtz, A. (1988) The snatch technique of World Class Weightlifters at the 1985 World Championships. International Journal of Sport Biomechanics 4, 68-89.

Burdett, R.G. (1982) Biomechanics of the snatch technique of highly skilled and skilled weightliftersResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport 53, 193-197.

Campos, J., Poletaev, P., Cuesta, A., Pablos, C. and Carratala, V. (2006) Kinematical analysis of the snatch in elite weightlifters of different weight categories. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 20, 843-850.

Cohen, J. (1988) Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. 2nd edition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Enoka, R.M. (1979) The pull in Olympic weightlifting. Medicine Science in Sports 11, 131-137.

Garhammer, J. (1980) Power production by Olympic weightlifters. Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise 12, 54-60.

Garhammer, J. (1985) Biomechanical profile of Olympic weightlifters. International Journal of Sport Biomechanics 1, 122-130.

Garhammer, J. (1989) Weightlifting and training. In: Biomechanics of sport. Eds: Vaughn, C.L. Boca Raton, FL: CRC press. 169-211.

Garhammer, J. (1991) A comparison of maximal power outputs between elite male and female weightlifters in competitionIInternational Journal of Sport Biomechanics 7, 3-11.

Garhammer, J. and Gregor, R. (1992) Propulsion forces as a function of intensity for weightlifting and vertical jumping.JJournal of Applied Sport Science Research 6, 129-134.

Garhammer, J. and Takano, B. (1992) Training for weightlifting. In: Strength and Power in Sport. Ed: Komi, PV, Blackwell Scientific Publications. 357-362.

Garhammer, J. (1993) A review of power output studies of olympic and powerlifting: Methodology, performance prediction, and evaluation tests. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 7, 76-89.

Garhammer, J. (1998) Weightlifting performance and techniques of men and women. In: International Conference on Weightlifting and Strength Training. Ed: Komi, P.V. Lahti, Finland: Gummerus Printing. 89-94.

Garhammer, J., Kauhanen, H. and Hakkinen, K.A. (2002) Comparison of performances by woman at the 1987 and 1998 world weightlifting championships. In: Science for Success CongressJyvaskyla, Finland, October 2-4. Available form URL: http://www.csulb.edu/~atlastwl/98vs87womenWLcompare(poster).pdf)

Gourgoulis, V., Aggelousis, N., Mavromatis, G. and Garas, A. (2000) Three-dimensional kinematic analysis of the snatch of elite Greek weightlifters. JJournal of Sport Science 18, 643-652.

Gourgoulis, V., Aggeloussis, N., Antoniou, P., Chritoforidis, C., Mavromatis, G. and Garas, A. (2002) Comparative 3-Dimensional kinematic analysis of the snatch technique in elite male and female Greek weightlifters. JJournal of Strength and Conditioning Research 116, 359-366.

Gourgoulis, V., Aggeloussis, N., Kalivas, V., Antoniou, P. and Mavromatis, G. (2004) Snatch lift kinematics and bar energetics in male adolescent and adult weightlifters. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 44, 126-31.

Gourgoulis, V., Aggelousis, N., Garas, A. and Mavromatis, G. (2009) Unsuccessful vs. successful performance in snatch lifts: a kinematic approach. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 223, 486-494.

Hakkinen, K., Kauhanen, H. and Komi V.P. (1984) Biomechanical changes in the Olympic weightlifting technique of the snatch and clean and jerk from submaximal to maximal loads. Scandinavian Journal of Sports Sciences 6, 57-66.

Hoover, D.L., Carlson, K.M., Christensen, B.K. and Zebas, C.J. (2006) Biomechanical analysis of women weightlifters during the snatch. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 220, 627-633.

Isaka, T., Okada, T. and Fuanto, K. (1996) Kinematic analysis of the barbell during the snatch movement in elite Asian weightlifters. JJournal of Applied Biomechanics 12, 508-516.

Kipp, K., Harris, C. and Sabick, M.B. (2011) Lower extremity biomechanics during weightlifting exercise vary across joint and load. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 225, 1229-1234.

Stone M.H., O'Braynt, H.S., Williams, F.E. and Johnson, R.L. (1998) Analysis of bar paths during the snatch in elite male weightlifters. National Strength & Conditioning Association 20, 30-38.

Winter, D.A. (2005) Biomechanics and motor control of human movement. 3th edition. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. New Jersey.