I’ve had a bunch of Olympic Lifting talk going on this week and for good reason, the Olympic Lifts work like crazy at getting you STRONGER, FASTER, and more EXPLOSIVE.

Along with all of those great performance benefits you’ll also be able to build more lean muscle and shred bodyfat while adding in the Olympic Lifts into your routines as well.

I can remember it wasn’t until my Senior year of college when I finally started to add in the Olympic Lifts by doing the snatch plus the clean and jerk more often.

Of course we did the hang clean and power clean back then…  We maxed out in that all the time and I can remember guys having the shittiest form ever (including myself)!

It usually looked like this…


For you coaches and trainers out there…  what major mistakes are happening in this video?  How can these athletes improve?  Drop your thoughts and responses in the comments below!

Now, I’m not trying to say I’m the best coach around or that I have the absolute best form in the world or anything like that, but there’s a LOT of things majorly wrong going on in this weight room here…

I can relate with this because that’s what my high school weight room used to look like!  Not good!

I’m thankful that I nor any of my teammates back then never tore an ACL or got injured in any other way.  There’s were some small injuries here and there, but nothing major.

The bottom line is this: If you’re going to be using the Olympic Lifts within your program to reap the many benefits they offer, make sure to do them right by learning the correct progressions and techniques.  Get good at lighter weights first, then progress up to using heavier loads.

Doing the Olympic Lifts wrong won’t do you any good and will likely only lead you to injury especially if you’re trying to put as much weight on the bar as you can.


Now, with that important note, I’ve been getting quite a few questions about Olympic Lifting, so I went ahead and took out the most common one’s I’ve been getting and answered them below for you.

Question:  Travis, What if I don’t have Bumpers?  Should I attempt the Olympic Lifts without bumpers?  What should I do?

First of all, not doing Olympic Lifts simply because you don’t have bumper plates is nothing more then a HUGE EXCUSE…

I just recently got bumpers in my gym about a year ago, but before that I was always doing Olympic lifts with steel plates…

Yeah you can’t do the drops you do with normal bumpers, but you can still get it done.

In fact, I think that not having bumpers for the longest time actually helped me get a lot stronger by always forcing me to be in total control of the weight, especially when I had to bring it down from overhead.

It is nice to drop the weight when you’re doing heavier loads and it helps reduce soreness from lifting as he lowering portion of a lift is what gets you the worst and causes you to get the most sore.  When you can avoid this, you can train with more frequently and with more volume.

Question: Travis, What do you think about Olympic Lifting Shoes?  Are they essential?

Again, just like with the bumper plates, these aren’t essential, but lifting shoes will definitely help aid in increasing your ability to perform the Olympic lifts better.  In fact, your squats will greatly improve!

I just recently got my own pair of lifting shoes about 3 months back as I jumped on the band wagon and got the very popular Reebok Oly Shoes.

I like them and I feel they aid in my Olympic lifts for sure.

However, before I got those, I lifted in regular shoes before that and still made great gains.  For the last 4 years or so I’ve always trained in a minimlist type shoe such as the Nike Free or now, New Balance Minimus.

Overall, if you looking to become competitive in the Olympic Lifts, I feel it is essential you get a pair of Oly lifting shoes (which you probably already have done if you are serious).  If not, I don’t feel the need to have a pair 100%.

Question: Travis, Do you use Lifting Straps for the Olympic Lifts?

First off, I never use strap anymore.  In fact, I don’t think I have a single pair of lifting straps anywhere in my gym.

If you want a stronger grip, I would strongly recommend the only aid you use for grip is chalk.

I say that it’s OK to use straps for your power pulls in the snatch and clean, but I would recommend NOT using them for the full variations of the Olympic lifts.

If you have to bail out or lose control of the bar and you got straps on, bad things will happen!

Sh*t, Bad things happen without straps on…

I would just focus on getting your grip stronger by not using straps.  Again, if you’re working on using a heavier load and doing power snatch pulls or power clean pulls, I say it’s ok to use strap then.

If you have a weak grip, I suggest always adding in at least two to three grip training movement in at the end of your training session to focus in on bringing that weakness up.

I’ll do wrist roller, plate pinches, farmer walks, reps with the captains of crush grippers.  It only takes but adding 10 mins at the end of your training sessions..  I wrote a post about getting a stronger grip HERE.

If your grip sucks, it will definitely cross over into effecting your Olympic Lifts.
Travis, What if I’ve never done the Olympic Lifts before?  

First thing I would say is to do them without the barbell first to get down the proper form and technique…

Doing DB cleans and snatches require you have the same type of explosive triple extension (or quadruple extension as Eric Wong talks about) of your body to complete the lifts.

The same goes for doing the Olympic Lifts with sandbags in that you need to be fast and explosive.

The main reason I have most of my athletes and clients do Olympic Lifts with DB’s and sandbags is because they pick up the movements very fast without any previous Olympic Lifting training.

Funny I say that since I’m talking all about the barbell variations, but you’ve got to get the right movement patterns down first and go from there.

LEARN and take it slow…  When it comes to training, there’s this thing called PROGRESSION…

And when it comes to the Olympic Lifts with a barbell, it gets technical so they will take a bit of time to get down solid, but as you learn, you’ll be progressing and getting better as a whole.

Think of learning the Olympic Lifts as another challenge standing in front of you trying to hold you back from success!  

Your best bet is to get info from a solid and creditable source LIKE THIS or HIRE a good coach.

Last thing you want to do is start doing high rep Olympic Lifting WODS which will totally f*ck your sh*t up…


Now again, I’m not here to point fingers and talk down on anything or anyone.  I just feel the need for you to see this stuff so you don’t become apart of it.

My good friend and fellow strength coach, Matt Wichlinski posted this video up a few months back and sent it to me.  When I first saw it, I laughed my ass off, but then I was in shock!  The commentary is funny as all hell, but there’s an important lesson to be learned here.

Train 110% H.A.M. but Train SMART…

I’m all for pushing yourself, especially in the light of competition, but there needs to be a line drawn in the sand somewhere.

Remember as I stated above….   Always think about the RICK vs. REWARD

On that note, if you join a gym and they have you do a high rep Olympic Lift session right off the bat, cancel you membership ASAP b/c that coach doesn’t know jack sh*t about getting you better and keeping you injury free…

Would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this!  Drop em below! 

Keep Living Aggressive and Get Strong! 

PS – Time is running out to grab the Olympic Lifting Mastery Course from my boy Eric Wong.

If you have technique and progression questions, their ALL covered in this manual and Eric’s got it on sale for the rest of today ONLY for my Hardcore followers HERE.

If you’re serious about getting better at the Olympic Lifts, you need to get this course!