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Ohio Strength Olympic Weightlifting Program Launch

Happy Saturday OS Fam,

As promised, I’m here with the launch information of our new Olympic Weightlifting Program!  Another long but important email for those interested in this program.

If you missed the announcement last weekend about the launch of our Power Building Program–which occurred this past week–to see that post CLICK HERE.

Coach Phil crushing a Snatch

1) So what is Olympic Weightlifting?

Olympic Weightlifting is a sport comprising two movements–the snatch and the Clean & Jerk.  Fun fact–the military press (strict barbell shoulder press) used to be a part of the sport from 1928 until 1972. For our Oly programming, we’re going to be following a program from Senior International Olympic Weightlifting Coach Dave Spitz at California Strength.  This is the same tried and true program that his International level Olympic Weightlifters are following.  He’s had 3 weightlifters on The World Team in addition to national team titles, American records and medals on the international stage.

We will have 9 training sessions programmed each week.  Just like Power Building, these are not classes (2x Mon – 1x Tue – 2x Wed – 1x Thu – 2x Fri – 1x Sat).   Does that mean I should be doing the 9 sessions each week–ABSOLUTELY NOT.  We may have some advanced athletes that eventually work up to a place in which they can handle double days and training volume of up to 9 sessions per week, but those folks are the exception rather than the rule.  Those folks are super experienced, have everything in life dialed in and are not doing much outside of eating, sleeping and training.

For most of us mere mortals, we will use 1-6 Oly training sessions per week.

FAQ – “Coach Ryan, now that we have these 3 different programs–CrossFit, Oly, Power–I’m not sure what I should do?”

Have no fear!

If this question sounds like you, it would be a perfect opportunity to set up a free goal setting session with me.  During one of those sessions, we will start by digging into what is your “why?”.  Why are you training in the first place, what are you trying to get out of your time in the gym, and how can you use this time to best support your goals (in the gym and outside) to get you there as safely, quickly and effectively as possible. I encourage you to shoot me an email to Ryan@ohiostrength.com to set up one of these free 15 minute sessions if you need help refining your goals.  I typically do these via zoom, and we offer a free goal session once per quarter for every member in the gym.  Please take advantage of this valuable resource, especially if you ever feel lost!

Now here is a non exhaustive list of some possible examples of different “member avatars” and how they might approach their training week with all of these different program options available:

a) Someone that just wants to focus on Olympic weightlifting – for this person, if you’ve never trained exclusively for Olympic Weightlifting, I would start by picking 3 sessions per week on non consecutive days.  See how your body feels, and if you feel good then you can add a 4th session.  See how it feels with a 4th session for a few weeks.  If you’re not excessively sore then you may want to add a 5th and so on.  Anything beyond 5 sessions per week starts to get pretty high volume for a lot of people so don’t hesitate consulting with a coach if you’re considering expanding beyond 5 sessions per week.  If you’re already more advanced and experienced in Olympic Weightlifting then hopefully you’ve got some grasp on your personal limitations, but if not, just reach out.

b) Someone that wants to work on their “Super Total” – the super total is your back squat, bench press, deadlift, snatch and clean & jerk.  The combination of Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting Totals.  It’s a fun thing to strive to improve!  For this person, I would follow Power Building 2-3 days per week and Oly programming 2-3 days per week.  Just like the first example, start more conservatively with your volume and then gradually add sessions as you are ready.

c) The CrossFitter that wants to get better at Oly lifting – take our CrossFit classes 3-7 days per week then add on or replace CrossFit sessions with 1-3 Oly sessions per week (it would be the same idea if you’re wanting to do CrossFit but improve your power lifts with 1-3 days per week of power building instead of Oly).

d) “Coach Ryan, I love all these things and want to do them all!” – Well, you can, but you need to be smart and reasonable about how you do them.  I’ll use myself as an example here.  I am personally most interested in building raw strength and muscle mass right now.  So I’m going to spend a few months focused mostly on powerbuilding.  It fits my energy/stress level, schedule and family/work needs well right now (this is part of my own “why” which I’m happy to share with anyone anytime).  However, I’m by no means giving up CrossFit or Olympic Weightlifting.  I love them, too!  Once I get where I want to be on my main power lifts and with lean muscle mass size, I’ll probably scale my 5x per week power building back to 2-3 sessions per week + 1-3 Oly sessions per week + 1-3 CrossFit Classes per week.  Historically, this type of mix suits my training goals, health goals, aesthetic goals, temperament, energy and work life balance needs very well.


While I’ve done a ton of power building, Oly lifting and CrossFit for sports training and recreation over my 30+ years of organized athletics and my 18 years as a coach, I’ve never competed in a sanctioned powerlifting meet or a sanctioned olympic weightlifting meet.  So I’m really looking forward to The Ohio Strength Barbell Club taking teams to compete in meets in both of those sports very soon, and then possibly hosting some meets of our own!  Let me know if you’re interested in signing up for some meets with me!  It’s kind of like signing up for a 5k, half or full marathon – it gives you a fun goal to train for.

Now back to our Olympic Weightlifting FAQs:

2) Who is this program for?

Olympic Weightlifting is appropriate for anyone when proper technique is practiced and appropriate progressions in loads are used.  It is a tremendous way to build very functional bodies and explosive strength and power.  While the power lifts are typically done more slowly, the nature of the olympic lifts requires that they be done much more quickly.  Due to the explosive nature of the training, elite level Olympic Weightlifters have actually been recorded to have higher vertical jumps than even elite level high jumpers (their bodies are just very different in order to be successful in each of those sports)!

Some people simply enjoy the challenge of honing their technique in these two most technical lifts over many years and thousands upon thousands of repetitions.  Some people want to compete in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting itself. Some people use variations of these lifts (i.e. hang power cleans and power cleans) to build explosive power for sports like football, and of course we use these lifts in the sport of CrossFit to express our strength, power, coordination, etc.

3) When will we do this?

Just like with the Power Building program, you will need the 24/7 Open Gym membership to participate in this program, and you may do it anytime with that membership! The workouts are too long and not designed to be done in a way that makes them fit well into a class setting. My recommendation is for people to get together in small “training crews” of 2-4 people–people with similar goals, training styles and schedule availability to push each other and hold each other accountable through the workouts. I will have one morning 2 hour block and one evening 2 hour block that I will announce each week when I or one of our other coaches will be doing the Barbell Club workouts ourselves (the times of those blocks will change week to week). During those blocks of time, we will be able to answer programming questions, check your form, etc. We will have an Ohio Strength Barbell Club Facebook group (I will post this link in the workout warm up in Wodify) where you can seek partners for your training crews, post videos for technique analysis, questions, discuss upcoming meets, events, etc. I am also going to be starting a weekly zoom lunch break “office hours” for the whole gym (not just the barbell club) where people can pop in to ask any high level questions that they may have that are appropriate for a group setting. I will announce the time for the zoom call and send out the link each week.

4) Where are we able to do the program?

You’re able to do the workouts anywhere in the gym that makes sense. We have some beautiful new competition grade barbells and kilogram bumpers in the Red Rig Room, which are perfect for training Olympic Weightlifting.  Class still has priority for space and equipment and we have to be considerate of not distracting the coaches and folks in class, which is why we now have the accessory room (where the red rig is located) for people to use as much as possible when doing Barbell Club or any other non class activities during classes. If you want to do something that you are worried might conflict with class, just talk with the coach and we are always down to discuss the best course of action to make sure things run smoothly in terms of timing etc.

5) How do I follow the workout?

Open your Ohio Strength Wodify app -> click the workout tab at the bottom -> click the drop down menu in the top left and select “Olympic Weightlifting”. The warm up & cool down – we have the same suggested, general, full body warm up and activation sequence and cool down programmed each day. If you’re not sure how you want to warm up, this will definitely cover all of your bases, but you’re welcome to add/subtract and modify it as you see fit based upon your individual needs–But don’t skip the warm up–healthy and successful athletes warm up and cool down, even if you don’t think that you need to! Rest as needed.  Olympic weightlifters are concerned with lifting as much weight as possible and you need to take adequate rest between working sets in order to be able to lift your best.  Similar to the Power Building program 1-5 minutes between sets will be appropriate most of the time for most people.  You will see similar lifts and progressive overload from week to week during training cycles.

6) Why are we offering this in addition to our CrossFit classes?

As you’ve noticed, our name is Ohio Strength – Home of CrossFit Italian Village. Strength has always been one of the most prominent parts of our name, brand and mission. It has taken us a number of years to get to this point in which we have the capacity to add these new offerings, but it has always been a part of my plan to not just be a CrossFit gym, but to be a well rounded health and fitness community. We strive to create healthier and more resilient people, and CrossFit is just one tool in our tool belt toward that end. Some people may never want to do CrossFit or they might want a change of pace from CrossFit at some point in their training lifetime, and we want to be able to support those people in their life long fitness journeys via other tried and true methods of strength training, conditioning, nutrition, mindset, recovery coaching and other health mentorship.

As with anything new, I expect questions, learning, adjustments, trial and error – so please let me know what questions you might have!

So excited to get this going for you all!

Yours in Health,

Ryan – Owner of Ohio Strength

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