Olympic Weightlifting 101

 Written by 

Damect Dominguez

 Last updated on 

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Oly Training for CrossFit
If you’re committed to WODs and Met-cons, and can’t afford the time to do a full time Oly-only training regimen, it may be difficult implementing Olympic Weightlifting into your training. Simple solution: Lift first, Met-con second. Done! Great results can be seen by working on Olympic Weightlifting for about 30-40 minutes and ending a workout with a short Met-con, about 10-15 minutes. This format will give you the strength and explosive power training necessary to get good at “the lifts,” while still maintaining your WOD performance and staying within the 1-hour of total training time.

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How Heavy?
When using the Strength/Met-Con format, stay at about 75%-90% max weight during the weightlifting portion. Occasionally, trying a new 1RM is great. Never drop below 75% because it won’t be stimulating enough. To get strong, you have to lift moderately heavy or heavy. It’s still possible to get good technique work as well by staying at the 75% range and then choose to hit 90% on heavier days.

Strength Portion
It’s best to stick to only 2 weightlifting movements (again 75%-90%) before hitting the Met-con portion of the training session. Remember you must perform the most complex movement first and always include a Snatch and/or C+J. So, that means you’re going to Snatch or C+J most days. Second exercise should be a pull or squat. This will cover all bases needed: Snatch or C+J = technical and main lift, Pull or Squat = strength building and complement to the classic lift. Sticking to 2 exercises (one technical lift then pull or squat) will provide enough technique work and strength building and most importantly keep you within that 30-40 minute time frame. After a few minutes of rest and storing equipment, hit a Met-con. Note: There’s nothing wrong with alternating Snatch and C+J each training day. Lifters do it all the time. If you feel it’s too much, make your Strength Portion a Squat and Pull, no complex movement, and still hit your Met-Con after.

Met-Con Portion
Vary the exercises, reps, interval, or intensity. It won’t affect your Oly work. What’s important is time. You wouldn’t want to hit a new 1RM then do heavy Squats, only to do the Filthy 50 right after. That’s too long and intense. Yet, if you only spend 15-20 minutes on the Olympic lifting, then you may want to extend the Met-con time. But generally, try a Met-Con that keeps you at a 10-15 minute time frame. If you feel the workout’s too short, increase the intensity but keep the amount time the same. After all, aren’t all Met-Cons based on time anyway?

Strength vs. Endurance
I’ve noticed over the years, having come from an Olympic Weightlifting background, that stronger athletes are the better athletes, even if stamina or cardio is lacking. It seems strength makes a difference. I’ve also noticed with my athletes, as in my own training, athletes lose strength when focusing on endurance. Yet, one doesn’t lose endurance when focusing on strength. Try this with your own regimen. Focus on Met-cons exclusively for a while then go heavy and see what you’ve kept. Then do the reverse, focus on strength for a while and later return to Met-cons or long endurance routines and see how much of that you’ve retained. The results may surprise you. Certainly, for those who cannot afford the time to “focus” on only one aspect, the Strength+Met-con combination is the very best way to go. You may even be able to shift some “emphasis” without truly changing your “focus.”

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Damect is the visionary who brought BoxLife Magazine to life. As the author of “Training Day – 400+ original WODs,” he has played a pivotal role in shaping the CrossFit community. His passion for the sport and dedication to the community are the foundation upon which BoxLife was built.

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