3 Olympic Lifting Drills for Speed

Updated August 4, 2023

Olympic Lifts require patience, perseverance, and a whole lot of technique! My favorite thing about lifting is not realizing how fast you’ve become over several long, grueling training cycles, and then seeing yourself on video. Damn… I got fast!

In recent years, more attention is being paid to using good pull technique, which is fantastic. However, when it comes to lifting heavy, getting under the bar as FAST as possible is also essential.

Three key words used in Olympic Weightlifting are Fast, Low, and Close. To lift more weight, the athlete must keep the bar close to the body, get under it as low as possible and move quickly through it all.

Here are 3 Olympic Lifting Drills that will help you become more explosive in your lifts:

  1. Drop Snatch:
    • Position your hands with a snatch grip and place the bar behind your neck.
    • Inhale, hold, and swiftly drop into a fully flexed “catch” position with the bar locked overhead.
    • Focus on moving your feet quickly into the catch position.
    • Alternatively, you can try the snatch balance, which is similar but involves “jumping” or kicking the bar off your neck/traps before dropping under it.
  2. Snatch/Clean from Blocks:
    • Instead of starting with the bar on the floor, use blocks to elevate the start position above the knees.
    • Choose between power snatch/cleans or full lifts.
    • Shortening the distance and time available to accelerate the bar during the pull increases the difficulty and requires more speed to catch the weight.
  3. Hang Snatch/Clean:
    • Perform a hang snatch or clean from the bar’s hang position.
    • Choose from various degrees of hang positions, such as a “dead” hang or starting from a standing position and descending to different degrees above the knees.
    • Avoid holding the recoil position; quickly descend and extend, aiming to get under the bar as fast as possible.

Start each of these movements with light weight and focus on SPEED and FORM. Gradually add weight as each drill becomes more comfortable.

Finally, don’t forget that getting more explosive takes practice! These drills should be practiced 3 times per week at the least. Speed won’t improve overnight, but your overall training cycle for speed should yield some good results! To see for yourself how much faster you become, film your lifts before and after a 4 week cycle.

WOD Planet