High Rep Olympic Lifting for Muscle

“Hi there,

“I came across your article on Bodybuilding.com, and it appealed to me: cutting fat while maintaining my gains (or improving on them) is exactly what I was looking for. Having tried the workout, it seems to be just right. I enjoy the full body aspect and approve of the flexibility. That said, a quick question: I find the barbell hang clean to front squat to be very awkward. It may be that I have a poor range of motion/flexibility in my arms and shoulders, but I’m not able to rest the bar on my torso following the hang clean. Is it supposed to be held in the air still? That left me feeling unbalanced. This said, is there an alternate circuit that you would recommend?”

Thanks in advance for your help!
-P. McMullen

My Answer: Glad you like the program, Phil. No the bar is not held but rests in your hands on top of the front of your shoulders when you squat down. Not everybody has the flexibility to do the front squat with a clean grip, so if you can’t do them, then substitute clean and jerks instead. High rep clean and jerks have been used by old time bodybuilders for rapid muscle gain, similar to 20 rep squats. Ironman Magazine editor Peary Rader wrote of a lifter who

“used the clean and jerk as an exercise in a weight gaining experiment… He went on this program of clean and jerks… with all the poundage he could use correctly for the required number of reps (about 15 to 20). He immediately began gaining weight very rapidly and was amazed that the practice of this one lift or exercise could have such a profound effect on his body. Subsequently others of us have made similar experiments with this lift and found that it not only was a good weight gaining medium but also developed strength, endurance, speed, and timing that nothing else could give us. We also found it to be the toughest workout we have ever had.”


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