There is no conclusive answer to this question, a question that I get at least once a month concerning Olympic Weightlifting (OWL) to Powerlifting ( PL - just got it again two days ago).

As pointed out by several authors long ago, these sports have their names inverted: Olympic Weightlifting involves lifts in which the power component is predominant while Powerlifting involves lifts in which the static strength component is predominant.

The transfer between power gains to maximum strength has been documented more than the other way round but apparently both may have a carry-over effect.

My anecdotal observation is that the “quick lifts” (either full snatch and clean & jerk or their many variations and assistant exercises) have a strong carry-over effect to almost anything but:

  1. The learning curve for the Olympic weight lifts proper is long and requires both high volume and high frequency. It may not be practical if the only objective is to use the lifts as assistance work. It makes more sense to use the “power” version of the lifts (power snatch and power clean) and other exercises such as snatch and clean high pulls.
  2. Some people will experience an immediate improvement on their power lifts when they dedicate time to learn and practice OWL. I am one of them. Whether these people benefit so much from OWL because they are genetically gifted for high power output and high rate of force development or because the decreased their powerlifting training volume, I don’t know.
  3. I usually add some variation of the quick lifts to most athletes. Some struggle, some pick up the technique faster. The truth is that unless I can pair them with a Weightlifting coach on-ground, they won’t be able to develop the snatch and clean & jerk in full and proper form.

My advice for powerlifting athletes who have the chance of learning weightlifting from a good coaches that they should take it. Unless you learn it, you’ll never know if it’s for you or not.

As for weightlifters, they already perform the squat and the deadlift as part of their routine. Should they incorporate the bench press? There’s a lot of controversy regarding that. It may be beneficial in specific cases.

Today (me) – Training session 1

Full snatch at 90lbs – 20 X 2

Drop snatch (increased weight) – 15 X 2

Press behind the neck from a squatted position (empty bar) – 5 X 5

Overhead squat – 10 X 2

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