Track and Field Weight Lifting and Clean Progressions

Ideas for Track and Field Weight Lifting

Proper technique in weight training and conditioning is critical and the coach or other professionally trained supervisor must watch over all activities performed by the athletes.

Progress slowly and teach proper technique in all training activities.  Consistency with strength training activities and understand the long-term benefits for athletic performance.

Proper training programs include teaching progressions with lower weights until the technique is safe to execute with more training loads. Using the teaching methods from Coach Nielsen will help guide novice coaches in training the olympic lifts.

The best lifting exercises to achieve explosive strength are the olympic lifts. The snatch, clean and jerk and assorted variations are the cornerstone of high level speed and power programs.

For track and field, weightlifting is a must for the speed and power events. These events include the shot put, discus throw, hammer throw, javelin throw, long jump, triple jump, pole vault, high jump, 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters and 800 meters. The decathlon and heptathlon are also considered a speed and power events, since all the events except the 1500m run for men are in the speed and power category.

However, weight training for distance runners is very important.  Strength training for distance runners now includes a variety of methods from medicine ball throws and plyometrics, and yes, even olympic weightlifting. Many distance runners are turning to olympic weightlifting to develop the speed needed to kick at the end of the race.

Coach Roger Nielsen shows how to prepare athletes for the power clean with this assessment and beginning steps for proper technique for olympic weightlifting.

Clean Teaching Progression
Front squat assessment (video)
Power clean from power position (video)
Power clean from above the knee (link to video)
Power clean from below the knee (link to video)
Clean deadlift
Power clean from the floor
Power clean to front squat

Benefits of Olympic Lifting

  • Improve explosive strength
  • Increase strength
  • Increase speed
  • Enhance mobility and flexibility
  • Improve balance and coordination
  • Injury prevention

Weight training for track and field takes proper planning. Coaches developing training plans for track and field should start with the peak phase and work backward to the start date. Some training plans may start in March and end in May for the multi-sport high school athletes. No matter when a track and field athlete starts training, olympic lifting can supplement any program even with lighter weights for speed work.

Coach Roger Nielsen

  • Senior International Coach – USA Weightlifting’s highest level of coaching achievement

Roger Nielsen’s experience includes Head Coach USA Olympic Weightlifting Team, USA World Championship Team Coach, National Junior Weightlifting Coach, Team Coach USA Junior World Championship, and Assistant Coach USA World Championship Team.

Personal Coach of team members for Olympic Games, World Championships, Pan-American Games, and Junior World Championships; 
Personal Coach of Numerous National and Junior National Champions.