By Coach Erik Johnson

Olympic lifts, Olympic lifts, Olympic Lifts.

One of the key elements in the ATN® Strength Training Program, found inside the TCR® system,  are the Olympic Lifts: Clean, Snatch, and Jerk.

I can’t say enough about Olympic Lifts; they are just fantastic lifts!


  • Develop coordination … hell, they REQUIRE coordination!
  • Stimulate hormone production for building muscle mass
  • Train the nervous system to be responsive
  • They work flexibility
  • And the list goes on and on and on….

weight training for shot put and discus throws

Olympic Lifts are pure athletic strength development, and should be a part of any level of an athlete’s program- especially throwers!

Personally for me, when I was in college at Mt. SAC, UCLA, and then CU Boulder, it was the first time I was exposed to true weight training and Olympic Lifting, especially techniques.

This exposure is where I learned how to do cleans and snatches more effectively.

Most college throws coaches also spend a great deal of time as strength coaches for their throwers. I was very fortunate to learn from some of the top throws/weight lifting coaches in the nation: Art Venagas (who brought in Coach Bob Takano to teach us Olympic lifting technique at UCLA), Ej “Doc” Kries, and my biggest strength training influence, Tony Ciarelli, USAW level 4 to name a few.

This is when I caught the fever to learn more, and I dedicated myself to learning the science of the throws, the details in the details, and the connection of an elite lifting program for the throws…

… and it led me to the finals of the Olympic trials in ’96, and a top 10 US ranking!