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How to keep the PRs Rolling
Mike Gray  |  Olympic Weightlifting  |  October 28 2011

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How to keep the PRs Rolling, Mike Gray,

Remember your first year or two of Olympic Weightlifting when you were literally hitting PR’s every week? Remember how awesome that felt? I remember guys who would train at the same place I did actually start plotting where they would be a year from where they were at the time and say things like “Well if I keep up at this rate I am snatching 80k now but in a year I should be doing 150K”!

There aren’t many things better for a lifter than a new PR. It feels so good and we all want that feeling to just keep happening forever. The problem is it never really works out like that and soon the PR’s start to get a bit more spread out. Maybe once a meet prep cycle maybe only in meets unfortunately that’s just the nature of the beast.

What if I told you I had a way to keep hitting PR’S? Well I do and some of you might already be doing this already. I had never done it until about 6 months ago and I will admit I love it.
The first question is what do you track? Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Front and Back squats, Power versions? Those are the usual suspects that you see most gyms track on the board.
Ok now What about reps? Do you just worry about your 1rm? Or does it vary on the lift?
What I want you to think about is tracking all the different exercises you use and all the rep schemes you use with those exercises.

For example take Greg’s workout for 8 September 2011
• Jerk - 1RM, 80% x 2 x 2
• Mid-hang power clean - 2RM, 95% x 2, 90% x 2
• Snatch balance - 1RM, 80% x 2 x 2
• Back squat - 85% (of Tues FS) x 2 x 3

There are 3 opportunities to hit PR’s in there with the jerk, mid hang power clean for a double and the snatch balance. How freaking awesome would it be to go home with 1 to possible 3 new PR’s to write down on your PR board?

What if it was Snatch Balance 3RM or Muscle Snatch from the hang for 5RM? Go ahead and tell me it wouldn’t be nice to add a couple of kilo’s to both of those lifts on a Tuesday afternoon during a week that has you feeling like hammered hell? I know it does for me.

I have to believe that stacking up a bunch of PR’s in all of the other lifts it has to help on the two that matter. If it doesn’t then why are you doing the other lifts in the first place?

Go ahead and build your own portable PR board. I have included a pic of the paper one I use (or a version of it) that I keep in my gym bag. I also have one in my home that I use different color pens on. I switch the color before every meet. So my last meet I used a black pen and for this meet I used a blue pen and the goal is to get the entire black pen off and replaced by blue pen.


I also included a picture of Zlaten Vanev that is in my living room. Why? Because its Zlaten Vanev and if you dont know who he is then get on you tube and see why I have a picture of him in my living room. Better yet head on over to Ironmind.com and buy the "Unbelievable Bulgarians" DVD and watch that maniac go after some huge lifts.


Do me a favor and be careful. Everyone loves to hit PR’s but if it’s not there don’t force it.

Another thing I want to say congrats to my lifting partner Brad who hit 2 big PR’s today after 3 weeks of some of the hardest lifting I have ever done courtesy of Mr. Everett.

Strong lifting Brad. That jerk was awesome.

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Mike Gray is a weightlifter for Team Catalyst Athletics.
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Greg Everett 1 | 2011-10-28
I just watched a bunch of Vanev videos this morning thanks to Matt Foreman posting a link on our spaceface page. I have that same photo (courtesy of you) on the wall in my office (Thanks Dr. Strossen of IronMind). And the 1998 Bulgarian training hall DVD from IronMind with Vanev going off from start to finish is the gym favorite. Congrats to Brad as well.
Matt Spiller 2 | 2011-11-17
Great article Mike! Glad to see you're still at it hard and heavy.
Jim Burnett 3 | 2011-11-18
The cool thing is that once you start hitting PRs in the "minor" lifts that you start tracking, then you can see that carry over into the stuff you actually care about. WORD?!
Diploma of Management 4 | 2011-12-07
As a person who achieved 180.5Kg in the Clean & Jerk at a bodyweight of 73Kg within 7 years of starting Weightlifting, I concur that keeping records of training is a very important thing to do. It enable me to monitor weekly tonnes lifted, average weight per exercise, volume of reps and sets, etc. I used to plot the results on a graph to try to understand how training affects results. In my 6th and 7th year , I managed to exceed 25 hours training per week. The most important breakthrough for me is that I finally realised that intensity must be varied from session to session, People who always train heavy, find themselves reaching a plateau much more quickly than those who program themselves to have light, medium and heavy days. The trick is when you have a heavy day, it must be really heavy, and when you have a light day it must be really light. Light days always follow heavy days.
mike sharp 5 | 2014-01-31
Hi all, Im not sure if this is the right place to ask, im curious about the double knee bend I have been doong oly lifting for about 6 months and currently on a course that kinda teaches double knee bend, the more I think about it the more I miss then I heard Bob Tacano saying it is not a requirement and now im a little confused I must say I lift best without double knee bend. Could you clarify or give your views
Greg Everett 6 | 2014-02-01
Mike - The double knee bend is not something you should be doing intentionally - it's a natural and unavoidable action of the knees if you're lifting correctly. Focus on positions, balance and timing and you'll be fine.
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