A little / lot of help
Im 38 Phys Ed teacher with a long history of gym work bodybuilding, powerlifts, bodyweight stuff.
I got interested about 4 years ago through Crossfit initially in training in weightlifting. Have done a couple of coaching courses with governing bodies etc. I have Greg's book, but I have yet to find a program that helps me get where I want.
Squat (powerlift style) 140kg
Front Squat 100kg
Overhead Squat 55kg
Bench (cant anymore, mispent youth trying to get big)
Clean and Jerk (an embarrassing 90kg)
Snatch (an even more embarrassing 55kg)
If I follow a strict weightlifting program like the beginner or intermediate program, I find my squat goes down with the percentages used as does my deadlift which is generally not in the programs, and the other lifts dont go up by much at all. I end up feeling weaker and demotivated and go back to heavy squat, heavy deadlift, one clean day , one snatch day and a complex day. Add some rowing, push ups chin ups and battling ropes to that and thats pretty much what I revert to.
I want to change that.
Basically I am looking for a program that
1.I can still get strong in Squat and Deadlift (I have an addiction to these to lifts but if they have to go, they have to go)
2.Improve my C&J and Snatch
3.Increase Front Squat, OHS, Snatch Balance, push press / push jerk etc
4.Still find time to do the odd short 10 minute metcon or some rowing etc maybe twice per week.
Probably asking a lot I know!
It is putting it all together over a mon-fri period. I cant do weekends in the gym. But I have from 630am - 8am Mon-Fri window.
I have a full (school) gym at my disposal. Bars, Bumpers, bands, chains, chin up bars, c2 rowers, plyo boxes etc.
I appreciate any help guys, thank you.
I think we would all agree that you never have to get away from squatting -- ever. However, the deadlift position in comparison to both the snatch and clean positions are remarkably different. If anything, that would probably be the one to go, but it doesn't mean that you can't do a clean-style deadlift.
You have to keep in mind that a published training plan is just a rough draft for the individual lifter that picks it up. Time and other constraints/external factors play a big deal, especially when you're trying to finish a planned program for the day -- the worst thing to have happen is to feel rushed, so you might have to cut some things out or replace them with what you feel you want to work on. That's not to say that you're stubborn and you think you know more, but you have to be willing to alter some of what's said. For instance, I've followed a couple of programs off of Idaho Weightlifting (link is in the actual name), where they boast a couple of Calpian, USOTC, and other great programs written by some great coaches. I noticed that I need to squat heavier more often and that my legs were able to handle the stress, so I included more heavy days. To me, it's that simple.
To go a little further, I found this to work for me:
- Snatch (full, variant, or complex to a heavy single, then 80% x 3 x 2)
- Deficit snatch pulls (heavy triples ... I do all my pulls, NOT the classic lift, at a deficit -- don't know if it's good or not, but it's helped me, which is my point to you)
- Press (heavy triple, 80% x 3 x 2)
- Back Squat (heaviest triple, then 80% x 3 x 2)
- Good Morning (heaviest x 5)
- Clean and Jerk (full, variant, or complex)
- Deficit clean pulls
- Front Squat (same as back squat)
- RDLs (heavy triple x 3)
- Deficit snatch pull (you may want to do snatch deadlifts here)
- Deficit clean pull (you may want to do clean deadlifts here)
- Incline Bench Press (realized I need to improve shoulder girdle health)
- Back Squat
- Good Morning
- Snatch (heavy single)
- Clean and Jerk (heavy single)
- Front Squat
That's four out of seven days. For two of those "off" days, I use them for active recovery, whether they be lighter squatting, just work with the barbell, mobility, sprinting, etc. There's one day I have strictly for complete rest. This is what I can do based off my other requirements (like that whole job thing).
To make a long reply even longer, my point to you is that you're going to have to just use trial and error. This is my experience and I hope it's a valid response to your question. I've realized that I benefit more doing all the things I just put down at their corresponding volume. I also have roughly an hour and a half to work out and this right here keeps me busy all the way through.
Main thing: use the programs as a shell, tailor it to your needs and weaknesses, always squat, and be awesome!
I hope this helped you. I would hate for you to read this and not get anything out of it.
Your squats and deadlifts may very well go down switching to a weightlifting program.
Because your reps that would be spent doing squats and deadlifts are now going to snatches and cleans.
My numbers: 120kg Snatch, 150kg Clean/Jerk, 200kg Squat, 170kg Front Squat (hopefully 180kg when I test next week!)
For myself, the principal I follow is I focus on only a few things at a time. One cycle is meant to be strength, during this time, my snatch and clean/jerk rarely see increases because my technique takes a bit of a hit but it provides a stronger foundation when its time to work on technique.
When I go to work on technique, my snatch and clean/jerk go up but squats stay the same.
So what I am trying to say is you cannot do everything at once!...unless you are on "magic medicine."
If you want to improve snatch and clean/jerks, do these exercises. Personally, I don't believe in 1 rep max's for beginners. Pick a weight that is challenging, but you can hit consistently for triples and do it for 3-5 sets. At those numbers, there is no need to get complicated with the programming. Just do 3-5 sets of 3 a few times a week with each exercise and your numbers will go up.
Throw in pulls alternating with the exercise you do, so something very basic:
Snatch - 3-5 sets of 3 (this doesn't include warm up weights which you want to hit with consistent technique)
Clean Pull - 3-5 sets of 3 (relatively heavy weight, but you should be able to do the light quickly, and consistently without sacrificing form)
Push Press - 3-5 sets of 3-5 (you may see a pattern here)
Cleans - 3-5 sets of 3
Jerks (or just do clean and jerks 3-5 sets of 2+2)
Snatch Deadlift 3-5 sets of 3
Throw in whatever extra stuff you want
Pretty much first day over again
Pretty much second day over again except with Clean Deadlifts instead of pulls
Pretty much, I would suggest keep it simple and your numbers will go up. Chances are because of your age, doing 3 sets is going to more beneficial than 5 sets because recovery won't be as quick; do what you can handle.
As a beginner, you will find gains with improving technique. Your squat/deadlift numbers may go down while focusing on technique; however, you have to understand it is a back and forth game between strength and speed/technique. Don't be discouraged when one lift goes down because chances are another one is going up.
At the end of the day though, you have to experiment and see what works-unfortunately weightlifting means sometimes doing things that feel a little monotonousness but understand that there is a bigger pay off when it comes time to max out!
Thank you both for replying in detail.
I guess I pretty much guessed that its impossible to do it all between powerlifting style lifts and weightlifting.
I am going to give it another go of sticking to a hybrid of your two suggestions. Switching from a powerlifting squat to a weightlifting one has seen my numbers go down a bit anyway and I am willing to sacrifice deadlift numbers to see snatch and c&j go up!
Can I ask on a triple for example, I execute 1 rep, and with little or no break at all go for a second and third? Sorry if thats a stupid question.
Also will OHS or Snatch Balance be of most benefit if I am pushed for time.
That is what I mean by triple.
Overhead squats and snatch balances have their uses, but they won't substitute for the actual lift.
OHS are good to strengthen your muscle groups used in recovery for the snatch, and snatch balance is good to reinforce technique (I had an issue of diving under the bar which put the load on my shoulders so I did these to work on keeping chest up and get a feel for the position I wanted to land in after the pull).
The issue with just doing these exercises though is that usually people lack the technique to be able to put themselves in a position where all they have to worry about is recovering (standing up) with the lift. You may be able to do heavy snatch balances, but if the bar is always out front or behind as a result of the pull, you will probably miss the lift.
If you don't have time, cut down the reps you do, but if you want to seen gains, you will have to do the actual lifts with a consistent effort. I personally love supplementary exercises, but you can't get the timing down in the lifts if you don't put everything together on a consistent basis.
Keep it simple......
Some of my best gains have come from some of the simplest programs...
I'm 47 now and lft 4xweek. Olifts on mon-thur and squat/press on tue-fri
"back in the day" in my mid 30's when I was snatching 245lb and C+J 315 my "magic program" was this:
Snatch - 1's to max for day
Bench - 3's one week, 5's the next to top set
C+J - same as sn
Front Squat - same as bench but 3's / 2's
Snatch - 4x2 -faster ligther double.....not a max 2
Clean + Push Press - 3x5 one week/4x3 the next
C+J - 4x2
Clean + Front Squat (one clean followed by three fr sq's)
Got to my all time bests maxes in front squat (385), snatch (245) C+J (315)
Fast forward to 42 years old, doing the olifts 2-3xweek with every other week doing deadlifts, ( DL -5-6 singles working up in wt then one heavy set of 5, usually to 405). Also started low bar squatting. Did this for awhile then got on another "magic program"
Mon-thur - singles to max
At the gym with my wife, would follow her around doing some DB bench then some rows, maybe some lat pulldowns etc BUT I always back squatted heavy at the end for sets of 3-5 reps....
Go to texas state meet in 2008 and sn 102k and C+J 141 which was a lifetime PR...
Don't make this too complicated, I think working the olifts a couple times a week then working on the strength stuff 2xweek has been the best thing for me to keep a balance of both. I think now even more than ever at 47 I can do two good heavy days of the olifts but anymore than that and I'm beat up and it hurts my strength days or any other olifting days.....
I'm a high school strength coach and teach PE also during the day so like you have the wtroom right here mon-fri......
Thanks John, that actually looks way more manageable. I found that any more than two days of heavy Olympic lifts left me feeling to tired for any other lifting. I was running a BJJ school on top of high school teaching and working with a rugby team too but even having retired from bjj I still found they left me shattered. So even a lightish day in the programme became too much and everything suffered as a result.
When you say 2 days of Oly lifting and 2 days strength work, what would those two days look like. I dont bench anymore, but love squats, DLs, Pull ups, push ups etc
I want to work simple, heavy and most of all enjoy it.
I started cleans again this morning, I think my hips dont start low enough, but then if I lower them, my back rounds and/or shoulder begin behind the bar. Ill take any criticism...thick skinned!
I think your cleans look alright, your catching the bar way too low on your shoulders and your elbows are down close to your legs when you hit the bottom from what I can see on the last couple. Get the bar right up by your neck with your elbows as high as you can get them, bad things happen to the wrists when you bounce a elbow off your leg and we don't heal as quickly....
My program is pretty simple, I'm training with a former FB player of ours who was at a big 12 school and is transferring to another school so I'm doing a little more than I normally do but this is our basic workout right now:
Chinups 3xas many as we can get
Glute Ham 4x5 with 25-30lb DB on chest
Clean Rows (pendlay rows) 3x5
Glute Ham 4x5
on the olifts I alternate sets each week so something like this:
wk #1 sets of 2 to top set
Wk#2 sets of 3
Wk#3 sets of 2
wk#4 sets of 1
Work up to a top set each time, try again if we miss and there is power still there, if we are out of gas we take a break for a few minutes then go to cleans/C+J. The rows or chins are for three sets at the end and not the same intensity, just get them done with good form...
Presses I have us alternate weeks or working up to a top set of 5 one week with a top set of 3 the next week...
Squats are with three top work sets.
Back squats - we do sets of 2 up to a heavy weight then do 3x5 with the heaviest we can
Front squats - work up in sets of 2 then do 3x3 with heaviest weight we can.
Once we get all three work sets we move up 5-10 lbs the next week....
I haven't benched or inclined in years but I know he needs the upper body work for FB so I do them with him but stop WAY short of anything heavy, maybe go to 185lb for sets of 5 while he keeps going up....
I bust my butt on the olifts and squats though and go heavy as I can...
John thanks for all that information, really appreciate it. Elbows are low from tight lats and anterior delts and pecs I think (benching always seemed like a good idea when I was 18!), need to keep foam rolling, stretching and front squatting.
Thanks very much for your input.
No problem, glad to help...
On the cleans-I tell this to my kids all the time:
Find a spot on the wall in front of you a little above your head (we have a yellow stripe painted around the room that works well), and keep looking at that spot till you stand up.
this helps you keep your:
Part of it may be what you said too but I bet if you really concentrate on keeping your chest UP and push those elbows up you'll feel more solid...
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