Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting Programme

If you’re looking to maximise your snatch, clean & jerk, squat, bench and deadlift (aka your ‘supertotal’) then you’re in exactly the right place. This article is going to show you exactly how you can train all five lifts simultaneously whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced level lifter.

 

 

 

 

Constructing the programme – 3 Key Principles

 

1) The Squat Must Increase

 

The absolute foundation of the programme is squatting strength. Bringing up your squat numbers strongly correlates with increases in the snatch, clean & jerk and deadlift.

 

To accomplish this we will be squatting 3 times per week. The exact nature of these sessions will depend on your ability. A novice might just do 3x5 and increase the weight each session, whereas an intermediate right run something more like the texas method. An advanced lifter on the other hand might run a percentage based programme with peaks anywhere between 4 and 12 weeks.

 

 

2) Weightlifting movements must be practised regularly

 

If you’ve read my article on SRA curves then you know that the weightlifting movements have the shortest stress, recovery and adaption cycle. Their technical nature requires regular practice in order to optimise.

 

We will therefore train the snatch, clean & jerk and variants of these as frequently as possible. In the template below, each lift is practised twice per week.

 

 

3) Simplicity is key

 

When you’re trying to train to be good at five different lifts, you’ve got to be super focused with regards to your training. Put simply, your recovery is already going to be pushed pretty hard, so you can’t go throwing a shit tonne of other things into your workouts and expect to make progress.

 

Every exercise in your programme must serve a very specific purpose.

 

 

 

 

 

The Programme itself

 

Step 1) A rough template for all levels, we’ll fill in the details later.

 

Day 1 - Monday

 

Squat

Bench

Clean and Jerk variations

 

 

Day 2 - Wednesday

 

Squat

Press

Snatch Variations

 

Day 3 - Friday

Squat

Bench

Deadlift

 

Day 4 - Saturday

Snatch

Clean & Jerk

 

- - - - -  - - - - - - - - - - - - -  - - -

 

Step 2) Now we fill in the details depending on level

 

Novice Progression

 

Day 1 - Monday

 

Squat 3x5

Bench 3x5

Clean & Jerk variations 3x3

 

Day 2 - Wednesday

 

Squat 3x5

Press 3x5

SnatchVariations 3x3

 

Day 3 - Friday

Squat 3x5

Bench 3x5

Deadlift 1x5

 

Day 4 - Saturday

Snatch 3x2

Clean & Jerk 3x2

 

 

For the novice, squats can likely increase every session by around 2.5kg. Bench and Press can increase every session by around 1.25kg. The weightlifting movements will also likely increase each week, though progress won’t always be quite so linear.

 

 

 

Intermediate Progression

 

Day 1 - Monday

 

Squat 3 to 5 x 5

Bench 3 to 5 x 5

Clean & Jerk variations 3x3

 

Day 2 - Wednesday

 

Squat 2x5 @ 80% Monday

Press 2x5 Moderate difficulty

Snatch Variations 3x2

 

Day 3 - Friday

Squat 5rm

Bench 5rm

Deadlift 1x5

 

Day 4 - Saturday

Snatch 3x2

Clean & Jerk 3x2

 

 

For the intermediate, strength progress will no longer happen session to session, so we integrate a texas method style system that allows for progress each week. In essence we do loads of volume at the start of the week, have a recovery day in the middle of the week and then have an intensity day at the end of the week.

 

 

Advanced Progression

 

As an advanced lifter you’ll no longer be able to progress on a weekly basis. You’ll instead follow a percentage based programme where we manipulate volume, load and rep ranges over a period of 4 to 12 weeks in order to hit a new PR at the end of the cycle.

 

One example might be a 10’s phase, 5’s phase and 3’s phase with rep maxes at the end of each phase. This is pretty much the LSUS and Juggernaut system.

 

 

 

What do you mean by ‘Variations’ of the weightlifting movements?

 

By variations I refer to training specific portions of the movement with very clear and defined goals. Some examples include:

 

  • Using high hang variations to improve the third pull and speed under the bar

  • Using muscle or no contact variations to improve arm positions and turnover

  • Using pull variations to work on hip contact and extension

 

This requires an honest and knowledgable analysis of your technique so you have two options.

 

a) Start reading books, watching videos and picking up as much knowledge as possible so that you can identify your own technical issues

 

b) Invest in a coach who already knows these things and will suggest which exercises to do. [For online weightlifting coaching click here, and for in person coaching click here]

 

 

Rules to Follow

 

If you haven’t yet read my article on recovery [insert link] then I strongly suggest you open a new tab and do so now.

 

To give you the basic shorthand version, you need to follow 2 golden rules.

 

1) Sleep as much as possible

 

For most people this means 9+ hours on days when you’ve trained, and 8+ hours on rest days.

 

 

2) Eat as much as possible

 

You need to be in a calorie surplus to maximise performance on this programme. You should be eating at least 500kcal above your maintenance amount.

 

In other words you should be gaining weight.

 

*Pro-Tip: It’s not the end of the world if you lose your abs and gain a bit of fat for a while. Gaining strength and muscle takes time. Losing weight is pretty damn quick. Even if you somehow manage to gain a half a stone of fat during the programme, you can lose this in less than a month! And trust me, weighing 90kg with 14% bodyfat still looks a shit tonne more impressive than weighing 70kg with 10% bodyfat.

 

 

Time to go train

 

Alright, enough reading. You’ve found a good programme. It works. It’s been tested on dozens of people. It’s based on programmes that have worked for thousands of people.

 

No more mental masturbation.

 

It’s time to take action.

 

1) Copy this programme into your journal or an excel spreadsheet and start following it.

 

2) Get in touch using the form on this page if you want some coaching

 

3) If you have any extra questions about the programme, email alex@characterstrength.co.uk and I’ll get back to you within 48 hours. (Try it, I’m not bluffing)

 

 

Let’s go lift some heavy shit!

 

Your Coach

 

Alex

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