Click Here to Download the Entire Four Weeks in a Printable PDF

Many of today’s American Olympic weightlifting coaches hold degrees in exercise science, having studied biomechanics, exercise physiology, and other sports science subjects with the intent of practical application to our sport. Unfortunately, many college kinesiology or exercise science programs do not specifically address strength sports. Instead, the majority of research is directed towards physiology of conditioning and biomechanics of more popular sports. The result is that the Russian training manuals have become the cornerstone of many coaches’ education. My development as a coach was largely influenced by these manuals. Additionally, I had several coaches of different nationalities, including Hungarian, Bulgarian, Russian, and American. They all added significantly to my practical education.

 

The Systems

 

ursula garza papandrea, weightlifting programming, workouts, olympic liftingNot able to find any one system that I preferred or felt superior to another, I, like many other coaches, started the trial-and-error practice of programming using basic principles borrowed from the likes of Vladimir Zatsiorsky and R. A. Roman. The simplest of the concepts being progressive overload training, which I learned via my formal education but in practice from John Coffee. This has been overall basis for my programming.

 

I have also borrowed suggestions from Roman’s The Training of the Weightlifter, in which he suggests training phases of two to three months each. He starts with the preparatory phase, to create a base sporting form. This lasts one to two months and is the cycle characterized as having large volume with a gradual increase in intensity. I usually refer to this phase as the strength conditioning phase and will typically build the load for five to six weeks before lowering. Roman then suggests a transition phase, in which the coach must avoid overtraining the athlete, while maintaining sporting form. As suggested, I use this cycle to raise intensity while maintaining the condition of the athlete.

 

Then, this is the point at which I introduce the Bulgarian wave method into the program. I usually refer to this second cycle as a strength phase since there are more high intensity lifts attempted, and there has been a transition from lower intensity-high volume work to higher intensity work with a lowering of volume. In the third phase, which Roman calls the competition phase, there is a gradual transition with a goal of a “realization of results.” This is typically called a competition, pre-competition, or power phase, where there is an attempt to have the athlete recover from both the volume and intensity of the previous cycles so that he may perform in competition. The product should be an “improved organism” that can produce better results on the competition platform. Roman also suggests rest after four months of training. I too think this is important in prevention of injury and for both mental and physical recovery of the athlete.

 

The Challenge of Clean Athletes

 

Although I attempt to implement principles borrowed from both Bulgarian and Russian systems, I have to also acknowledge one deficiency in the American athletes that I train - they are clean. I think to ignore this obvious difference between my athletes and those who have trained in the aforementioned systems would be a failure on my part to recognize the truth. I have worked to alter and adapt the programs to address the lack of performance enhancing drugs and the benefits that would come from them.

 

ursula garza papandrea, weightlifting programming, workouts, olympic liftingIn general, if performance-enhancing drugs will make you stronger and better able to recover, we can assume that without them these two areas will suffer. My adjustments to programming therefore include overloading the pulls and squats to make athletes stronger. Second, my athletes train four to five days a week since most work a full-time job and train. Without recovery aids being used regularly, I must rely on their natural abilities to adapt to the various stresses of training and life. I do advocate adaptogens as part of their supplementation but these, although somewhat effective, pale in comparison to the recuperative qualities of banned pharmaceuticals. In response to this difference, I have reduced the number of training sessions from the norm of nine-plus sessions a week down to four or five.

 

Below are four weeks of workouts, two weeks of conditioning and two weeks of strength. You can also download the entire four weeks in a printable PDF.

 

Sample Workouts – Conditioning Phase

 

Here are samples programs from the conditioning phase. These are the working sets and the athlete does warm up to these percentages. The weights, reps, and sets are written in the standard international form with % as the numerator and # of reps as the denominator with the numbers of sets to the right.

 

Week 1, Day 1

 

Muscle Snatch

50/3 4

Front Squat

80/2 6

Snatch Strict Press

40-50/5 3

Snatch Pulls with 5 Sec Descent

80/5 5

 

Week 1, Day 2

 

Power Snatch + OHS

72/2+3 4

Front Squat + Jerk

77/3+1 3

Clean Pulls with 3 Sec Pause Below Knee

85/4 4

Barbell Low Step Ups

50/8 3

 

Week 1, Day 3

 

Close-Grip Snatch

70/2 4

Clean and Jerk

80/1 4

Back Squat

80/4 4

Jerk Drives

85/5 3

 

Week 1, Day 4

 

Bench Press

1x10, 1x8, 2x6

Barbell Rows

1x10, 1x8, 3x6

Military Press

1x10, 1x8, 2x6

Bench - Bench dips

3x10

 

Week 1, Day 5

 

Hip Snatch

65/3 3

Snatch

85/1 4

Power Clean + Power Jerk

77/2+1 3

Jerk Off Racks

80/2 4

Front Squat

80/2 6

 

Week 2, Day 1

 

Muscle Squat Snatch

60/3 4

Front Squat

80/3 6

SnatchPush Press

60-70/5 3

SnatchPulls with 5 Sec Descent

85/5 5

 

Week 2, Day 2

 

Power Jerk + OHS

65/2+3 4

Front Squat + Jerk

80/3+1 3

Clean Pulls on Platform with Pause at PF Height

90/4 4

One Leg Squat

55/6 3

 

Week 2, Day 3

 

Drop Snatch

85/3 4

Hip Clean

65/2 3

Clean and Jerk

80/2+1 4

Back Squat

85/3 4

 

Week 2, Day 4

 

Incline Bench

1x10, 1x8, 2x6

Bent Lateral Raises/Reverse Flyes

3x10

OH Dumbbell Press

1x10, 1x8, 2x6

Pullovers

3x10

 

Week 2, Day 5

 

Snatch Blocks

80/2 3

Snatch with Pause Below Knee

75/2 3

Power Jerk Racks

77/2 3

Jerk Behind Neck

85/1 3

 

Sample Workouts – Strength Cycle

 

Week 1, Day 1

 

Snatch with Pause Below Knee

80/2 4

Snatch Pull to Hip with Pause Below Knee

105/2 4

Snatch Hi Hang Pulls

110/3 3

Push Press

75/2 3

 

Week 1, Day 2

 

CG Snatch

75/2 3

Clean Block

90/1 3

Back Squat

95-100/1 4

Clean Pull Block

115/3 3

 

Week 1, Day 3

 

Snatch Recovery

90/2 3

Front Squat + Jerk

75/11 3

Hip Clean

75/1 5

Seated Good Morning

#/5 3

 

Week 1, Day 4

 

Snatch

100/1 85/1 90/1 95/1 85/1 90/1

Jerk Behind Neck

100/1 3

Front Squat

95/1 4

 

Week 2, Day 1

 

Snatch Pull + Snatch

70/2 75/2 80/2 3

Clean

100/1 85/2 90/1 95/1 85/3

Back Squat

90/3 3

Snatch Pull to Knee + to Hip

110/2+1 4

 

Week 2, Day 2

 

Snatch Block

90/1 3

Clean Jerk

85/1 3

Close Stance Back Squat

80/2 3

Snatch Block Pulls

115/2 3

 

Week 2, Day 3

 

Drop Snatch No Drive

50/2+3 3

Clean + Front Squat + Jerk

80/111 3

Clean Pull to Expl

110/3 3

Good Morning to Snatch Press

#/3 4

 

Week 2, Day 4

 

Snatch

90/2 3

Jerk

100/1 80/2 2

Front Squat

100/1 85/2 90/1 95/1 85/3

Snatch

90/2 3

 

Click Here to Download the Entire Four Weeks in a Printable PDF

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