Strength & Conditioning: Ursula Garza Papandrea – Week 1, Day 1

Improve your Olympic lifts with this four-week cycle of workouts written by the Queen of Olympic weightlifting, Ursula Garza Papandrea.

EDITOR‘S NOTE: These workouts are written by Ursula Garza Papandrea, who has been nicknamed the Queen of Olympic Weightlifting. Ursula’s Olympic weightlifting career started in 1987, and since then she has won several titles, including master’s national champion and best lifter (Grand Master) in 2009 and national champion again in 2010. You can learn more about Ursula at her website, Weightlifting Wise.

Most coaches have devised their own method for teaching the snatch and clean to their athletes and thusly, so have I. Although in more recent decades the top-down approach to teaching the Olympic lifts has prevailed, I believe there is still merit to using the bottom-up approach and have therefore incorporated it into my method, which I call the “Pause Method.” I have used this approach to train beginners, as well as veteran athletes, with great success.

Over the next four weeks, I will be sharing an example of a Pause Method program I have used for teaching the lifts. The goal is to ingrain the proper positions, encourage the athlete to slow down in this initial learning phase, and teach the athlete how to time the receiving of the weight to avoid losing the bar in space.

The workouts will be posted twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays. To learn more about the Pause Method and how to use it, you can read the explanation I have provided here.

Week 1, Day 1

Teach hip/power position snatch and split jerk


  • Hip/power position (PP) muscle snatch 2×5
  • Snatch push press+ overhead squat 2x(3+3)
  • Drop snatch/snatch balance receiving and pausing in ¼ squat 3×3
  • Drop snatch/snatch balance receiving and pausing in ¼ squat then following into overhead squat 3×3
  • Hip/PP power snatch 2×5
  • Hip/PP power snatch receiving and pausing in ¼ squat then following into overhead squat 3×3
  • Hip/PP snatch 4×3 – Athlete only removes the pause if the bar is being met well
  • Upper thigh hang/power position muscle clean 1×5
  • Press from chest 1×5
  • Push press 2×5
  • Power jerk 3×3
  • Split jerk position press + push press + jerk balance 3x(2+2+2)
  • Jerk 4×3

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