T Nation

4 Week Review of Dan John's Neophyte Program

I don’t know if any of you have ever tried this program or have been wanting to give it a try. But I thought I would give some of you an update, since when doing my research initially I couldn’t find ONE person who even attempted this program.

The program in it’s purest form:

3x a Week
Snatch : 8 Sets of Doubles
Clean and Jerk :8 Sets of Singles
Front Squat: 5 Sets of 5
Press : 5 Sets of 3
Increase weight once you can do all sets cleanly.

I’m in middle of my 5th week following this program. The only difference is I’ve added back squats to it because I was already doing Front Squats 3x a week for months. I do my rows and trunk work at the end as well.

-Simple and easy to follow
-Gets you to become efficient in the Olympic lifts pretty quickly
-Instills there is no such thing as “overtraining” for the average person
-Olympic lifts prior to squatting gets your extremely warmed up for squats
-Increases mobility, strength, explosiveness at the same time
-Helps you understand hard work, recovery, and nutrition is all that is needed
-Teaches mental toughness
-Doing the full lifts initially helps you understand where technique breaks down

-Overall volume can lead to aches and pains initially (especially knees)
-Long workouts once weight gets heavy
-1.5-2 hours for workout as is and 2.5-3 hours if adding additional exercises
-Can get a bit boring just doing the same exercises over and over again
-After a workout you want to eat everything in sight, especially pizza

When I first looked at this program I thought doing 8x2 and 8x1 would be easy. Once your weight gets heavy, singles and doubles are no joke. The first 2 weeks of the program my knees were constantly sore. Even though I was already squatting 3x a week, it wasn’t anywhere close the amount of volume I’m doing now. If I could go back in time I would have eased into this program for 4 weeks before committing to it. I think the 70s Big Olympic Transition program would be good to do for a month before jumping into this. Luckily for me I don’t have those knee pains anymore. Since I have all the time in the world right now the long workouts don’t bother me, but after doing my C&J I usually take 15 min break before I even start squatting. Gives me a brief break from the one hour worth of Oly lifts I just did. My press was stalled for months, but dropping down to the 5x3 helped it shoot up. I think including rows/trunk work at the end of my workout was a great idea. My mobility has definitely improved from not adding any crazy stretching routine. I think the snatches especially keep you limber. I played basketball for the first time in a very long time earlier this week and even though my lifts are still very low I noticed a huge improvement in my overall movement when playing basketball. I would for sure recommend this program to anyone looking to get into Olympic weightlifting. It’s straight to the point and is the bare bone basics.

4 Week Results (in lbs)
Bodyweight: 161 --> 164
Snatch: 45 --> 95
C&J: 95 --> 145
Back Squat: 155 --> 200
Front Squat: 155 --> 175
Press: 115 --> 130

I’m going to continue on this program for another 8 weeks. Once I’m done with this, I’m going to switch to a 4 day type split just because I think it allows for a bit more variety and recovery.