T Nation

Program Advice?


WIth much trepidation I offer the following program for y'all to tear apart (I wrote it myself - can ya tell?)
I have looked at programs (why re-invent the wheel?) but... None really have much appeal to me :frowning:

Still learning form on oly stuff in particular and autoregulating and ramping (still making beginners gains and learning to listen to my body with respect to when to push and when to back off)

Legs (hamstrings, quads) - I pull more than I squat which is why I'm squatting before pulling (and think I should squat more frequently than pulling)
TVA activation / core - lazy, lazy.

Want some oly stuff in each day because it is a bit random when I get coaching. Want to try and keep it as simple as possible. I do mobility work / foam rolling / bodybalance as well. Avoiding hip flexion ab work because I do comp work all day and tight flexors. Need enough consistency / regularity to keep track of progress (my biggest motivator)

Alternate A, B, C:


Front squat 5x5 (or working up to max with doubles and singles)
Powerclean 6x3 (or working up to max with doubles and singles)
* squat clean practice
Pull up variation (currently band assisted chin-ups) 5x5
Push-ups (still working on attaining 3x10 and / laddering up to 10 and back down to 1)
Abs (2.00 plank - working towards ab wheel rollouts and / or weighted plank)


Overhead squat 5x5
Powersnatch 3x6
* snatch practice
Deadlift / Romanian deadlift (alternate?) 5x5 (or sometimes try triples, doubles, max)
Standing Barbell Row 5x5
Abs. Ditto.


Back squat 5x5
Press 5x5
* push press / jerk practice
Pull throughs (hip extensions? not sure what this is called, hope people know what I mean) Haven't done these for ages. 3x10?
Smith Machine weighted glute kickbacks 5x5
Abs. Ditto.

Guess its a combo oly lifting / general strength program. Upper body vertical- horizontal push-pull, oly lifting stuff, currently prioritizing lower body with squats.

Thoughts welcome.


I don't understand the hip vs knee dominant lower body thing, in particular, so maybe it is unbalanced in that respect (i don't think i'm quad dominant). i understand if nobody has anything to say... maybe the whole thing is just pretty stupid considering the number of very good programs that there are out there.

or maybe it is a bit weird since i'm such a beginner (not aiming to peak for anything in particular and also still working form with back squats and deadlifts which is why i can do that volume and frequency). i was just interested in knowing whether i'd fucked the dog particularly badly with respect to some inbalance or whatever before embarking for the next three months or so...


Hmmm just to add something useless, below is my program and I'm also a beginner:

1 hr of:
- C&J/Snatch (empty bar to max weight)

and then:
- Low/high Pull (5x3) - Also used to gauge whether I'm ready to try a new c&J/snatch PR attempt or not.
- Overhead Press (5x5)
- Front/Back Squat (6x3 or RSR)
- Weighted Back Extension (3x5, because I'm lazy and wanna go home)

3 times a week.


alexus I suggest you read this article by Glenn Pendlay on programing for beginners.


I'm a relative beginner too, under a years experience. The way I've been taught is that the lifts are the most important thing, then squats. Then the rest is extras to address things.

So every session was always snatch, clean and jerk or both. Then front or back squats. Then 1 or 2 extra exercises that are in there for specific reasons to do with form/difficulties, then an ab or lower back exercise.

I kind of get the impression that you are trying to do too many things at once. If your aim is to learn and get better on the lifts then put your focus on them, and ask whenever you do get coaching what extra exercises you should focus on in the next week. And keep everything logged! Then you will see your progress


another thing I would add.... as you get used to training start adding days to your training week.

You are starting out with 3days of lifting, that's good to start. But a 6weeks down the road add a 4th day, then a 5th day, and a 6th day. However, never train 7days straight, ok maybe one week every once in a blue moon.

If you really wanna be hardcore like John North do 2x a days. However you should NOT squat every training sessions, keep your squats to 3-4times a week. At most 5.

The good thing about the Snatch/Clean is that those movements are "eccentric-less" (to quote C.T). So they don't tax your body as much as a Squat or a Deadlift will, so you can increase the training volume.

Check out these threads, so you have an idea what high training intensity and volume looks like:



yeah, so i train 6/7 days a week (autoregulating when i have a day off). i get cranky if i don't train. you don't want to see me cranky. i have looked at the pendlay programs :slight_smile: other programs, too :slight_smile: i'm not meaning to be pulling all this out of my butt - rather i'm hoping (fingers crossed) it represents a variation on more standard programs that is more tailored to my fairly peculiar weaknesses.

in particular, i pull more than i squat. i don't know anybody else who does that. as such, there isn't any reason for me to do the full (squat) versions of the lifts. if i'm not strong enough to pull it to where it is supposed to go, then i'm sure as hell not strong enough to gain any advantage in getting myself under it and then getting crushed.

that is why this program has me squatting a lot (greasing the groove, hopefully) and also squatting first (getting stronger at them, hopefully).

when i squat more than i pull then i figure i'll be ready to start prioritizing the full lifts (be in more of a position to do a more standard program).

if i do the full lifts then my form also starts turning to crap, since i don't finish the pull properly (not co-ordinated enough to do the proper movement at significantly less than full force). as such, i need to limit how many squat versions of the lifts i do until i'm squatting more than i'm pulling.

so priority (to address weakness): SQUAT MORE THAN PULL

i did get told of my last program that i was trying to do too much... that i should think of cycling. in particular, focusing on oly lifting for one cycle and focusing on strength for another cycle. i know from experience that if i don't practice oly lifting (pulling, in particular) regularly that my form starts turning to crap, though. sometimes i'm feeling a bit CNS fried so i can keep the oly stuff light (focus on form) and benefit from slogging the strength work.

i'm also weaker than most :frowning: in a way... i'd be happy enough getting rid of pull-ups (to counter all the pressing) and also rows and push-ups... but they seem like fairly innocuous basic strength stuff to be doing (last - not a priority). guess the weighted glute kickbacks are something of a girls version of curls... but i'd be sad to see those go...

anyway... thanks for the comments - very interesting to hear what programs other people are doing, too.


What program I do... I basically follow www.mikesgym.org, and follow his WOD so I don't have to think about it. I add this though: 5x10 dips once a week, 2-3 days of chin-up variations, band pushdowns because they make my elbows feel healthy, and 5x10 preacher curls because I want big gunz. I also push the prowler 1x a week, and run hill sprints 1x a week.


Just of interest what are your numbers for the lifts and squats/pulls? Also, I think you would be making a big mistake for not doing the full lifts. Strength sorts itself out.

A quote from glenn pendlay: "My dream is a young lifter who hasn't had any experience doing any lifting, my nightmare is a teenager who decided they should hit some numbers on. squats/deadlift/bench before throwing themselves into oly lifting" (might be a worded a bit differently but it was pretty much that)

I know you aren't quite going that far but I think you are making a massive mistake putting squats first, as your lifts after will always be subpar. I'm sure 90% of the people doing olympic lifting had some muscle imbalances before they started, I did, and they should be focused on, but after doing the full lifts. If your full lift technique doesn't improve, your squats could go up 50kg, and the only way that's going to help yout lifting is giving you more brute strength to muscle more weight up, not going to help you in the long run! Think a year or 2 down the line rather than 3 months


yeah, alright 1RM (perhaps this will help)...

powerclean 45kg
front squat 42.5kg (very recent - has come up from 35kg)
clean 37.5kg (ugly because i didn't finish the pull)

powersnatch 30kg
overhead squat 27.5kg
snatch 32.5kg (one strange anomaly because i'm failing mostly to get 30kg - probably because i'm scared to get under what might well crush me)

at the moment doing the full lifts seems like a bad idea since i either need to cut the pull short in order to get under (which doesn't seem good for the technique groove) or there isn't any point in trying to get under since i'm not capable of squatting it up.

i revise what i said about 'embarking for the next 3 months' and replace it with 'until my squats get better than my pulls' at which point i would indeed like to work the full lifts more.

i would really like my squats to be 10 or 15kg better than my pulls... i think that is reasonable (for around the weights i'm moving?)

actually... i'd really like a bodyweight front squat (around 63kg)...


actually it is a bit worse than that... i power with very minimal knee / ankle bend... if i don't need to pull it that high (because i'm getting under it) then i'd be able to pull a fair bit more. know i can get 50kg high enough for a lowish powerclean / highish squatclean - but no way in hell i'm getting under that. i guess one really wants ones front squat to be 10 or 15kg (??) higher than ones max squatclean...


Ok, I see what you are saying about squat/pull relationship. Althought I wouldn't worry about it as much as you are. I still think it's a mistake to put squats first. The oly lifts don't really hurt your squats after, but doing squats first can really hurt your lifts. You can still do a lot of work on squats, they will come up over time

As for the full lifts, it sounds to me like you just need to work them and build up your confidence in the bottom positions. On the snatch sit in the bottom for a few seconds before standing up, my coach told me to do that when I was starting and it helped quite a bit. I think full lifts from the hang would be good too to stop you cutting the pull short.

Clean/snatch recovery isn't exactly the same as squat recovery. You HAVE to practice them, putting weight on your front squat isn't going to immediately make you able to catch and stand up in the clean with that weight. I think doing the power versions is avoiding your weaknesses, full lifts may be a step back right now but in the long run it's a jump forward

I promise regularly doing the full lifts, squats, and other strength exercises will see your strength levels shoot up


I will add, talk to your coach/people seeing you lift! They will be able to help you a lot more than anyone on the internet


i guess i'm thinking that my poor squatting is what is limiting my oly lifting. i do appreciate that improved front squat / overhead squat doesn't have automatic carryover to the full lifts - but the plan was to do some work on the full lifts as my squats improve to ensure that i do get carryover. when squatting isn't limiting anymore (if, for instance, the carryover becomes limiting) then i'll shift the emphasis whatever my new weakness is.

i'm not confident in the bottom position because i know my legs don't have the strength to stand the weight up.

i'm not sure how starting from the hang will help me get full extension (really drive hips through and get traps up) when the problem is not hitting myself in the face with a weight that is too light for pulling (even less only getting it high enough for there to be a point in getting under) - but has the advantage of being standupable from the catch position. i don't seem able to properly pull weights that are much lighter than my pulling maxes and those are the only weights i'm capable of standing up.

so... i don't really see how doing full versions of the lifts where i either A) cut the pull short or B) get stuck / squashed in the catch are terribly helpful for progress... i'd love to be doing the full versions... but that doesn't seem like it would be good for long term technique.

maybe there is a knack for finishing the pull on very light (for you) weights that i haven't got, though.


thanks very much for the discussion btw - i do appreciate it
i will talk to people from my club (my experience is they do better with me showing them what i plan on doing rather than with me asking them what i should be doing) - but was hoping to run things by people here and show him the new and improved version :slight_smile:


Alexus, I'm curious about what kind of "pull" you're talking about? Is it the high/low (snatch/clean) pull or just pulling/lifting the barbell from the platform?


I appreciate what you are saying. But to me this is what it looks like:

Your main problem is that you can't stand up out of the lifts with weights you can pull there.
Your solution is one that entails not doing the full lifts so you don't have to stand up with the weights.
I appreciate that squat strength is going to help you, and they rightly so should be a big focus. But I think you are underestimating the squating strength you will be getting from standing up from the lifts. And more importantly this will have direct transfer.

Lifts from the hang will help because you can't put quite as much force onto the bar (as you miss the first pull) so you need to fully extend on lighter weights than normal to be able to get under them. I found they helped me with full extension and speed under the bar. I'm not necesarily saying you shouldn't do the power versions too, just don't leave out the full lifts.


by 'pull' (powerclean / snatch) i mean from the floor to full extensiond.

i hear what you are saying about starting from the hang. that isn't something that i've worked - but perhaps it is something that i should start doing (will help make my back stronger too, i've heard). i didn't realize one had a weaker pull starting from there, but sounds like that is just what i need :slight_smile:

i got up to several singles of 37.5kg today on squatcleans before getting stuck in the hole with 40kg. they felt pretty good. i think... i am going to keep doing my squats first for the time being. partly because i'm finding some... potentiation effects (i think the term is) where squatting first is actually helping my confidence for standing up the squatcleans after. and partly because my squat (which was stuck for a while) is actually getting stronger. fairly rapidly right now as i think my quads have had a growth spurt. think i'm about ready to be doing 1x5 at 40kg - at which point i surely should be able to squat clean it. and so on.

i will take your advice on making sure i do the full lifts. great suggestion about starting from the hang.

i think maybe i best just cut back on power cleans / snatches for a bit since they got (relatively) crazy strong... and i think my physique was starting to reflect that :frowning: chicken legs not so great for guys - but even worse for girls :frowning:


The head coach at my club is very hot on having new lifters doing lifts mainly from the hang to begin with. It ingrains the proper second pull position and full hip extension. Then lifters also do pulls to mid thigh (as in to the point the second pull starts/hang position) and only once they are comfortable with the first and second pull will they put them together.

If what you are doing is working then keep at it! And yeah, I would agree it's probably for the best to not worry about trying to pile on the weight on power cleans at the moment. Use this time to make sure you are super strict with your pull positions. It won't take you too long before your squat cleans/snatches overtake the power versions!