Questions about 531 and Olympic Lifting

Hi, I’ve been training for almost 3 years now and my goals are to get as strong as possible without gaining too much weight, but I would also like to eventually compete in Weightlifting.

I started out with Starting strength and then moved on to the Texas Method, but progress is now starting to get really slow. I feel like I would have stalled a lot sooner but I was injured for over a year (Injured both shoulders and couldn’t bench/OHP/jerk/snatch for the year).

My current lifts are (At around 75kg/165lb bodyweight):

Squat 165kg x 5 (360x5) (High bar, true ATG)
Front Squat 150kg x 5 (330x5)
Close grip Bench 140kg x 5 (310x5) (Can’t use wide grip after shoulder injury)
Strict Press 90kg x 8 (200x8) (From chest)
Clean 132.5kg (290)
Snatch around 200, not been able to snatch due to shoulder injury, then wrist injury after shoulder healed.

I’m at the point now where I can get under up to 140kg(310) with cleans, but I can’t stand up with anything more than 132.5kg. This tells me that I need to make my legs stronger, but my squats haven’t been increasing for ages. I was advised to try out 5/3/1 to improve my squats but I had a few questions about it first.

How would I go about maintaining my weightlifting technique whilst running 531? Would you just do light technique work before every session? Or would you still do heavy cleans/snatches somewhere in the week?
Going from 3 days of squatting a week to 1 day a week - Would I instantly see the benefit of the lower volume?
I’d be extremely happy if I could add 20kg to my squat over the next year. Does this seem possible?

I know most people would tell me to stick to a weightlifting program if I want to compete in weightlifting, but that is not my only goal. I want to improve my all around strength and athleticism too, and my goals include a 120kg press and 180kg bench press.

You need to focus on a performance goal. That is the best advice I can give. “Athleticism” is not a goal just like “getting the rippedness” is not a goal.

[quote]Jim Wendler wrote:
You need to focus on a performance goal. That is the best advice I can give. “Athleticism” is not a goal just like “getting the rippedness” is not a goal. [/quote]

Thanks for your reply and your advice, I know that “Athleticism” and “getting ripped” are not goals, I did say my goals include a 120 press and a 180 bench but felt like listing all of my specific goals would take up too much space.

My primary goals at the moment are to reach a 150 C+J and a 120 Snatch (330 and 265 in lbs), but considering I can’t stand up with anything over 135, I deduced that I need to strengthen my legs by improving my squat by 20kg+.

However, I would not like to neglect my pressing. I feel that I am fairly gifted with pressing movements, I hit a double bodyweight raw bench in my first year of lifting, and feel that I could break records in the future (I could probably break the IPF British Junior record now if I entered a comp).

I would also like to keep my weight within the 75-78 (165-170) range, as I box and I am too short to fight at light heavyweight (5’8).

My goals do not have strict timescales, because I’ve witnessed first hand how injuries can set me back (A year to recover from shoulder injuries, 3 months off with a back injury, a few months of slow progress due to a hand injury etc).

Disregarding my goals, do you have any answers to the questions in the OP?

You need to have laser like focus if you want to compete - on one thing. Find that one thing and hammer away at it. If its Oly lifting, then commit yourself to performance goals and gear your training to that. I am not talented, strong, or even remotely athletic enough to excel at numerous things - perhaps others here have had elite status concurrently in multiple disciplines. I am not one of them.

I have found that if I focus on numerous goals, none are reached. When I focus on one, I reach it. Or come very close.

After you find that goal, I recommend 90% compliance to every area that is important to success. Simple as that.

[quote]Jim Wendler wrote:
You need to have laser like focus if you want to compete - on one thing. Find that one thing and hammer away at it. If its Oly lifting, then commit yourself to performance goals and gear your training to that. I am not talented, strong, or even remotely athletic enough to excel at numerous things - perhaps others here have had elite status concurrently in multiple disciplines. I am not one of them.

I have found that if I focus on numerous goals, none are reached. When I focus on one, I reach it. Or come very close.

After you find that goal, I recommend 90% compliance to every area that is important to success. Simple as that. [/quote]

Okay, assuming that my primary goal is to clean 150kg/330lb, and that I believe, in order to reach that goal, I must increase my squat from 180kg to 200kg (396 to 440) whilst also practising the clean to maintain and improve my technique, do you believe 5/3/1 is viable?

What changes would you make to the standard program?
Would working the olympic lifts a few times a week interfere with my squat progress?
Does a 45lb increase in a year seem reasonable assuming I am maintaining my bodyweight?

I understand that it may not be optimal for this particular goal, but I do not want to completely disregard my other ambitions. I am young and enjoy different sports and want to delay the decision of having to specialise in one until later on.

[quote]d.lucas wrote:

Okay, assuming that my primary goal is to clean 150kg/330lb, and that I believe, in order to reach that goal, I must increase my squat from 180kg to 200kg (396 to 440) whilst also practising the clean to maintain and improve my technique, do you believe 5/3/1 is viable?

  1. What changes would you make to the standard program?

  2. Would working the olympic lifts a few times a week interfere with my squat progress?

  3. Does a 45lb increase in a year seem reasonable assuming I am maintaining my bodyweight?[/quote]

  4. Do the clean first on squat/deadlift days. Open with it while you’re fresh, then move onto the slower lifts (squat/deadlift).

  5. Since most people can squat/deadlift heavier than they can clean the clean serves as a great warmup for the squat/deadlift.

  6. Your goal is below the C&J world record for your weight class, so I’d say it’s within the realm of possible.

I’m the same way, except that I’m 36 and would love to be able to specialize but life won’t let me. Just understand that when you put limits on your training you put limits on your performance. Your goal to clean 150kg is definitely achievable but limiting yourself to 75kg bodyweight is going to put a damper on your progress.

Why not run a traditional olympic lifting program with a focus on squats? I’m confused here.

[quote]nkklllll wrote:
Why not run a traditional olympic lifting program with a focus on squats? I’m confused here.[/quote]

I thought the same thing, but at the moment he only seems interested in the clean and not the C&J or snatch.

[quote]some_dude wrote:

[quote]nkklllll wrote:
Why not run a traditional olympic lifting program with a focus on squats? I’m confused here.[/quote]

I thought the same thing, but at the moment he only seems interested in the clean and not the C&J or snatch.[/quote]

At the moment I can’t jerk or snatch, because I fractured the Metacarpal at the base of my thumb. Considering most Olympic lifting programs are heavily based around the classical lifts, and my current squatting program is giving slow progress, I thought I’d see if something like 5/3/1, with less frequent squatting would give good results.

I’d love to gain some weight and add some serious strength but I still enjoy boxing, and I don’t enjoy fighting people with 5 or 6 inches on me. I also feel a lot more athletic at this weight, I’ve been as high as 90kg but it has a huge effect on my cardio.

[quote]d.lucas wrote:

[quote]some_dude wrote:

[quote]nkklllll wrote:
Why not run a traditional olympic lifting program with a focus on squats? I’m confused here.[/quote]

I thought the same thing, but at the moment he only seems interested in the clean and not the C&J or snatch.[/quote]

At the moment I can’t jerk or snatch, because I fractured the Metacarpal at the base of my thumb. Considering most Olympic lifting programs are heavily based around the classical lifts, and my current squatting program is giving slow progress, I thought I’d see if something like 5/3/1, with less frequent squatting would give good results.

I’d love to gain some weight and add some serious strength but I still enjoy boxing, and I don’t enjoy fighting people with 5 or 6 inches on me. I also feel a lot more athletic at this weight, I’ve been as high as 90kg but it has a huge effect on my cardio.
[/quote]

A plan for training 3 days a week that mimics a traditional lifting program without snatches or jerks:

1:

Snatch Pull
Clean
Back Squat

2:
Snatch Pull
Clean
Jerk Supports
Front Squat

3:
Snatch Pull
Clean
Back Squat

Or, if you still want to run 531, Squat on day 1, and do heavy clean pulls or snatch deadlifts after the rest of your workouts. Plus any and all assistance work.

I’d actually probably add in the jerk supports at least one other day.

[quote]nkklllll wrote:

[quote]d.lucas wrote:

[quote]some_dude wrote:

[quote]nkklllll wrote:
Why not run a traditional olympic lifting program with a focus on squats? I’m confused here.[/quote]

I thought the same thing, but at the moment he only seems interested in the clean and not the C&J or snatch.[/quote]

At the moment I can’t jerk or snatch, because I fractured the Metacarpal at the base of my thumb. Considering most Olympic lifting programs are heavily based around the classical lifts, and my current squatting program is giving slow progress, I thought I’d see if something like 5/3/1, with less frequent squatting would give good results.

I’d love to gain some weight and add some serious strength but I still enjoy boxing, and I don’t enjoy fighting people with 5 or 6 inches on me. I also feel a lot more athletic at this weight, I’ve been as high as 90kg but it has a huge effect on my cardio.
[/quote]

A plan for training 3 days a week that mimics a traditional lifting program without snatches or jerks:

1:

Snatch Pull
Clean
Back Squat

2:
Snatch Pull
Clean
Jerk Supports
Front Squat

3:
Snatch Pull
Clean
Back Squat

Or, if you still want to run 531, Squat on day 1, and do heavy clean pulls or snatch deadlifts after the rest of your workouts. Plus any and all assistance work.
[/quote]

That template is pretty similar to what I’m doing now, only I squat at the start of the session rather than at the end, because I feel my leg strength needs improving. I also bench or strict press after squats to give my legs a 15 minute break before doing the lifts. (bench/ohp are fine on the hand, it is the impact from catching a snatch/jerk that causes pain).

I will stick with what I am doing for a few more weeks and try and squeeze some kgs out of it, and then try 5/3/1 for 6 months or so and see what happens!