T Nation

Squat Program for Olympic Lifts


I'm probably going to be doing nothing but squatting for a while.
Last time I cleaned it ended with a sprained wrist, which is still bad.

Squatting strength has been my definite weakness and this may be a good opportunity to raise it.

Since I can't do much else,I could probably handle some high volume?

I've been squatting 5x5 three times a week with 2.5kg increases each time.
It is boring as hell, but today I did 120kg for 5x5.

Any suggestions? :slightly_smiling:


Wrap that wrist nice and tight.
Back Squat; Front Squat (With Arms Straight Out in Front of You); Squat from Pins; Box Squat; etc.
Good luck and speedy recovery.


Thanks. I do wonder more about specific programming advice?
I'd like to start a program which will keep me ready-ish for getting back to olympic weightlifting, and hopefully stronger.
Do I hope for too much from a program?


Given that I have mild patellar tendonosis, should I strive for more volume rather than intensity?


I was suffering from patellar tendonitis for a couple of months and I kept squatting 7/week and did the full lifts too. I did static stretching before and after my workout and foam rolled with a broom stick 2-3 times per day. Eventually the pain got away


Honestly, this might be a perfect time to start Smolov. You're already squatting 5x5 3 times a week so while the volume would be brutal it would also not be near as bad a jump for you as it would be for people used to squatting 1-2 times a week. Besides which you won't be doing the volume on the olympic lifts that you are used to so it may not end up being such a horrific ramp up in total training volume anyways.

EDIT--missed the patellar tendonitis. Maybe volume would be good, maybe not. If it is really tendonitis high volume might make it worse. On the other hand, you might be just suffering from referred pain from soft tissue quality problems and ankle mobility issues. I would make a concerted effort to work on soft tissue and ankle mobility and ramp up curcumin and omega 3 consumption to see if that fixes things.


Actually, I have gotten low grade tendinosis confirmed by MRI.
Not tendonitis, but tendonosis. My PT said I should keep training, but stay away from pain
Perhaps smolov, but I was thinking that all the high percentage lifts may worsen things?


Well the high percents probably won't kick in until the intense phase, so you could possibly still do the base mesocycle and the test/switching phase. Then start the intense phase if you feel up to it and see how it goes. You never know.


Bit late to the party, but...Charles Staley has an article from back in the day called "From Russia With Love" in which he outlines two different peaking cycles. One has two training days for the targeted lift and one has three, if memory serves. Same idea but a bit less volume than dear Smolov I think.


Gonna try my luck with the Russian squat program.

Would it be a good idea to add some pause squats on one or the days?
Or would that be to much?


I would leave the pause squats out. If you really want to add additional squatting, do some light (70% ish) front squat doubles or triples. Would this be possible with your wrist, using straps or even a cross arm grip?

Fwiw I did this program a few years ago and added 45lb to my squat in 6 weeks. Did it again this spring and added another 20 lb. I find the first three weeks can be repeated indefinitely ( up to the 6x6 at 80%). You can reset the cycle and add x amount of pounds to your hypothetical max, or go for a heavy single and use that to base your next wave off of.

Good luck with the program!


I do:
Front Squat to 5RM or 3RM then,
Back Squat to 3RM or 1RM.
Every day, before doing the full lifts, and never grinding reps.

This is how I have been doing it for like two and a half months, and my squat has gone from a grinding 130kg(1RM) to a fast 165(3RM).
Admittedly though, I was not used to squatting ATG, I had used a more powerlifter-esque squat when I played football, and that obviously wasnt gonna fly as a weightlifter, so some of that increase could just be me getting used to the bottom position. Also, this is the first time I've been injury free in about a year, so that helped too, but I still think it's worth mentioning my approach as I don't see many other people doing it like me and I know that when I used to train people it was almost universal that frequency trumped volume for gains in strength.

Just food for thought :slightly_smiling:


It's embarrassing, but I didn't think of using straps for the front squat. I'll give that a try today.

That is very good progress. How much was your max at the time?


You do it every day or just every training day?
How long did it take before you saw progress?
How many sets do you use to build up to the maxes?

I did try something along those lines, the Squat Nemesis, but I think I went a bit overboard with the volume. Got tendon issues towards the end of week two. I may have been less diligent with the mobility work at the time as well though.


I try to train every day, give or take a day every two weeks or so.
Though I'm sure every training day would be fine.

I saw results immediately, every week I've PR'd since I started.
Though numbers are up and down day to day, they've been consistently higher every two weeks or so.

My logbook from Wednesday last week:
Fr. Squatz - 60x5, 100x5, 120x3, 140x1(felt super easy, so I decided not to waste energy and just moved up), 150x3.
B. Squatz - 150x3, 160x2, 165x1
In kilos of course.

So, 4-ish, really easy sets, 2 crisp but challenging sets, and 2 max attempts.
Easy squeezy. Though it could be more or less depending on how I feel.

I think the key is to keep the speed high, like you can see in my log excerpt there I only worked up to my 3RM for a 1RM on that day, because that's the weight that started to slow down. I didn't care that a couple days earlier I hit a fast triple with the same weight, I knew I was a bit fatigued so I didn't push it. It paid off in the end too because that day I had enough in the tank to hit a Snatch PR. I think those grinders really take it out of you more than they benefit in the end anyway.

As for tendon issues and mobility work, let me just say that Weightlifting has really made me a Kelly Starrett fan, lol.


I do like the daily squatting thing. Maybe I should give it another shot.
Perhaps it would be smart to start a bit lower this time and stay off the grinders. :wink:

Have you compared the results of back squatting this way, without the front squats?


I have not, I like front squatting more than back squatting, 'cause I'm weird.


if you have knee pain/tendonitis/tendonosis then you can still do Smolov. but when you test to get your starting weight, only count what you can do with 3 second eccentrics. and make sure all of your reps are done with 3 second eccentrics.

this will still allow you to use good weights and get much stronger, but the longer eccentrics will prevent you from loading the tendons too much and prevent and possibly help pain.

my best strength gains have been from doing moderate-high volume with 3-4 second eccentrics and i have always finished the program with my knees feeling better or atleast no worse the they did from the beginning.

(i have had tendonosis for a very long time and had small tears in my left knee for years.)


kelly is some sort of stretchy mutant. i dont know how i can put my ankles together and squat down atg while barefoot. i am 6ft3 and i dont know how tall kelly is but damn.


Preferring front squats to back squats is weird, but would perhaps give you an advantage in weightlifting..

I might try something similar to your workout. It's been too long since I front squatted.
Do you ever add inn back-off sets?

Hehe, I shared that opinion before. I guess I've almost become a stretchy mutant as well. :stuck_out_tongue:
I can do this most days after my usual mobility session. Some days I'm a bit stiff and have to curve the back to keep balance though.
I'm 5ft10 however..