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Trying to Figure this Stuff Out..


Hey everybody, I believe this is my first post, though I've been reading for a couple years. Anyways, I guess I should give a quick history of my training:
-Bodybuilding Methods for a couple years of High School
-Crossfit for a couple years of High School
-Powerlifting/Strongman/Gymnastics/Unstructured for a year of college
-After that very unproductive year, I ran through Starting Strength, and have recently started 5/3/1.

I know the Olympic lifts produce the highest power/flexibility/speed/co-ordination/etc, and I would love to start focusing on them. From what I've read today, it seems that time is wasted on power variations, until they're needed as accessory; FS is/should be ~85%+ of BS(I haven't FS since Crossfit, so I know mines nothing special); starting out (after technical consistency) it's a good idea to Sn, CJ, and FS every time you workout for a daily max (not always a PB), and start adding in maybe an accessory movement once you develop weaknesses.

I know I still need more strength, and would hate to stop BS, so I was wondering what you guys thought of this:
-BS 6x2 (I would continuing adding a rep per week, till 6, then add weight and reset reps to 2)

-BS 6x2 (same weight as Mon, though would not increase reps)


Sn/CJ/FS would all be working towards a heavy single/double/triple for the day.

Has anyone experimented with this type of approach? Is this madness and should I just follow a site like olyathlete/cathletics? Any opinions are greatly appreciated, and if you want to know anything else please just ask. Sorry for such a long first post.


depends on whether you can snatch, clean and jerk, and front squat with technical proficiency. vids would help.


Very true. I won't be in the gym for a couple of days, but when I do I'll try to find a way of filming myself.


front squat doesn't "need" to be 85% of bs. Different people will get different ratios. Still its considered better the higher % it is.

I would take the back squat on wednesday and make it on friday.
I would also think that 6x6 twice a week with maximum weight is too much volume. I'd do something different for the 2nd squat day, maybe work up to a max and get some doubles in or something like that.

And last if you aren't proficient enough with the lifts there's no reason to work up to just one set of 1/2/3 reps. You need to get a lot of reps with a big weight. It doesn't have to be your max for the day. Your mind needs to learn the movement patterns and make them more efficient and to generally learn to do the movement without too much thought.

You'll also have to sometimes do even less weight when trying to add something new to your technique. Still I would keep the front squat day with heavy weights no matter what.(not necessarily just one set of 1/2/3, more is fine)


You appear to have a good understanding. I will simply offer what I have read/experienced so far in my last year or so (just to consider):

You are good/correct to snatch and clean & jerk 3x/week working up to a 'daily' max. I would suggest that when you fail (most likely in the beginning to technique - i.e. your technique breaks down at a certain weight that you can no longer complete the lifts) to back off 10-15% and do a few more singles. First, you don't end on a failure (good for the ego and motor pathways) and it will also allow more practice at the lifts in a slightly fatigued state.

Regarding squats, I agree with the need to both front and back squat. How much of each of for you to decide. Maybe initially 2:1 in favor of the front? When you front squat, try to do a few sets of doubles/triples with what your max clean was for the day. Unless you can squat 200(170 front) and you only clean 100 - then obviously a little more on the squat is called for. But basically if you can do multiple doubles with your max clean it certainly won't hurt you. Remember, at this point you will most likely have more strength than you can display through the lifts so the priority is getting the lifts up and then we can prioritize the squat later down the road should that be the case.

You can also maybe go for a heavy single once a week. Maybe on day three instead of multiple 2/3s work up to a max squat - one week max front the next max back and then rotate the sets of 2/3s between front/back during your other workouts.

Just a thought...


Thank you guys for the advice. I think what I'll do at this point, I'll try to film as many lifts as I can during the session. During the session I'll start with Sn, work up as heavy as technique allows, until I miss a weight a couple times (technique or strength related failure), then drop down and get a few more in. Repeat pretty much the same thing with the CJ. Repeat the same thing with FS, but drop for doubles instead of singles. Once/if I can get you guys to help me with my technique, then I'll figure out the best way to approach everything.

The reason I had set up the squats the way I did (might be far-fetched), was to represent a Texas Method approach of High Volume(6x2->6), Recovery(6x2), High Intensity(Max). As far as squatting, when I do work up to a heavy weight, then drop, etc, should I keep all the reps explosive ("rocket launch reps"), or is "grinding" okay? I know the less grinding the better, if, you're lifting near every day, but I'm not sure which would be better until I have built up that kind of work capacity. The reason I'm not eager to drop squats, is cause I don't want to miss out on the potential strength I could have gained while developing technique on the lifts; but, if it's advised on here to let squats drop temporarily to focus on making the lifts second nature, I'll do that. Thanks again for all the responses.


you don't need to drop squats. You just won't increase your numbers as fast when doing olympic lifts. Generally you want squats to be explosive but don't worry about it too much IMO. As long as you are putting maximum force at all times(except at the very top.. quarter squat height and up) its fine. Making sure you don't grind is a minor detail that only very top top lifters should worry about.


I hope you didn't interpret anything I said as meaning drop the squats. Indeed you should squat to drive strength gains/adaptation just about every tie you touch a barbell. The only distinction is that after doing 15-20 each of snatch/clean & jerk, you should already be warmed up, so you will need fewer build up sets, and you can get to the meat of the squatting:higer intensity and lower volume.
I believe what you decided upon is a great and common method - squat up to daily max and then back off doubles/triples (kinda sounds like Broz's method). This seems to suit Olympic lifters better than pure volume on the squat.

I think Pendlay has some guys squat volume on Saturdays but that's when they do the lifts and squat lower volume M-F and don't do the lifts on Saturday. So Saturday is devoted to squatting and overhead work with the idea that they have Sunday to recover. Now, remember these are full time advanced (or close to it) lifters.

As for keeping then quick or 'grinding' that's a personal decision. My decision, being 40 years old, is to not go for too many grinders. You will know on a day to day basis what to do. Stick w/what you decided.

Onward and upward...


I think it looks good on paper... I've come up with similar programs on paper :slight_smile:

I think it does depend a bit on what your goals are. There is a world of difference between doing the Olympic Lifts competently and aiming for more than competency.

Sometimes I find it is productive to work to max. I do a '3 misses and you are out' sort of system. Then, depending on why I'm missing I'll back off and do some singles, doubles, and maybe triples of whatever part of the motion ails me. Work on the first pull. Or the second pull. Whatever. Then do a couple reps of the whole movement to try and incorporate the movement into the whole lift.

Sometimes I find that at least one part of the movement simply isn't going well for me with my bar warm-up. In which case it wouldn't be so productive to work to max. Better to spend as much time as it takes to try and get it sorted.

So... I have days where the idea is 'work on snatch for 30 minutes'. Doing whatever I feel needs to be done. Sometimes I get to max. Other times I don't get much beyond the bar with respect to loading. The 30 minutes absolutely flies by. But then... If I'm wanting to work Cleans as well... Or Jerks... Or do some squats... There simply isn't enough hours that I can spend at the gym.

With the squats...

I've never much got into the spirit of back squats. Feel more comfortable with front because of familiarity mostly, I think. Running the Russian Squat Routine now and everything else is taking a dive. Thinking of it as 6 weeks out of my regularly scheduled programming (so to speak). Will look at a way to incorporate front squats (need to get my max up but also need reps for technique) that isn't so disruptive to my Oly Lifting once I'm done...

So... I do think your program looks good on paper. But... Well... I wouldn't be able to stick to that kind of program for more than a week. My form would turn to shit pretty quick without doing partials as needed at light weights to work technique.


Not to hijack the thread - but @Alexus - we had a lifter at our club do the RSR (never back squatted through the entire program) and came away with an increased front squat - for what it's worth.



If your asking this question my guess is your technique isn't proficient enough to be doing singles 3x a week.

I think the point where your technique is consistent enough is when you can SN bw in a competition. If your technique is not consistent and proficient you will stop making gains very quickly due to technique issues. Sure you will get gains but gains using bad technique will stop very quickly.

Learn good technique then start upping the weights and hitting bigger weights. The OLifts are a LEARNT SKILL. Would you juggle 5 balls right off the bat? No. You would learn with 2 and 3 and get good at 3 then move on to 4 then finally 5. Imagine trying to learn to juggle with 5 balls from the get go, it would be a disaster. IMO it takes about a year with a coach for non full time lifters. Probably about 4months for a lifter doing it 3x a week focused with a coach.

Don't worry about % and ratios yet. Just get good lifts and squats in and up the weights you can do for doubles and triples and singles.

Everyone wants to go straight to max's without getting consistent. I've seen many lifters crash and burn before hitting 100kg with any form on the Sn due to them not learning technique properly.




of course.
6 weeks to a new max at 105%.
that is what the program says.



@lordstorm88, I was thinking that they'd help my lifts; I just want my squat to be right to the point of diminishing returns, from an inclusive view of fitness, so I'm okay with them not progressing fast, as long as they progress. I'll make sure to attempt applying maximal force every rep, thanks!

@NewWorldMan, excellent cause I've grown to love squatting ha. The least amount I have to do to make an adaption is what I'm after, so if I can get out of having to do so many warmup sets, even better. Have you heard of anyone trying a 5/3/1 approach to their squats? Maybe one day do the intensity portion (going for a weight/rep max) for back squat, another do the volume (this case maybe 6x6 instead of 5x10), then doing front squats the same way (across two days). I'd love to do the least damage possible, ha, but I am 19, so I probably will be fine with a few grinders. Thanks!

@alexus, my goals ultimately have to do with competing in the CrossFit Games, but for now I know that I'm not nearly strong enough in the Olympic lifts, that's why I want to focus on them. (don't worry, I'm not a metcon fiend, and I have a purpose for every time I do conditioning, instead of throwing whatever exercises sound fun). I like the concept of 'work on Snatch for 30mins', I can see how that adaptive training is smarter then a set prescription, assuming the one doing it knows where they are ailing that day. Thanks!

@Koing, great analogy. Looks like I'll have to sign up for a few competitions then. Unfortunately, it sounds like it may be longer then a year for me then ha, unless I can get a coach cheaper/make more money. Until my technique is proficient (cause it most likely isn't, though I should be able to get a few videos up today), would it be best to stick with just an empty bar, and try getting ~20 reps as often as recovery allows? I'll do my best to take as long as needed to go mental with the weights, thanks!

At least a video should be up today, probably just the Sn, but I would love as much honest constructive feedback as I can get.


Re:5/3/1 for squatting and O-lifts check out Carl Darby's log. He's answers my query to his training layout here (about halfway down - don't know how to link to a specific post on this forum):


Hopefully this video loads.


Attempt #2


Alright well, I couldn't get the video function working (not much of a tech guy), but the video is linked below, or at least the URL is there. Any advice is welcome, from what I see, I would say I'm not getting a full triple extension, and a few reps I ended off balanced (more overhead squats?). Next time I get the chance to lift, I'll be sure to get some CJs in.


By Sn bw in comp it tells me a few things from doing it in training. You made weight for whatever class you were in, you'll have to do it under stricter rules with 3 refs, shorter timings of 1mins inbetween each lift or 2mins if you follow yourself, you'll have to do 3 Sn and you'll have to do 3 CJ's.

The above isn't meant to say you should only do a comp WHEN you can Sn bw. Thats a BS attitude. Sign up for a comp and just do it. I did my first comp after 3 weeks training 12yrs ago. I did 35/45. I can do over 3x that now. Just sign up and get stuck in. Doesn't matter where you come, it only matters that you keep getting gains after every few comps. It will drastically change your training and keep you really focused. I find that lifters that don't compete don't have that edge to them imo.

You need to pull the bar in. The bars not making contact with your upperthighs at all.




I highly suggest learning the snatch like it shows in these videos. There are some for the clean as well but the concept is the same.

Start with high hangs. The bar is way way forward and you are pulling with your arms more so than with your legs. I think if you are going to be self coached try those videos for sure and don't be impatient.

I've been in and out of this sport for 2.5 years and my technique is still not decent enough. Had I followed those videos I think 6 months would have been more than enough.


Thanks for the responses.

@Koing, there's a comp here in October, hopefully that will give me enough time to fix a few things, and will give me a good few months of focused training; I entirely agree that those who don't have a reason to train (a finite goal/competition/event) usually don't have that little spark to take themselves over the top.

@lordstorm88, thank you for that link! I'm going to follow those videos to the T, hopefully filming myself every rep of the way so that I can at least compare to those lifters.