I've only been competing in Olympic weightlifting for about 4 years, so there was really no "back then." I have had a bar in my hand every week for 20 years, so I was able to make a relatively easy transition.
When I first started, working to a max single, doing some pulls, doing some squats ... was all that was need to improve. As I beat myself up a couple years, I realized by strength and conditioning were no longer my advantage, but limiting factor.
So I've taken more of a periodization approach vs Bulgarian (hate that term). More weeks and more workouts where triples or higher at highest makeable weight is a more important goal than a near max single. Nearing a competition I will drive volume down and intensity up.
I believe I can still make progress, I total about 260-265 on any given day, but think I could get to 280. I am finding sitting at a desk all day does not make for the skeletal recovery that it did in my unbreakable teens and twenties.