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Will This Beginner Routine Cause Me to Overtrain?


After two unsuccessful attempts at getting around the new rule of no links on these forums (well done mods) I have resided to just copying and pasting the first weeks plan. The routine is 12 weeks long and is for the beginner wanting to get in to olympic weightlifting. The plan looks great, albeit ambitious (for myself). Do you guys think this (and 12 weeks of this) will cause me to overtrain? I mean, it says it's for beginners!

Week One
1. Snatch Pull, NE, 5x6
2. Overhead Squats, 5x6
3. Back Squats, 3x12
4. Hyperextensions, 3x12
5. Weighted Sit Ups, 3x12

1. Classic Clean, 5x3
2. Clean Pulls, NE 3x6
3. Push Jerk, 5x3
4. Behind the Neck Press, Snatch Grip, 3x12
5. Counter-movement Jumps, 3x3

1. Snatch Pull, NE + Shrug, 5x6
2. Overhead Squats, 5x6
3. Front Squats, 3x8
4. Good Mornings, standing, 5x12
5. Incline Sit Ups, 3x12
6. Sprint 3x20 meters

1. Classic Clean + Split Jerk, 5x3+2
2. Clean Pulls, NE, 3x6
3. Behind the Neck Press, Snatch Grip, + Overhead Squats 3x12+6
4. Squat Jumps, 3x3

1. Sprint 3x60 meters
2. Lunges, bar on back of shoulders, 3x12
3. Romanian Deadlifts, 5x12
4. Twisting Sit Ups, 3x12

Thanks for reading.


How long have you been lifting/ how much experience do you have?

I'm a bit surprised it doesn't seem to have you snatching at all! It doesn't matter how many over head squats and snatch pulls you do, you aren't going to get a good snatch without doing it, I can understand people not snatching fully until they can overhead squat well but 12 weeks without starting sounds a bit ridiculous to me!


Next wednesday (week two) they introduce the snatch. I was trying to give a snapshot of the 12 week programme without turning the post into an essay.

I have been lifting off and on for 3 years - but I've just started lifting again this month after a 4 month break due to compartment syndrome (tissue in calves too tight for the actual muscle). I have no experience of the oly lifts but another oly lifter at my gym helps me out a lot with my form.


I remember seeing this webpage before. What's the link?

Anyways, I don't see the point of sprints and lunges. It should be squats and more snatches and more snatches and more squats.


Sprints and lunges aside, do you think 5 days a week for 12 weeks is too much training?


I'm hesitant to disagree too much as I'm sure the person who wrote that programme is considerably more experienced with lifting and coaching than me. But I would agree with Andy and say it does seem to have too much emphasis on stuff not directly linked to lifting.

Imo, a good programme should be in priority order:
1) The full lifts (or progressions if you haven't yet learnt them)
2) Squats (could put them equally weighted to be fair)
3) Ab/back work
4) Pulls/ohs (where they will help with lifting only!)
5) Accessory exercises that are tailored to you to fix your weak links

And every session should consist of 1,2 and 3. Then 4 and 5 are added bonuses


It depends on your background. If you've been lifting 3 or 4x a week, 5x may be too much. If you are doing 4 days/week now, add a session of some light power snatches and power clean+jerks and just work up to that frequency of lifting. Then 6 days, 7 days, etc.


I think it is a decent beginner's program. "The organism must build up to very high training loads." Or something along those lines. A new lifter can't just jump in a do 95% or more with both snatch and C+J twice a day six days a week. Work up to it. As long as it is progressing towards an ever simpler program, where you are doing the classical lifts several times per week, you should be OK.


sets of 6 on pulls?

not sure that sounds like such a good idea for learning technique.

i think triples are more traditional (otherwise technique tends to turn crappy).

A new lifter can't just jump in a do 95% or more with both snatch and C+J twice a day six days a week.

Well that might depend. If you are muscling it up, perhaps. If your training percentages are limited by your technique (such that you need to use considerably less than your strength maxes in order to get technically goodish lifts) then you might be able to...

I'm noticing two broadly different approaches to learning the lifts. 1) Use muscle. Try and get technique better with comparable weights. 2) Start with the bar and try and get good technique. Add weight as good technique allows.

I'm mostly going with the second (seems wisest for me re: injury prevention) but it might well be a slower way of learning things... Most seem to go with the second...

Actually I'm starting to think that some combo / jumping around between them might be the best strategy. For me, anyway...


Since its a beginner workout, you won't overtrain anyway since you'll be using light weights compared to what your body could handle strength-wise theoretically.

2nd you won't overtrain anyways. I'm currently doing 5 times a week average(can be 6 or 4days per week at times, but average is 5). The first week or two is gonna be hard, but then your body will get used to it. However when you go to heavier weights don't be surprised if you feel almost constantly tired. Good thing about training that often is that then a day off or two really makes a HUGE difference with recovery.

And of course if your max squat is 100 you won't be doing 3 sets of 5 with 80 every day for 5 days. The weight is less but the much more volume makes up for it concerning strength gains. As for the actual snatch and clean and jerk I think its kind of obvious why you would be better off training them as often as possible due to technique issues.

Generally the idea is you use slightly (5% or so) less weight for everything if you train 5-6 times a week than if you trained 3 times a week. Its less weight now but in the long run it will get your snatch and clean and jerk up much faster and I think its better for leg strength(squats) too.

Concerning the actual program, its hard to say how I would change it. My idea for a beginner right now falls pretty close to what Glenn Pendlay is doing. Start from the finishing position, learn to get under. Start from before the triple extension, do that and then get under. Start from above the knee and do it all. Start from below the knee. Start from the floor. Progressively learning the lifts from the top to bottom. There are accessory exercizes that you would do depending on what you are doing wrong. For example if you are always rock bottom no problem whatever in the bottom of a snatch there is little point in doing snatch balances. If you aren't, then they could help a lot.

But definitely I would have
snatch(whichever part of the progression you are)
clean and jerk(whichever part of the progression you are)
or do cleans and jerks seperate
back/front squats alternating which every day
one exercize for arms(some kind of press)
abs/back are always good to train

Mo sprinting or jumping bullshit. Not for a beginner anyway.

I can't stress enough that if you really were a beginner and I was coaching you I'd probably have you do 1 hour snatch technique 1 hour clean and jerk technique. Then back/front squats and the rest I wouldn't emphasize but it'd be better if you did them.


Okay, I'm going to focus on getting my technique down before anything else.

Thanks for all your replies.