Weightlifting and Strength Program

Two years ago I wrote a post about Transitioning Into Olympic Weightlifting. If you have considered making the switch, it’s worth a read. @conorjmcclure asked how the program could be turned into a 3x/week program instead of the regular 4x/wk.

There are two ways to use the original template: 1) as a transition into weightlifting to allow joints and soft tissue to adapt to the explosive movements or 2) as a combination of explosive weightlifting movements with traditional strength movements. How I’d approach a 3x/wk would depend on the trainee’s intention, but usually people still want to get stronger while incorporating the Olympic lifts. Here’s how I’d do it:

Snatch (heavy)
Clean and Jerk (medium)

Press or Push-press
Front Squat
Barbell rows

Snatch (medium)
Clean and Jerk (heavy)
Squat or Bench

It’s not a perfect template, but I like the symmetry of snatching and CJ’ing on the first and third training days instead of bunching them on one side of the week. If the lifter was young (and therefore can recover well) or an intermediate squatter wanting to push it hard, they could squat on Friday. This weekly structure would work well with a traditional Texas Method set up, and depending on the lifter’s deficiency, they could focus more on the Olympic lifts or the squatting. Otherwise, I’d clean and jerk heavier near the end of the week, use that as some squatting work, and then get some benching in if the person was weak or still wanted to get bigger. I don’t usually knock bench completely out of a program unless someone is no-shit committed to weightlifting.

I always like to get quality RDLs in most programs since most trainees rarely develop their posterior chain properly and they can be a benefit in weightlifting. If someone wanted to, they could squat and bench and RDL, but that’s kind of a lot of shit going on. The benching could always be lighter or medium-ish and supersetted with RDLs for the sake of getting through it.

As far as the snatch and CJ, I’d approach it like I mentioned in the previous article. To summarize, you’d lift heavy in one of the lifts and then “medium” (or about 80% of the hypothetical max) with the other lift. Snatch is always done first since you’ll always CJ after a snatch in a meet. Monday would be heavy snatch, medium CJ. Friday would be medium snatch, heavy CJ. For the medium lift, accumulate 6 to 10 reps preferably on a clock (1 minute for snatch, 90 to 120 seconds for CJ). For the heavy lift, work up to heavy singles, meaning you can only do about five of them. Each week you’ll aim to increase the weight by 2.5 or 5k. When you can’t maintain 5 singles, just do about 3 and keep progressing. Eventually you’ll only be able to hit one heavy single and can’t repeat it. Keep pushing the weight each week with as small increments as you can. If you did this progression right, you should have about 2 or 3 months of work. If you have serious mechanical errors, then decrease the top load about 10% and work on your issue.

This is pretty much a beginner progression on the Olympic lifts that can last anywhere from two to four months. It’s simple and effective. Once you peter out on this progression, you’ll be ready for more complicated programming unless you just want to continue doing sub-maximal work on the Olympic lifts and max them every few weeks.

Ideally you’d want a coach before starting so you don’t ingrain bad habits or movement patterns, but once you complete this progression you definitely need to seek out a coach. If you spend a couple months working on something, it means you’re dedicated enough to spend a little money and improve on whatever you accomplished solo.

I wouldn’t add much more to this other than pull-ups or chin-ups sprinkled in on any day. Of course, muscle imbalances should be corrected when necessary, but most people throw too much shit into a training program, clutter it up, and they miss out on raw performance gain that the basic barbell lifts provide.


PR Friday – 26 Sep 2014

PR Friday — Post your training updates, PR’s, and questions to the comments for the 70′s Big crew

Weekly Q&A gives you a chance to ask anyone from the 70′s Big Crew a question in the comments below, on Facebook, or Twitter. Follow 70′s Big on Instagram

Recap: We had a recipe for a calorie-dense protein batter…thing. I dunno, just try it. Also we hit the 5th anniversary/birthday for 70′s Big this past week. I think the comments were pretty funny, so go ahead and post your favorite 70′s Big moment to the comments. Or the worst, I dunno. Chalk Talk will be back in a couple of weeks. Here’s a classic video that AC edited.

Texas Pt. 2 from A.C. on Vimeo.

Happy 5th Birthday 70′s Big

On 22 September 2009 this website launched in order to educate people about strength and conditioning as well as entertain. The focus was on being big, muscular, and strong in a time dominated by emaciation. Women were encouraged to train, men were encouraged to pound the calories, and everyone was pushed into competition.

Over the years the site has evolved due to a combination of getting jaded with the same kindergarten material available across the “training-sphere” as well as an obligation to not only teach people to get strong, but to keep them healthy and strong through life. We should all aim to train our bodies, minds, and souls deep into old age. The basic tenants of 70sBig.com remain the same:

- commit to training with reckless intensity
- develop a physique built with performance instead of vanity
- help encourage others in their training
- enter competition for ultimate introspection
- teach and learn about strength and conditioning, mobility, nutrition, anatomy, physiology, fitness, etc.
- tirelessly lead the charge to end misconceptions about females and lifting
actively work towards changing societal body image
- have a damn good time doing it

The 70's Big Crew, 2013

The 70′s Big Crew, 2013

It’s always been my intention to help people through 70sBig.com. I hope whoever you are, whether you’ve been here since day one or just started reading yesterday, you have gained benefit from this website’s five years of information. When I find the time, I regularly work to improve our knowledge and synthesize material you can implement into your own training and life.

This wouldn’t be possible without all of you. I want to thank all of the readers, new and old. I consider you a part of the 70′s Big Community, one full of crazy assholes who are some of the nicest, hard working, and amusing folks around. The reach of 70′s Big is broad, and it’s comforting to know that we can go almost anywhere in the world, talk about 70′s Big and immediately have a bond with a stranger. “70′s Big takes care of their own,” is a comforting thought. We’ve built something really cool here and this is as much your birthday as it is mine.

To all of my friends around the world — whether I’ve met you or not, held a seminar in your gym, trained with you, or lectured to your unit — thanks for making this fun. And to my close friends who were integral in the creation of this website: thanks for being there for me with your absurd, unique, and loyal personality.

The future is always bright to people who attack it with fervor. 70′s Big will always be around to educate, entertain, and irritate you. The idea of communicating with all of you assholes through old age will, at the very least, be entertaining.

Train hard, get big. Get 70′s Big.

Happy Birthday


Protein Batter Snack

Need some calories? Protein? Want to satisfy that sweet tooth but keep the food items pretty clean? Here’s what you’re gonna do:

1. Put 1 to 3 tablespoons of a nut butter in a bowl.

2. Add a small amount of butter (grass fed is ideal).

3. Microwave it for 30 seconds.

4. Put a scoop of protein in. Stir it up.

5. Add in goodies for flavoring (cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla extract, etc.) or consistency (almond milk).

6. Consume.

Some people call this protein cookie dough. Some call it protein cake batter. I just call it a good time. Two tablespoons of most nut butters will yield around 16g of fat, 7g of carbs, and 7g of protein. Protein scoops will range from 20 to 28g (the latter is whey isolate). Add in a little extra fat from the butter (1/2 a tablespoon is about 5g). You end up with about 20g of fat, 30g of protein, and less than 10g of carbs for about 330 calories.

I consider all of these food items acceptable in my Paleo for Lifters approach. The only issue would be what kind of fat you’re getting from the nut butter, but if you’re training hard, otherwise eating clean, and still consuming some fish oil, I don’t think it’s a big deal. And, as my wife proved to me over the weekend, you can put almonds in a food processor and make almond butter, so other than the protein powder and whatever you use to liquify the mixture, there doesn’t have to be any not-clean ingredients.

I don’t drink milk, so slamming a glass of almond milk after eating this was particularly satisfying.

Dark chocolate almond butter works really well, but you could use regular almond or peanut butter. You could throw a square of dark chocolate in or add/subtract things like vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, and and almond milk for different effects. You could probably solidify it in the fridge, or drizzle it on bananas or strawberries. If you eat oatmeal, it’d probably mix pretty well in there.

It’s pretty caloric dense, so if you’re trying to lose body fat it may not be ideal. But then again, it might be better than engulfing a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. If you were short on time, this is something you could make really quick and store in a small tupperware for the next day. Add a high density carb and it might be pretty good to take on a trail (assuming you’re at an altitude and work rate that can tolerate fat). Otherwise, enjoy this caloric dense snack.

PR Friday – 19 Sep 2014

PR Friday — Post your training updates, PR’s, and questions to the comments and the 70′s Big crew will respond. 

Weekly Q&A gives you a chance to ask anyone from the 70′s Big Crew a question in the comments below, on Facebook, or Twitter. Follow 70′s Big on Instagram

Recap: Monday was the 8th Chalk Talk episode about using speed deadlifts and RDLs in training, particularly during deployments, competitive seasons, or otherwise stressful training to still get decent posterior chain work in. Learning how to feast was the focal point of Wednesday, so don’t miss that article. I was away for a bit, so I couldn’t fix the broken podcast link from earlier in the month, but Episode 19 of 70′s Big Radio is now up. It features an interview with physical therapist Dr. Rob Andrade. Lastly, the throwback article of the week is from a year ago and explains why your post workout meal doesn’t really mean much.

The following video details an Olympic weightlifting battle. Weightlifting is a bit friendlier to spectators because opposing lifters are usually following each other’s attempts. In contrast, powerlifting has the entire flight lift one attempt before continuing onto the next. The structure of powerlifting means you have to already know what’s going on to see the battles. The same goes for weightlifting, but it happens at a faster pace. This video clues you into the battle through narration:

What is your favorite historic strength sport battle? If it’s on YouTube, go ahead and post a link.