Getting Into Weightlifting — Part 3

But I am a lady, I do not have testiclÈs!

Note: It is PR Friday — post weights gained, lifted, consumed, etc.

A novice can train heavy on a regular basis because they are not lifting a significant percentage of their genetic potential to disrupt homeostasis more than a couple days. Read that sentence again, because there is a lot of shit going on. A novice, defined as someone who adapts to stress on a daily basis (as opposed to a weekly (intermediate) or monthly (advanced) basis), will program things differently than an intermediate. Once intermediate status is achieved, things will get individualized…i.e. more complicated.

An intermediate will have particular recovery limitations that others may not have, and this must be accounted for. As of right now, I do not think there is any good way to efficiently increase strength while getting adequate practice in the Olympic lifts. Increasing the back squat, press, bench press, and deadlift are going to help the Olympic lifts go up, but those “slower lifts” will not increase as fast if the Olympic lifts are practiced adequately during the week (adequate probably means at least twice a week). In comparison, when the focus is to increase those “slower lifts”, you cannot adequately put enough time into getting that “adequate practice” in the snatch and clean & jerk since recovery is a finite thing. This means that you either have to cycle the emphasis on a regular basis or strength train until x weeks out from the meet.

Tommy Suggs used to do the latter, according to an old article written by Bill Starr. He would get strong in training, and then six weeks out from a competition he would get back into doing the lifts and refining his technique. The method seemed to have been useful for him.

Not everyone is an intermediate though, and very few people get there legitimately. Lets say you are a novice, or you train novices. Well, I may have an outline you can try. It has worked for us at the WFAC. It is assumed that the lifts have already been taught.

Clean and Jerk heavy
Snatch for sets across



Snatch heavy
Clean and jerk singles across


The lifter will be fresh on Monday to clean and jerk heavy after the two days of rest. A novice will be able to squat the day after doing the Olympic lifting, and deadlifting is done at the end of the week because if it was done any earlier, it may interfere with the other pulling. The sets across for snatch or C&J should/could be timed — on the minute for a snatch (between 10 and 15) and every two minutes for C&J (for 10 reps). Doing it in this manner accomplishes a few things (not in any particular order); A) it uses medium weights so that completed reps build confidence, B) the higher reps are technique practice, and C) it gets the lifter used to lifting on a clock, which will be important in competition. The heavy snatch or C&J days can be five singles across, or just working up to a heavy single (ideally increasing that single week to week). Remember that any increase is still an increase, so it may be 2.5 or 1 kg per week in the later stages — the point is to drive the weight up and PR.

This program can be followed for quite some time — it is what quite a few of the lifters here in the gym did, and got pretty strong. One of my lifters named Bryan, who was mentioned in Rip’s article, The Novice Effect, squatted over 500 for three sets of five and clean and jerked 155 kg in the gym using this program. A novice can recover from this work load because they are a novice. In fact, I used a variation of it at one time while I added 5 kg on my clean and jerk every week all the way up to 165 kg in the gym (I was an intermediate though, and it didn’t last long). The point is that it still includes two strength days while working on the lifts twice a week. More strength will improve your total — remember that.

From Brent:
This is Dmitry Klokov, born in 1983, was the 2005 World Champion and 2008 Silver Medalist in the Beijing Olympics. His best competition total is 423, and in this video he snatches 193 and clean and jerks 230:

74 thoughts on “Getting Into Weightlifting — Part 3

  1. SQ-230*5*3

    gained 2lbs then lost them, still at 180. gotta eat more i guess. still wont discuss either one of my presses. as long as my sq and dl keep going up by 10 per session i wont let the presses bother me.

  2. 2 PR”s this week:
    Wed: Deadlift: 485X2 which was a fail because I was aiming for 5 reps but still a PR.
    Tonight: Press: 200X5, X5, X7…went for AMRAP on last set.

  3. BW 160
    Squats 3,2,2 180
    Had no energy and only gained two pounds in the last two weeks, time to start eating bigger.
    I have outgrown all my work pants, I need to re-stock this weekend.

  4. PR:

    BW – 237
    Squat 380x3x5 (3 sets of 5)
    Bench 270x3x5
    OHP 175x3x5
    DL 410x1x5

    The OHP and DL were really PR
    Shifted to Advanced Novice Program and it is doing wonders for my DL and Squat.

  5. Late for PR Friday. Lifts:
    squat – 305 lbs, 3 x 5
    power clean – 185 lbs
    Sent in my registration for the Battle on the Border in Charlotte, gettin psyched.

  6. from

    George Jowett: I will never forget the time Sam Crawford, a British seaman, saved my life and the lives of his shipmates. Sam was a townsman of mine, a gigantic, fine looking man of ponderous strength. I was with him aboard a trawler in the North Sea. Caught in a storm, we drifted towards a sandbank when the other donkey engine failed. Sam saved the ship and the crew by picking up an anchor weighing 650 pounds and tossing it overboard from a heaving deck. That was the most impressive feat of power and will forever remain green in my memory.

    That”s something to aspire to.

  7. PR Friday!
    Weight (lbs) x reps x sets
    Bench: 200x5x3

    Food PR: just cooked 14 lbs of pulled pork shoulder (7lbs for tacos, 4lbs for tamales, 3lbs for red beans & rice & pulled pork). It”s going to be a good week.

  8. Male 27 5”11
    Recovering Crossfitaholic
    Prs this week
    Back Squat 331 3×5
    Power Clean 213 5×3
    Chins 1×15
    Bodyweight 215
    missed my 3rd set of pressing 160 for 5 reps by ONE DAMN REP >:(

  9. FYI in case anyone is as stupid as me. do NOT do decline sit ups for 3 sets of 15 reps with 60lbs on your chest after you are done with your starting strength workout just because your brother came with you to the gym and you want to keep showing him how much more badass you are than him and his dumbell curls. do not do this because two days later when you go to pull your 410lbs deadlift for 5 reps you WILL make horrible sounds of dieing come out of your mouth and you WILL drop the fucking thing in the middle of a crowded gym on the 2nd rep and when it crashes and you double over holding your sides you WILL be as big a moron as you look like. ouch my abbs hurt.

  10. Justin, I””m sorry if didn””t read it good in the post or that I need to reread PPST, if so my sincere apologies. In the program above how would the other ””strength”” movements (SQ, Press, DL etc.) be programmed would it be the same as in SS or completely different due to recovery reasons. And how would this change when going to an intermediate stage or is that the cyling of emphasis you mentioned.

    thanks in advance

    The rep schemes are the same as the Starting Strength Model (what we call the linear progression). It is essentially a variation of “Workout A” and “Workout B”.


  11. What do you think about the following programm (SS variation)?
    Workout A: C&J 2×5, press 3×5, frontsquat 5×3
    Workout B: snatch 3×5, pullups, squat3x5
    Training 3 days/week, once per week the OL is done for a some heavy singles (trying to get a new PR) instead of the normal sets.

    I do not like this and it will not be as efficient. The inclusion of front squats depends on the training advancement, and your rep scheme for the O-lifts will not be completely useful. You also are not bench pressing.

    If you are trying to think of an SS variation, I have already done it.


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