Pendlay’s MDUSA Program

Glenn Pendlay recently posted an article on his blog explaining how he trains the Muscle Driver USA Olympic weightlifting team (article).

It’s your standard fare of doing the competitive lifts, doing power and other variants when necessary, and getting stronger with presses and squats. There are some peculiarities that help distribute the work load throughout the week, like making the Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoon workouts the heaviest days, doing doubles and power variants in the morning sessions, and always trying to improve the squat.

Glenn sits with his beard at the National University Championships

Glenn sits with his beard at the National University Championships

Pendlay also mentions using the Texas Method to push the squats. For those of you who never read my Texas Method e-books, the style of programming was coined when the Wichita Falls Weightlifting team fell into it with Pendlay as the head coach. It’s a good general approach that can push an Olympic weightlifter’s squat without interfering too much with the competitive lifts’ training. The way I program the Texas Method is more for general strength trainees and raw powerlifting, but a weightlifter will have success with the core program of using a volume day, light day, and intensity day.

Anyway, check out Glenn’s article; his system is a simple outline that he dials in for specific lifters depending on what they need, whether their weaknesses are in squatting, overhead strength, cleaning, snatching, or jerking.

9 thoughts on “Pendlay’s MDUSA Program

  1. Simple basic programming. Great stuff. I wish more people would follow this system of TM training and not chase the “secrete squirrel program”

  2. Cool to see that Glenn says he’ll use Smolov as a squatting program and put the lifts and presses on top of it. I’ve done the same thing. Good to see I’m not a complete moron for doing so. I’m still surprised Glenn doesn’t use Pulls or Deadlifts for any of his lifters. Given his powerlifting background and his time with Medvedyev, and of course the “Pendlay Row” you’d think he’d have some heavy back training of some kind in there.

    • Reading through “Becoming a Supple Leopard”, Kelly talks about how Glenn doesn’t allow his athletes to train heavy single deadlifts because they setup and execution are different from a clean and he doesn’t want their bodies mixing the two up (I’m paraphrasing here).

      • I’ve heard that before. It’s usually the go-to reason for why any coach doesn’t use max deadlifts. But that doesn’t necessarily exclude the use of various pulls, RDLs, Good-Mornings, Rows, Chin-Ups, or Back Extensions. Not saying Glenn is wrong. I’m just saying I find it peculiar given the little tidbits I know of his background.

        • Actually, I am all in favor of stuff like chin-ups, it is just that they would be done after a workout and not really counted as a main exercise. And, some sort of rowing is also not uncommon. Same as pulls, we do them often as part of complexes. RDL’, are also used, not by everyone all the time, but used. Back extensions are like pullups, we do them, its just an after workout thing that isnt really counted as a main exercise,

  3. “There is no one best way here, just find what works and remember, the squat HAS to move up or you need to find another way.” – The Man Himself

  4. Anyone have thoughts on wearing a belt during volume day squats? I have gone away from the belt but have been unable to push my volume day like I did before. Over time, it seems that my volume isn’t pushing my intensity like it once was. Tips, thoughts, advice?

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