Training Log

Starting Strength in the Real World

Olympic Lifting and Your Linear Progression

by Phil Meggers, SSC | January 26, 2021

racking a snatch

You’re working through your linear progression, and you’re making steady progress on the squat, press, bench, and deadlift, but you’ve also developed an itch to do some weightlifting (i.e., Olympic lifting). With this in mind, let’s cover a few options to work the practice of the snatch and clean & jerk into your training schedule in such a way that you don’t derail the solid progress you’re making in the strength department.

For convenience, we’ll assume that you’re training on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, so your training schedule looks like this at the moment:

Monday Wednesday Friday
Squat 3x5 Squat 3x5 Squat 3x5
Press/BP 3x5 Press/BP 3x5 Press/BP 3x5
Deadlift 1x5 Deadlift 1x5 Deadlift 1x5

For our first option, we’ll simply program the weightlifting practice for Saturday, so the schedule is as follows:


Monday Wednesday Friday Saturday
Squat 3x5 Squat 3x5 Squat 3x5 Snatch 5x2
Press/BP 3x5 Press/BP 3x5 Press/BP 3x5 C&J 5x2
Deadlift 1x5 Deadlift 1x5 Deadlift 1x5

In this option, you’ll come in on Saturday and perform five doubles on the snatch followed by five doubles on the clean & jerk (not including warm-ups, of course). These are sets across, so the weight remains the same for each double, and you’ll be able to progress these lifts in a linear fashion for some time before any changes need to be made to the programming. Keep it simple. If you haven’t been doing your chins regularly – and you haven’t – then simply tack them on to the end of your Saturday workout, then shut it down and go home.

A disadvantage to this setup is that you’ll have to add another training day to your schedule. An advantage to this setup is that we still preserve a rest day before each of our strength days (i.e., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), and rest is rather conducive to lifting heavy weights.

recovering from a jerk

If you can’t or won’t train on the weekends, you could go with our second option, which simply splits up the Olympic practice between Tuesday and Thursday and looks like this:


Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Squat 3x5 Snatch 5x2 Squat 3x5 C&J 5x2 Squat 3x5
Press/BP 3x5 Press/BP 3x5 Press/BP 3x5
Deadlift 1x5 Deadlift 1x5 Deadlift 1x5

Again, the doubles are sets across, and again, be sure to do your chins right afterward. An advantage to this setup is that you can keep your weekends free for video games and crocheting (or even better, video games about crocheting), but a disadvantage is that you no longer have a rest day immediately before your strength work on Wednesday and Friday. In the beginning, your Olympic lifts will not be very heavy, but they will get there eventually, and their impact on your recovery ability – and therefore your ability to productively strength train – will need to be taken into consideration. This is where it’s helpful to reach out to a coach.

If you can only train three days per week, then our third option looks like this:


Monday Wednesday Friday
Squat 3x5 Squat 3x5 Squat 3x5
Press/BP 3x5 Press/BP 3x5 Press/BP 3x5
Snatch 5x2 C&J 5x2 Deadlift 1x5

This is probably my least favorite option as you only deadlift once per week. It is actually an intermediate pulling setup (a variant of Heavy-Light-Medium), so if you go this route, I would recommend deadlifting three times per week for several weeks before adding in the Olympic lifts. While perhaps not ideal in terms of deadlift frequency, most things in life are not ideal, and if this option allows you to be consistent and make progress, then this is the option I’d recommend.

Start practicing the snatch and clean & jerk, and next time we’ll discuss how to prepare for and compete in your first weightlifting meet.

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