Training for Strength
by Jim Halliday
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It has been said by numerous people that it is not the actual schedule that is important, but the way we practice it. I am afraid I cannot agree with this idea, for I feel that the only way to get the best results is to experiment until you find the system most suited to your current needs, and then exploit it to the fullest extent before considering a change.
No two people are alike, psychologically, physically or mentally, and I think that consequently no two people can expect the same results from doing the same schedule.
Therefore, unless you cannot advise him as to the schedule he should use, you can only lay out a template system for him, and leave it to his own intelligence, imagination and initiative to mold this system to enable him to get the best results from it.
I do believe, however, and always have, that irrespective of what type of schedule you decide upon, it is essential that the bulk or work is done in SINGLE, HEAVY ATTEMPTS. If you desire to lift heavy weights then you must train with heavy weights.
In the early stages of training it is, of course, accepted that a large amount of repetition work is needed, to practice style, and to give the body a good base for future endeavors. Once the rudiments of style have been conquered to some degree, and you begin to think about pushing your strength levels, I feel that you should forego a lot of the repetition work and concentrate on heavy work. This will not result in a loss of style; contrary to popular opinion I believe that once a style has been accepted it can no longer be improved by repetition work, but it is best improved by SINGLE ATTEMPTS with heavy and medium poundages.
Take the snatch as an example. It is usual, when doing reps, to do one complete movement, then do maybe two or three from the hang. I do not feel that, having dropped the weights to the hang position, the body at that point in the lift is rarely in precisely the same position as it was during the original movement. Therefore all your attempts from the hang position are out-of-the-groove, and involve a slightly different movement, with a possible loss of style.
My own schedule has been based on this assumption and I use repetition work solely as a means of warming up to heavy poundages. This is absolutely essential, of course; to immediately attempt near limit poundages without warmup is just asking for trouble, but only the minimum of effort should be used, and the bulk of energy conserved for the real work – the heavy lifting.
I have used an almost similar schedule for six years, varying it only on occasions to meet some immediate need. I propose to give it in detail here; not advocating that you should accept it for your own use, but that you should consider its principles as a base for your own system, and make the variations to suit your particular requirements. The given poundages are based on poundages of 215-250-310 (press-snatch-clean & jerk) and should be altered to coincide with your own limit poundages.
I would also like to point out that my limit training poundages are comparatively low and I advise you to use maximum training poundages as a base, mine being 210-240-300.
Again I point out that no two people are alike; one man may be able to almost reach his match poundages in training, while another fails to get within 20 lb. of his best, especially on the fast lifts. Therefore it is advisable to temporarily forget your competition poundages and base your endeavors on training maximums.
This schedule is built up of five workouts as follows:
Monday and Friday
Assistance exercises or bodybuilding movements, including squats, etc., if required.
Tuesday and Thursday
Press – 150x4, 165x3, 180x3, 195x2, 8 singles with 205.
Snatch – 180x3, 195x3, 210x2, 225x2, 8 singles with 230 or 235.
Clean & Jerk – 250x3, 265x3, 280x2, 6 singles with 290 or 295.
This can be used as a sort of tryout day in which you attempt to better your previous best training poundages. Try doing 3, 3, 2, 1 commencing with a low poundage and jumping in 20 lb. increases, making the final rep the poundage you wish to make for your best effort. This applies to each lift of course. Wednesday and Saturday are rest days, and if your wish to vary the actual training days to suit your needs, make sure these rest days occur at the proper intervals to break up the training most suitably.
There are two ways to progress with this type of schedule. Method Number One is to use miniature discs (½ or 1 lb.) every week or fortnight. Bear in mind however that if this means is decided upon, the discs must be added at the beginning of the schedule and used for the repetition work as well as the single attempts.
Method Number Two is to gradually increase the number of singles you do. Add an extra attempt periodically until you are doing 12 singles on the press and snatch, and 10 on the clean. When this is accomplished, raise the weights of the bar 5 lbs. and drop the singles to the former 8 and 6 attempts respectively.