Olympic-style Weightlifting 
A Beginning Workout Plan 
 
By John Cissek MS, CSCS

This is a 12-week beginning workout program.  This program assumes that one has no prior experience with Olympic lifting or even with weight training.  This program assumes that every physical quality needs to be developed. As a result it attempts to work on technique, speed, strength, and hypertrophy.

        A word about notation; 5x6 refers to 5 sets of 6 repetitions.  3x?x70% refers to doing three sets of as many as you can (with correct technique) at 70% of your 1-RM.  An exercise like Snatch + Overhead Squats, 3x3+4 means perform 3 snatches.  Then after the last snatch, stand up with the bar in your hands and perform 4 overhead squats.  It basically refers to a superset.

        On week 9 the sprints become heavily regulated.  Starting week 9 the sprints have the following kind of notation:
Sprints, 3x40 meters (1:20)

        This means the lifter should run 40 meters.  For every second they spend running they get 20 seconds rest (work:rest interval, 1:20).  Prior to week 9 the lifter can take as much recovery time as they need.  Notice that the work:rest interval changes as the distances change.

        This program involves maxing on the back and front squat every 5 weeks.  After the first test the lifter will train at a percentage of their 1-RM (their one repetition maximum).  There is a competition during week 12.  This is important for several reasons.  First, it gets the lifter used to the stresses of competition.  Second, it will reveal what needs to be emphasized after week 12 (ex. Leg strength, technique, speed, etc.).

        The periodization scheme for this program is not very complicated.  Fortunately a beginner wonít need a real complicated scheme to make gains.

        A word of caution: Beginners do not need to train at a percentage of their max on the Olympic lifts.  A beginnerís technique will not be consistent enough to give them a consistent max for many months.  As a result, the lifter should do as much weight as they can, with perfect technique, for the specified number of reps for that day!

        The exercises in this program will be described in a future article.

Week One

Monday:
1.  Snatch Pull, NE, 5x6
2.  Overhead Squats, 5x6
3.  Back Squats, 3x12
4.  Hyperextensions, 3x12
5.  Weighted Sit Ups, 3x12

Tuesday:
1.  Classic Clean, 5x3
2.  Clean Pulls, NE 3x6
3.  Push Jerk, 5x3
4.  Behind the Neck Press, Snatch Grip, 3x12
5.  Counter-movement Jumps, 3x3

Wednesday:
1.   Snatch Pull, NE + Shrug, 5x6
2.  Overhead Squats, 5x6
3.  Front Squats, 3x8
4.  Good Mornings, standing, 5x12
5.  Incline Sit Ups, 3x12
6.  Sprint 3x20 meters

Thursday:
1.  Classic Clean + Split Jerk, 5x3+2
2.  Clean Pulls, NE, 3x6
3.  Behind the Neck Press, Snatch Grip, + Overhead Squats 3x12+6
4.  Squat Jumps, 3x3

Friday:
1.  Sprint 3x60 meters
2.  Lunges, bar on back of shoulders, 3x12
3.  Romanian Deadlifts, 5x12
4.  Twisting Sit Ups, 3x12

Week Two

Monday:
1.  Snatch Pull, NE + Shrugs 5x6
2.  Overhead Squats, 5x6
3.  Back Squats, 4x12
4.  Hyperextensions, 3x15
5.  Weighted Sit Ups, 3x15

Tuesday:
1.  Classic Clean, 5x3
2.  Clean Pulls, NE 3x6
3.  Split Jerk, 5x3
4.  Military Press, 3x12
5.  Counter-movement Jumps, 3x3

Wednesday:
1.  Classic Snatch, 5x3
2.  Overhead Squats, 5x6
3.  Front Squats, 4x8
4.  Good Mornings, standing, 5x12
5.  Incline Sit Ups, 3x12
6.  Sprint 3x40 meters

Thursday:
1.  Classic Clean + Split Jerk, 5x3+2
2.  Clean Pulls, NE, 3x6
3.  Behind the Neck Press, Snatch Grip, Squat, 3x8
4.  Squat Jumps, 3x3

Friday:
1.  Sprint 3x80 meters
2.  Lunges, bar on back of shoulders, 3x12
3.  Romanian Deadlifts, 5x12
4.  Twisting Sit Ups, 3x12

Week Three

Monday:
1.  Classic Snatch, 5x3
2.  Snatch Pull, NE, 5x6
3.  Back Squats, 5x8
4.  Hyperextensions, 3x15
5.  Weighted Sit Ups, 3x15

Tuesday:
1.  Classic Clean, 5x3
2.  Clean Pulls, NE 3x6
3.  Push Jerk, 5x3
4.  Behind the Neck Press, Snatch Grip, 3x12
5.  Counter-movement Jumps, 3x3

Wednesday:
1.  Classic Snatch, 5x3
2.  Overhead Squats, 5x6
3.  Front Squats, 5x6
4.  Good Mornings, standing, 5x12
5.  Incline Sit Ups, 3x12
6.  Sprint 3x50 meters

Thursday:
1.  Classic Clean + Split Jerk, 5x3+2
2.  Clean Pulls, NE, 3x6
3.  Behind the Neck Press, Snatch Grip + Overhead Squats, 3x12+6
4.  Squat Jumps, 3x3

Friday:
1.  Sprint 3x100 meters
2.  Lunges, bar on back of shoulders, 3x12
3.  Romanian Deadlifts, 5x12
4.  Twisting Sit Ups, 3x12

Week Four:

Monday:
1.  Classic Snatch, 5x3
2.  Snatch Pull, NE, 5x6
3.  Back Squats, 3x20
4.  Hyperextensions, 3x20
5.  Weighted Sit Ups, 3x15

Tuesday:
1.  Classic Clean, 5x3
2.  Clean Pulls, NE 3x6
3.  Split Jerk, 5x3
4.  Military Press, 3x12
5.  Counter-movement Jumps, 3x3

Wednesday:
1.  Classic Snatch, 5x3
2.  Overhead Squats, 5x6
3.  Front Squats, 3x15
4.  Good Mornings, standing, 5x20
5.  Incline Sit Ups, 3x12
6.  Sprint 3x30 meters

Thursday:
1.  Classic Clean + Split Jerk, 5x3+2
2.  Clean Pulls, NE, 3x6
3.  Behind the Neck Press, Snatch Grip, Squat, 3x8
4.  Squat Jumps, 3x3

Friday:
1.  Sprint 3x60 meters
2.  Lunges, bar on back of shoulders, 3x12
3.  Romanian Deadlifts, 5x12
4.  Twisting Sit Ups, 3x12

Week Five

Monday:
1.  Classic Clean + Split Jerk, 5x3+2
2.  Clean Pulls, NE, 3x6
3.  Behind the Neck Press, Snatch Grip, 3x15
4.  Vertical Jump, bar on shoulders, 3x3
5.  Weighted Crunches, 3x15

Tuesday:
1.  Classic Snatch, b, AK, 5x3
2.  Snatch Pull, NE, 5x6
3.  Back Squats, 1-RM (*)
4.  Hyperextensions, 3x15
5.  Weighted Sit Ups, 3x15

Wednesday:
1.  Sprint 3x20 meters
2.  Lunges, bar overhead 3x15  
3.  Behind the Neck Press, Snatch Grip, 3x12
4.  Vertical Jump, Snatch Grip, h, AK, 3x3x30% of back squat 1-RM
5.  Plyometric Sit Ups, 3x12
6.  Feet to Bar, 3x12

Thursday:
1.  Classic Clean, b, AK, 5x3
2.  Clean Pulls, NE 5x6
3.  Push Jerk, 3x3
4.  Good Mornings, standing, 5x12
5.  Clocks, 3x12

Friday:
1.  Classic Snatch, b, BK, 5x3
2.  Overhead Squats, 3x6
3.  Front Squat, 1-RM (*)
5.  Incline Sit Ups, 3x12

Saturday:
1.  Sprint 3x40 meters
2.  Step Ups, 3x12
3.  Romanian Deadlifts, 5x15
4.  Twisting Sit Ups, 3x15

Week Six:

Monday:
1.  Classic Clean, b, BK + Split Jerk, 5x3+2
2.  Clean Pulls, NE, 3x6
3.  Military Press, 3x12
4.  Vertical Jump, bar on shoulders, 3x3x30% of back squat 1-RM
5.  Weighted Crunches, 3x12

Tuesday:
1.  Classic Snatch, 5x3
2.  Snatch Pull, NE, 5x6
3.  Back Squats, 3x?x70%
4.  Hyperextensions, 3x12
5.  Weighted Sit Ups, 3x12

Wednesday:
1.  Sprint 3x30 meters
2.  Lunges, bar overhead 3x12  
3.  Behind the Neck Press, Snatch Grip, Squat, 3x12
4.  Vertical Jump, Snatch Grip, h, AK, 3x3x30% of back squat 1-RM
5.  Plyometric Sit Ups, 3x10
6.  Feet to Bar, 3x10

Thursday:
1.  Classic Clean, 5x3
2.  Clean Pulls, NE 5x6
3.  Split Jerk, 3x3
4.  Good Mornings, standing, 5x10
5.  Clocks, 3x10

Friday:
1.  Classic Snatch, b, AK, 5x3
2.  Overhead Squats, 3x6
3.  Front Squat, 3x?x70%
5.  Incline Sit Ups, 3x10

Saturday:
1.  Sprint 3x60 meters
2.  Step Ups, 3x10
3.  Romanian Deadlifts, 5x12
4.  Twisting Sit Ups, 3x12

Week Seven:

Monday:
1.  Classic Clean, b, AK + Split Jerk, 5x3+2
2.  Clean Pulls, NE, 3x6
3.  Behind the Neck Press, Snatch Grip, 3x10
4.  Vertical Jump, bar on shoulders, 3x3x30% of back squat 1-RM
5.  Weighted Crunches, 3x10

Tuesday:
1.  Classic Snatch, b, BK, 5x3
2.  Snatch Pull, NE, 5x6
3.  Back Squats, 3x?x80%
4.  Hyperextensions, 3x10
5.  Weighted Sit Ups, 3x10

Wednesday:
1.  Sprint 3x40 meters
2.  Lunges, bar overhead 3x10  
3.  Behind the Neck Press, Snatch Grip + Overhead Squats, 3x10+5
4.  Vertical Jump, Snatch Grip, h, AK, 3x3x30% of back squat 1-RM
5.  Plyometric Sit Ups, 3x8
6.  Feet to Bar, 3x8

Thursday:
1.  Classic Clean, b, BK, 5x3
2.  Clean Pulls, NE 5x6
3.  Push Jerk, 3x3
4.  Good Mornings, standing, 5x8
5.  Clocks, 3x8

Friday:
1.  Classic Snatch, 5x3
2.  Overhead Squats, 3x6
3.  Front Squat, 3x?x80%
5.  Incline Sit Ups, 3x8

Saturday:
1.  Sprint 3x80 meters
2.  Step Ups, 3x8
3.  Romanian Deadlifts, 5x10
4.  Twisting Sit Ups, 3x10

Week Eight:

Monday:
1.  Classic Clean + Split Jerk, 5x3+2
2.  Clean Pulls, NE, 3x6
3.  Military Press, 3x8
4.  Vertical Jump, bar on shoulders, 3x3x30% of back squat 1-RM
5.  Weighted Crunches, 3x8

Tuesday:
1.  Classic Snatch, b, AK, 5x3
2.  Snatch Pull, NE, 5x6
3.  Back Squats, 3x?x90%
4.  Hyperextensions, 3x8
5.  Weighted Sit Ups, 3x8

Wednesday:
1.  Sprint 3x50 meters
2.  Lunges, bar overhead 3x8  
3.  Behind the Neck Press, Snatch Grip, Squat, 3x8
4.  Vertical Jump, Snatch Grip, h, AK, 3x3x30% of back squat 1-RM
5.  Plyometric Sit Ups, 3x6
6.  Feet to Bar, 3x6

Thursday:
1.  Classic Clean, b, AK, 5x3
2.  Clean Pulls, NE 5x6
3.  Split Jerk, 3x3
4.  Good Mornings, standing, 5x6
5.  Clocks, 3x6

Friday:
1.  Classic Snatch, b, BK, 5x3
2.  Overhead Squats, 3x6
3.  Front Squat, 3x?x90%
5.  Incline Sit Ups, 3x6

Saturday:
1.  Sprint 3x100 meters
2.  Step Ups, 3x6
3.  Romanian Deadlifts, 5x8
4.  Twisting Sit Ups, 3x8

Week Nine

Monday:
1.  Classic Snatch + Overhead Squats, 5x3+4
2.  Snatch Pulls, NE, 3x6
3.  Back Squats, 3x?x72.5%
4.  Good Mornings, Seated, 3x15
5.  Hanging Straight Leg Raises, 3x15

Tuesday:
1.  Classic Clean, b, BK, 5x3
2.  Power Jerk, 5x3
3.  Push Press, Snatch Grip, 3x6
4.  Squat Jump, 3x3x30% of back squat 1-RM
5.  Sprint 4x20 meters (1:25)

Thursday:
1.  Classic Snatch, b, AK, 5x3
2.  Snatch Balance, 5x3
3.  Front Squats, 3x?x72.5%
4.  Hyperextensions, 3x15
5.  Medicine Ball Sit Ups, 3x15

Friday:
1.  Classic Clean, 3x3
2.  Clean Pulls, NE, 3x6
3.  Front Squat + Split Jerk, 5x4+2
4.  Push Press, Snatch Grip + Overhead Squats, 3x6+3

Saturday:
1.  Classic Snatch, b, BK, 3x3
2.  Classic Clean, b, AK, 3x3
3.  Vertical Jump, h, AK, Snatch Grip, 3x3x30% of back squat 1-RM
4.  Sprint 3x40 meters (1:20)

Week Ten:

Monday:
1.  Classic Snatch + Overhead Squats, 5x2+3
2.  Snatch Pulls, NE, 3x5
3.  Back Squats, 1-RM (*)
4.  Good Mornings, Seated, 3x12
5.  Hanging Straight Leg Raises, 3x12

Tuesday:
1.  Classic Clean, 5x2
2.  Power Jerk, 5x2
3.  Push Press, Snatch Grip, 3x5
4.  Squat Jump, 3x3x30% of back squat 1-RM
5.  Sprint 4x30 meters (1:25)

Thursday:
1.  Classic Snatch, b, AK, 5x2
2.  Snatch Balance, 5x2
3.  Front Squats, 1-RM (*)
4.  Hyperextensions, 3x12
5.  Medicine Ball Sit Ups, 3x12

Friday:
1.  Classic Clean, 3x2
2.  Clean Pulls, NE, 3x5
3.  Front Squat + Split Jerk, 5x3+1
4.  Push Press, Snatch Grip + Overhead Squats, 3x5+2

Saturday:
1.  Classic Snatch, b, BK, 3x2
2.  Classic Clean, b, AK, 3x2
3.  Vertical Jump, h, AK, Snatch Grip, 3x3x30% of back squat 1-RM
4.  Sprint 3x60 meters (1:20)

Week Eleven:

Monday:
1.  Classic Snatch + Overhead Squats, 5x1+2
2.  Snatch Pulls, NE, 3x4
3.  Back Squats, 3x?x75%
4.  Good Mornings, Seated, 3x10
5.  Hanging Straight Leg Raises, 3x10

Tuesday:
1.  Classic Clean, 5x2
2.  Power Jerk, 5x1
3.  Push Press, Snatch Grip, 3x4
4.  Squat Jump, 3x3x30% of back squat 1-RM
5.  Sprint 4x40 meters (1:20)

Thursday:
1.  Classic Snatch, b, AK, 5x2
2.  Snatch Balance, 5x1
3.  Front Squats, 3x?x75%
4.  Hyperextensions, 3x10
5.  Medicine Ball Sit Ups, 3x10

Friday:
1.  Classic Clean, 3x2
2.  Clean Pulls, NE, 3x4
3.  Front Squat + Split Jerk, 5x3+1
4.  Push Press, Snatch Grip + Overhead Squats, 3x3+2

Saturday:
1.  Classic Snatch, b, BK, 3x1
2.  Classic Clean, b, AK, 3x1
3.  Vertical Jump, h, AK, Snatch Grip, 3x3x30% of back squat 1-RM
4.  Sprint 3x80 meters (1:15)

Week Twelve:

Monday:
1.  Classic Snatch + Overhead Squats, 5x3+6
2.  Snatch Pulls, NE, 3x8
3.  Back Squats, 3x?x85%
4.  Good Mornings, Seated, 3x15
5.  Hanging Straight Leg Raises, 3x15

Tuesday:
1.  Classic Clean, 5x3
2.  Power Jerk, 5x3
3.  Push Press, Snatch Grip, 3x6
4.  Squat Jump, 3x3x30% of back squat 1-RM
5.  Sprint 4x50 meters (1:20)

Thursday:
1.  Classic Snatch, b, AK, 3x3
2.  Classic Clean, b, AK + Split Jerk, 3x3+2

Friday:
1.  Sprint 4x100 meters (1:15)

Saturday:  Competition
.

Click here for descriptions of the exercises in the workout:
 
 

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  Reproduction of this article, in whole or part, for any purpose other than personal use is
        prohibited without written consent. Copyright 1999 John Cissek, MS, CSCS. 
 

 
 
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