A week in the life of a Weighlifter

Welcome back to our weightlifting blog! Since the last entry I have been progressing well and am virtually back to the levels I was at 4-5 years ago. Given that I am now 37 years old and had a pelvic injury from soccer which reduced me to deadlifting just 40kg at the start of my rehab 18 months ago, this is heartening progress!

After much experimentation with programs over the years, I have arrived at a weekly structure that seems to work well. Below is a sample week of training, with some notes of explanation:

  • I train every day from Monday to Friday (and will usually have one light jog at the weekend), but now that I’m 37 years old I have learned to listen to my body. If I feel stiff or sore, I will either take a day off or just do some mobility work.
  • Tuesday and Thursday are lighter days and shorter sessions. Using power versions of the lifts means the loads used are around 10% lighter.
  • On Fridays, I take the snatch and clean & jerk to max. I may sometimes do this session on a Saturday if I am tired on the Friday.
  • Within 2 or 3 sets, I can feel whether I am going to have a good day or not. Each week I am trying to make progress in my PR’s, but I don’t go to max every workout. I’m not a fan of using complex systems based on percentages where you try to aim for a max on a specific day. They sound good in theory, but I haven’t found them to work in real life, especially for someone with a full-time job, part-time study, young family, disrupted sleep and eating patterns etc.
  • I track my PR’s in ALL lifts, including every conceivable variation. For example, I want to know how I am progressing not only in the snatch, but also the power snatch, hang power snatch from mid-thigh / above-knee / below-knee, block power snatch from mid-thigh / above-knee / below-knee, snatch balance, overhead squat and so on. Over time, I can see how increases in one lift affect another. For some lifters their snatch will increase significantly if their snatch balance improves but others may see more improvement form snatch pulls for example.
  • For lifts where the sets, reps and rest period are not stated, I usually start with sets of 3, increasing the weight on each set over the course of 6-8 sets until I am just doing singles for the last 2-3 sets. I will usually go as heavy as I can THAT DAY, but this doesn’t mean it will be a PR. I find that many factors affect how well I train on a given day, from sleep (I have two young kids) to work stress to caffeine intake. I generally rest 2-3 minutes (longer as the weight gets heavier) but can feel when I am ready for the next set.
  • Although the back squat is less specific to weightlifting than the front squat, I do more back squats because you can lift more weight and I need to build a greater base of strength.
  • In future blogs, I will talk about how the program changes closer to competitions and how to write an effective taper phase.
  1. Snatch from blocks, below knee
  2. Deadlift + clean & jerk
  3. Back squat 5 x 5 @ 85%
4A. Chin-up, underhand grip, 3 x 6 on a 40X0 tempo, rest 60 seconds
4B. Dumbbell lateral raise, 3 x 8 on a 40X0 tempo, rest 60 seconds

  1. Mid-thigh power clean
  2. Mid-thigh power snatch
  3. Kettlebell Turkish Get-up! 5 minutes (alternating sides)
  1. Snatch
  2. Clean & jerk
  3. Front squat 5 x 5
4A. Incline dumbbell press, neutral grip, 3 x 6 on a 40X0 tempo, rest 60 sec
4B. Barbell hip thrust, 3 x 6 on a 2011 tempo, rest 60 seconds
  1. Power snatch
  2. Power jerk
  3. Ab wheel rollouts 3 x max reps, rest 90 seconds
  1. Snatch (to max, then 2 x 2 rep back-off sets)
  2. Clean & jerk (to max, then 2 x 2 rep back-off sets)
  3. Back squat, building to 3RM
  4. Kettlebell bottoms-up press, 3 x 8-10 on a 3020 tempo, rest 75 seconds



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