Tag Archives: olympic lifting

Make progress with one set!

Something you may have heard or read in the past.
Is it true?
Yes, however you’ll need to know exactly what is meant by ‘one set’.
When people write or speak about making progress with the above, they don’t mean you literally only do one set.
What they mean is that you’re going to do one ‘working set’, you don’t include your warm ups in the mix, which could be was little as two sets or as many as 10 depending on how strong you are.
A working set is classes as an amount of reps performed at the target weight.
You also have the classic 3×10 by Delorme/Watkins which was as follows:
– 1x10x50% 10RM (warm up)
– 1x10x75% 10RM (warm up)
and finally…
1x10x100% 10RM (working set)
Going you one working set.
If we took the classic 3×8, this means 3 working sets, not including warm ups.
If you ever read Brawn, you’d find that lots of the programs had things like this written:
Squat 1×20
Press 2×5
Chin 1×6-8
All of these are the working sets, as you cans occasionally they had 2 working sets.
The idea of this set is to much you to your limits and perhaps add some small amount of weight to be bar, improve the form, do it while having less rest and so on.
You could manipulate any variable to get progress so long as you made progress.
– Volume – perhaps got an extra rep at or 2 the same weight
– Intensity – lifted more total weight on the bar
– Density – had less rest than previously
– Frequency – performed this feat twice in a week instead of once
When you take a look at the principles behind this long spoken method of training it’s fair to say they’re pretty solid because they leave you nowhere to hide.
If you limit yourself to only one hard set, you’re more likely to give it your all and try to better that set in any which way you can.
The more modern approach of “Do all the sets & all the reps!” isn’t bad by any means, however it does often leave people working sub-optimally which is why some struggle to make any form of progress.
The repeated bout effect or repetition method is a solid one, that’s not being disputed, however those who get the most out of this are the ones who’ve spent a decent chunk of time hitting one hard ‘working set’ in the past.
You may also find working sets are called ‘top sets’ which can be found in those who follow a daily lifting routine – ala Bulgarian style training and daily maxing.
So, should you try this style of training protocol?
Yes, no, maybe, I really don’t know.
It certainly works, however if you’re making progress with what you’re doing then there’s no sense in changing, if not though, perhaps you might find this useful.
If you decide to work for top sets here are some pointers of where to start:
Top set recommendations:
Squat: 5-10
Presses: 5
Pulls: 6-8
DL: 3-5
Accessory lifts: 8-12

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Oly Oly Oly… Three White LIGHTS

Morning Guys,

In recent times the popularity of Olympic Weightlifting has come to the forefront, propelled their by the likes of CrossFit and the Russian man mountain known as Klokov and other such greats have helped inspire lots of young people to start to venture down the route of the Quick Lifts as they were once known.

Weightlifting has been called many things, but the one I feel that describes it best is ‘Gymnastics with a bar in your hands” why that dictation? Because you have to be explosive, powerful, strong and most importantly mobile to achieve decent form in both lifts.

One of the nice things about weightlifting is that you have two major lift to specialise in (okay, technically 3 as it’s a Clean and Jerk, but they are done once after the other making them only one lift in competition). This give you, in my opinion, one of the simplest plans to stick with – Improve those two lifts or as I would rather say: Chase Performance.

By specialising in only two lifts this means all of your assistance work and training will be centred around improving their performance and building a balanced physique that is, for lack of a better word, ‘functional’ because you need to be pretty dynamic to be good at both of the Olympic Lifts.

You will often find a program designed around these lifts will be very simple and specifically tailored to improve your performance and ironing out any weak areas in those lifts.

If you fancy giving these a try I would suggest you find yourself a decent Coach or Weightlifting club, trust me, being self taught in these lifts will not get you to the places you want to go, but a coach or a club will. While a program involving the lifts wouldn’t make much sense for you right now there is plenty you can do to help you start to strengthen the areas you need, here is a nice basic example for your consideration.

Based on 2 days on 1 day off template.

Day 1 – Pushing –

W/U – Mobility and 3-5 sets of FS as needed
A1 – Front Squat 6 sets of 6 – working up to a 6RM (don’t start too heavy)
A2 – Vertical Jump x3-5 (reset after each jump and jump as high as possible)
B1 – Overhead Squat 3×12 (Use light weight and groove the movement)
C1 – Push Press 6×6 – working up to a 6RM (don’t start too heavy)
C2 – Wide Grip Behind Neck Press x8 (very light weights)
D1 – Dips Weighted or Unweighted 3-5x max reps
Day 2 – Pulling
W/U Mobility and 3-5 sets of Snatch Grip Overhand Deadlift (No straps)
A1 – Snatch Grip Deadlift 5×5 (Use 8RM, build up to 10×5 over progressive weeks)
B1 – Overhand Deadlift With Shrug 4×6
B2 – Jumping Shrug With Dumbbels x8-12 (don’t go nuts, perform a slight bend int he knees and the a light jump followed by a shrug – aim to get your shoulders by your ears)
C1 – Barbell Bent Over Row 4×8-12
C2 – Reverse Fly x12
D1 – Medial Grip Pull Up 3-5x Max Reps
Feel free to add in some ab roll outs, planks, hanging leg raises if you so wish.
This simple program will help you start to find a groove for the early steps of learning the Olympic Lifts, you may even find one day this program looks a lot like the assistance work you might be doing.

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