Articles  >  Weightlifting Program Design
Starter Program for Catalyst Athletics Online Workouts
Greg Everett
May 21 2012

The following is a 4-week training program that can be used to get started with the training program posted on this website. This is a good cycle to start with if you have not previously been doing the Olympic lifts frequently in your training.

You can also get 2 levels of beginner programming through the Train Heroic App, which include complete warm-up, prep, accessory and mobility work.

Level 1 Program   Level 2 Program

Additional technique work can be added at the start of each session that focuses on the primary lift of the day. For example, on wednesday before snatches, you may do 4-6 sets of light tall snatches to practice your pull under. This additional work should be light and quick - it should not add significant time or stress to the program.

Check out Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches by Greg Everett for a huge amount of program design information and more sample programs.

Ab work should be done every training day, along with any supplemental work, e.g. back extensions, upper body beach work, etc. that you want to do.

If you plan to do the conditioning portion of the older training cycles, add brief conditioning workouts 2 times per week after the workouts below. Keep them to about 5 minutes or less and generally stay away from leg-intensive exercises.

  • 5 x 3 means 5 sets of 3 reps
  • 5 x 2+1 means 5 sets of 2 reps of the first lift and 1 rep of the second lift. For example, clean & jerk - 5 x 2+1 means 5 sets of 2 cleans followed by 1 jerk per set.
  • Heavy Single means you will work up in weight for single reps to the heaviest weight you're capable of that day. Generally 3 misses at a given weight is the maximum number of attempts you should make.


Weights for each exercise will need to be determined by you by feel. Perform the prescribed reps with increasing weights until you reach a weight that feels appropriate for the prescribed number of sets that day.

Warming Up

Do it. Check out this article on warming up.

What To Do After This Program

When you're finished with this 4-week block, take a fifth week nice and easy before starting a new program. An easy way to do this would be to repeat week 1. You can find all of our free training programs here. Choose one based on what it emphasizes and how that aligns with your weaknesses, and/or the duration you need.

Please post questions and comments below to help other readers.

Week 1

Choose weights by feel. Weights should be challenging this week, but comfortably below max efforts. Use the same weight for all prescribed sets of a given exercise.

Clean & Jerk – 5 x 2+1
Clean Pull – 3 x 3
Back Squat – 3 x 5

Snatch – 5 x 2
Snatch Pull – 3 x 3
Front Squat – 3 x 3

Power Snatch – 5 x 2
Power Clean & Power Jerk – 5 x 2(1+1)
Overhead Squat – 3 x 3

Snatch – heavy single
Clean & Jerk – heavy single
Front Squat – heavy single

Week 2

Use the same weights as week 1 with this increased volume. If this feels too easy, you can increase the weight, but stay below absolute maximal effort.

Clean & Jerk – 5 x 3+1
Clean Pull – 4 x 3
Back Squat – 5 x 5

Snatch – 5 x 3
Snatch Pull – 4 x 3
Front Squat – 5 x 3

Power Snatch – 5 x 3
Power Clean & Power Jerk – 5 x 3(1+1)
Overhead Squat – 5 x 3

Snatch – 6 x 1
Clean & Jerk – 6 x 1
Front Squat – 3 x 1

Week 3

Increase the weights from last week as you’re able to.

Clean & Jerk – 5 x 1
Clean Pull – 3 x 3
Back Squat – 5 x 3

Power Snatch – 5 x 3
Hang Clean – 5 x 2

Snatch – 5 x 1
Snatch Pull – 3 x 3
Front Squat – 5 x 2

Hang Snatch – 5 x 3
Power Clean & Power Jerk – 5 x 1+1
Overhead Squat – 5 x 1

Snatch – heavy single
Clean & Jerk – heavy single
Front Squat – heavy single

Week 4

Increase the weights from last week as you’re able to. Push for max effort singles on Saturday.

Clean & Jerk – 5 x 1
Clean Pull – 3 x 2
Back Squat – 5 x 2

Power Snatch – 5 x 2
Power Clean – 5 x 2

Snatch – 5 x 1
Snatch Pull – 3 x 2
Front Squat – 3 x 2

Hang Snatch – 5 x 2
Power Clean & Power Jerk – 4 x 1+1
Overhead Squat – 3 x 1

Snatch – heavy single
Clean & Jerk – heavy single
Front Squat – heavy single

Check out Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches by Greg Everett for a huge amount of program design information and more sample programs.
Please log in to post a comment

May 21 2012
Coach, thanks for posting this. Could you clarify what exactly should be done for the "+" prescriptions (2+1, 2(1+1), 1+1, etc.)? Thank you.
Those numbers represent, in order, the exercises in the set. For example, clean and jerk 2+1 means 2 cleans followed by 1 jerk each set.

2(1+1) for CJ would mean each set is clean, jerk, clean, jerk - 1 of each but 2 times through.

Greg Everett
Jared ray
May 21 2012
Looks great, coach!! Just to make sure, when you say "5x3", do you mean 5 sets of 3 reps? That's always confused me
Jared -

Yes, 5 x 3 is 5 sets of 3 reps.

Greg Everett
May 21 2012
thanks for posting. Yes 5x3 means 5 sets of 3 reps.
You may also see it written 225x3x5. It means the exact same thing but it includes the load. That confuses a lot people
May 21 2012
Thanks Greg!

Do you consider Pull ups to be "beach work" or supplemental? For a super heavyweight, If I can knock out 5-7 strict pull ups, should that be a daily, 2x weekly, or never supplemental activity? Maybe its worth generalizing that once a lifter can do "X" pull ups, its not that helpful to keep doing them, or do pull ups not correlate well to weightlifting...done w/ my ADD rambling semi question.
I like pull-ups - I'd say do them 2-3x/wk and just knock out maybe 30 total on one day, 40 total on another day, staying away from failed reps.

They're only beach work if you do them as close-grip chins to focus on your guns.

Greg Everett
May 21 2012
I hope I don't sound like a total noob when I say this, but ummm, where is the conditioning part of this program? Or is it something that we have to add in ourselves? Thanks for posting this up Greg.
In the intro, I mean the conditioning portion of the site workouts, not this program. For this program, you need to cook up your own.

Greg Everett
May 21 2012
Brilliant! I've tried some of your other workouts, but as I'm (obviously) new to o-lifting, I've had "issues" with the loads, as I 1) don't really know my 1RMs, and 2) my technique (on full lifts) still lacks so much that the prescribed loading on fragment exercises doesn't really feel challenging enough.
Will try to stick with this one and get my lifts better developed!

Confused: I imagine you should manage the conditioning stuff, yourself ;)
May 22 2012
When you say use the same weight, do you mean for the day or for the week?

Use the same weight for all sets of a given exercise, e.g. 5 sets of 3 snatch all at the same weight.

Greg Everett
May 23 2012
I want to do this routine plus Mainpage CrossFit to get in some conditioning.
I am also going to be doing some running for an upcoming half marathon and I have BJJ practice 4 thimes a week.
Should I run it as written or scale it back some?
You're not going to make much progress. Way too much shit going on. Why don't you stick w BJJ and running for your conditioning, and this for your strength/power work? Why add CF on top of it?

Greg Everett
May 23 2012
A lot of really strong guys I know do of them has a 350# squat and cand deadlift almost 400#.
I like your program because it doesn't have any bench...I used to bench a lot (225), but it's not very functional right?
Are they doing everything else you plan on doing in addition to CF? Is it the CF that made them strong, or the lifting weights that sometimes is done with CF that made them strong? Are 350/400# big lifts for strength athletes?

Greg Everett
May 24 2012

Thanks for this and all the great info you put out for free.

May 24 2012
I love this program and am just about to go out for day 3. But I wonder if you could share some thoughts on someone doing the power snatch when the full snatch is still not a well-engrained movement pattern.

I'm pretty new to the Oly lifts and I still feel like about 50% of the time even if I have the intent of doing a snatch, I end up catching it above parallel in a power position (it's not a flexibility issue, my OHS position is very comfortable at rock bottom).

Would it be more helpful for someone like me to instead of training power snatches, just do more snatching in order to get the proper motor pattern down for catching it at the bottom?
You will be doing enough snatching and cleaning in the program that you will be okay doing the power versions on the 3rd day. I believe the intent of that day is to have a slight back off during the week to recover a little for the Saturday workout.

As for receiving the bar, you shouldn't be hitting rock bottom as you lock out the bar. You want to receive the bar at its highest point and use the rest of that squat to stabilize the bar over head. You will have to try to meet the bar lower and lower as the weights go up. You will have to dial back the pull slightly on your warm ups so you won't be power snatching the beginning but meeting the bar high and squatting under it should be okay. Just continue to work on pulling yourself  under into that squat.

Steve Pan
May 24 2012
Thanks Steve, that's helpful advice
Greg Everett
May 24 2012
MIchael -

What Steve said. If you're really struggling, instead of power snatches, you can do high or mid-hang snatches at the same weight you'd be doing power snatches with, focusing on pulling down under the bar. This will keep things light on those days as desired and let you work on one of your weaknesses. That said, even with power snatches, you should be focusing on pulling down hard and punching under the bar the same way you do in the snatch.
May 26 2012
Your are probably right...I'm doing too much.
I will dial the CF back to only five days a week.
May 28 2012
5 metcons a week is still probably too much -- just my two cents.

Greg -- am I to understand that on week two we do 5 sets of 3 cleans + 1 jerk on Monday?

Yes, that's correct.

Greg Everett
May 28 2012
Curious, I have programed back squats twice a week, and over head and front once a week. Are you front squatting twice a week to work on the cleans catching in the hole, or the explosiveness to catch and drive? Why not the heavy back squats twice a week?

*Billy - still too much?
More front squats because typically people new to weightlifting don't have adequate quad and trunk strength to squat upright as they need to. It's meant to begin shifting their strength to be more in tune with weightlifting rather than more general lifting.

Greg Everett
June 21 2012
Is the "heavy single" a 1RM?
The Heavy Single will be a 1RM for the day. It will be the heaviest you can go on that given day.

Greg Everett
brandon green
June 27 2012
Nice article but i must be missing some things. Where's the conditioning program that goes with this ? Why abdominal work every
day ?
Brandon Green
July 4 2012
Hi, I've been using Starting Strength since Feb and was able to follow a pretty strict schedule with rest days. My job has changed and now am not able to schedule days off between workouts. I'm looking for a something new and was hoping to try this program. Is this program still good if I have to schedule differently? (ie 2 on, 2 off, 3 on)
Hi, I've been using Starting Strength since Feb and was able to follow a pretty strict schedule with rest days. My job has changed and now am not able to schedule days off between workouts. I'm looking for a something new and was hoping to try this program. Is this program still good if I have to schedule differently? (ie 2 on, 2 off, 3 on)

Steve Pan
July 5 2012
Coach I have pain in my shoulders and drop the bar though the weight is low what can I do to improve?
You need to figure out what the problem with your shoulders is before you can figure out how to fix it.

Greg Everett
July 7 2012
Ok than cause I used to shoulder press and work on shoulders no problem but ohs/snatchs hurt sometimes thanks you and guy is my name just saying
July 7 2012
Hi yea like guy said I drop the weight at bottom though its light is it my flexability and wat could do I do
July 18 2012
When there is more than 1 rep per set are you supposed to control it on the way down then reset and do another rep or can you drop it from the top (guiding it down, nothing crazy)?
When you are doing snatches, cleans and/or jerks dropping it from the top and guiding it down is ok.  With pulls and deadlifts you should control it on the way down.

Alyssa Sulay
July 24 2012
about to ramp on with the above program prior to following your main site program, from my oly garage set up in a small town by the beach in Australia. Quick Q - would it be too much to program in a sand dune hill sprint sessions once or twice a week in addition to some chins etc. I'm able to split sessions every training day when required.
As per previous comments thank you for making your programming available online.
That should be fine.

Greg Everett
July 24 2012
I am new to your site, but like what I see. I am not so sure about what to do with supplemental exercises or beach work. How many exercises, what body groups, what should the set/rep range be? Also what is the benefit to doing this, is it strength or size?
Add that stuff as needed. It may not be. Definitely ab/lower back work each training day. If you feel like you need to add some size to your upper body, add some lifts in that vein, 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps, 1-3 exercises. If you need lower body size, you can add some SLDL, good mornings, weighted lunges and/or add extra higher volume squat sets (e.g. 2-4 sets of 8-10 reps) after your normal squats.

Greg Everett
July 26 2012
- Do you believe they are necessary with this program?
- How can you incorporate them into the program?
August 3 2012
Greg, I've just started weightlifting at 37 years old. I've had some coaching and plan to go back when finances and time permits. In the meantime, I have my garage set-up. Would you recommend for someone at my age- where learning curve is longer, recovery not as quick, to focus on just learning the snatch? Or is there a cross over benefit of working on the snatch and clean/jerk at the same time? If I should focus just on the snatch, how would you modify the starter program?
You should be able to manage this as-is. No need to only work on one lift at a time.

Greg Everett
August 4 2012
Greg -
Thanks for the "intro" program. I've recently decided to transition to the olympic lifts from the "power" lifts. At this point strength in the lifts is not a concern of mine, only technique. I'm having difficulty with the receiving position of the clean (finding the groove without shattering a clavicle). Any suggestions?
Also, any suggestions regarding improving the 2nd/3rd pulls in the lifts (I conventional DL 465lbs at 148lbs, but snatch with 185 puts me to shame!).
Thank you
August 5 2012
Hey Greg and thanks for this intro.

I have been doing crossfit for quite some time but for the upcoming months I want to get a lot stronger so thinking about changing the workouts. Im thinking about following this program and then move over to the daily workouts. However I wonder if it is too much to also incorporate stronglift 5x5 program (one of the excercises per day)? Would that be beneficial or is it best to just stick to the workouts posted here for best strength gains?
August 9 2012
Thanks for all of this great information Greg.

I was wondering, do you think it is beneficial/necessary for a novice weightlifter who has never done Olympic lifts before, to focus on building strength with basic compound lifts (ie. Squats, Presses, Deadlifts) prior to attempting this starter program?
It's good to have a reasonable base with that stuff but there's no magic threshold you need to reach. You'll be squatting and puling anyway so it's not as if you won't be doing strength work.

Greg Everett
August 13 2012
What would you say the general rest period between sets is? Particularly on the 5x1 etc. Program looks great i'm excited to start tomorrow.
You should rest at least 2 minutes between sets or until you feel fresh enough to take the next lift. Try not to go overboard and focus on making every lift good.

Steve Pan
Anton Viberg
August 16 2012
First; thanks for the great routine for us beginners and second, what does Power Clean & Power Jerk – 5 x 2(1+1) mean? I'm curious about the (1+1)
It means each set is 1 power clean + 1 power jerk + 1 power clean + 1 power jerk.

Greg Everett
August 21 2012
Thanks for this. I have followed some of your programs and have worked up to a body weight snatch at 185 and a clean and jerk to 255. Would you say that I am still a beginner and can I use this template but go by percentages or stay with it as is. I want to start over and focus strictly on form but not go to fancy adding lifts. I currently only snatch,fs,squat,snatch from the hip, clean and jerk, jerk for the hip. Thanks for any input. Also I tend to dive on all my lifts and it drives me crazy. My power snatch is pushing 225 and I don't think it should be like that.
Yes I'd still consider you a beginner. You can use this template as-is, no %s needed. You're better off going by feel at this stage anyway. Just be careful with pulls not to go too heavy - correct posture, balance and speed.

Greg Everett
August 25 2012
Thanks Greg for the response
James S.
August 27 2012
Just wanted to say thanks for posting this great starter program. After leaving CrossFit programming to start your Oly cycles I'm amazed at the gains that can be made when you slow things down.

I'm itching to finish this last week up and get going with the Strength by Feel cycle.

August 28 2012
From Spain, thanks for the article.
September 6 2012
Coach, thanks for the programming!

I've CFing since December with some exposure to oly lifts, can I jump right into the main programming or sould I run a month of intro to tighen up technique?

If i'm having difficulty with a movement should I post video in comments or the forum portion of the site?


It would be good to run through this starter program before you jump into the main programing. Posting in the forum would also be the best way to get some feedback on your lifts.

Steve Pan
September 8 2012
Hey, just completed Week 1 of this program, and have to tell you I'm loving it so far. I've been a CrossFit athlete and coach for 3 years or so now and have been constantly frustrated by my plateau in Oly lifting. Already noticed a huge difference just by shifting focus onto Oly lifting and fitting CF metcons around my lifting. PR's on both lifts already at the end of week 1 (76kg snatch 94kg c&j.) had plenty more in the tank but trying to be patient and stick to a plan. Looking forward to posting some BIG pr's soon :)

1 question... can i post videos for some online coaching?
I would suggest posting videos in the forum to get feedback on your lifts.

Greg Everett
September 24 2012
Hey Coach,

I started doing Oly style couple of month ago, I have a severe pain in my right elbow everytime I try to Lock! I been off gym of 5 days now trying to fix it, any tips or hints? (I iced, I flossed, I stretched, I took Ibuprofen, there's still a slight pain if I squeeze my triceps near the elbow)
See a good chiro or manual therapist and get it fixed right.

Greg Everett
Gregory L. Johnson
October 19 2012
When moving from one cycle to the next should there be a rest week. After completing the Starter cycle can I just start the Strength by Feel cycle? And after that cycle would I just start another cycle or rest a week first?
You should be able to start another cycle if you feel good. If you are feeling a little beat up you can take a transition week and then get started on the next cycle.

Steve Pan
October 25 2012
Coach, thanks for posting this! I'm looking forward to following your program. I'm an exercise science major, hoping to work in the strength and conditioning field at the collegiate level. The Olympic lifts are certainly something I need to get dialed in, and this program looks great.

Just a few questions. I need to continue to work on my upper body due to my sport (Javelin), both anterior and posterior. What days would you recommend inserting bench, rows, pullovers? Or is that something I should play by feel? Would you recommend any supplemental hamstring work like RDL variations or physio ball hamcurls? And last, what typically makes up your core routine? I usually will do a medball/KB core, but I'm always interested in hear what other people are doing.

Thanks a lot!
Tuesdays/Thursdays for that stuff usually, but itf it's really heavy, it may be better on Mon/Wed/Sat. Same w hamstring work.

Core work for us is usually some heavy back work like SLDL, RDL or good mornings, lighter back work like back extensions / hypers, and a variety of ab work from light high-volume stuff like sit-ups, crunches, reverse crunches, jacknives, V-ups etc, plank varieties, and heavy stuff like weighted sit-ups. I typically have people do something different every day.

Greg Everett
November 1 2012
This says its a good program for people who have not done much lifting before. What's a good "next program up" from this? The daily programming?
The next program from this would be to start on week one of one of the daily cycles. You can take a look at the cycles from the Workouts tab.

Steve Pan
November 1 2012
Also, for core work, how much would be done? One from each heavy back, light back and situp variety? 3 sets of 10-12 reps ish?
Core work is usually programmed in, however you may add in abs and back work if it is not listed and if it doesn't interefere with your recovery.

Greg Everett
November 2 2012
Coach, just curious when you say heavy singles how many sets should you do to lead up to your 1RM for the day, and then once you reach that RM how many sets of that RM should you do?

Once you hit your RM that will be your last set for that exercise.

Greg Everett
November 2 2012

Answered my first question, by reading your Program Help & Info page. Last question still remains though, how many sets once we reach that RM for the day should we do?

November 21 2012
I just lifted in my first competition last week (100 + 110 for a 210 total). It was a blast, but it's time to add some structure to my training so I am starting this.

With conditioning I have a few options at home. Between a skipping rope, kettle bell (60lb) and a c2 rower, I have a number of ways to get my heart rate up, but I'm wondering if the rower is going to be too leg intensive to go along with this program. I don't usually go too long (2000m at the most) or I do 500m intervals. Thanks!
Shawn Furbish
November 25 2012
I just finished week one of the starter program, well kind of. I still cant go heavy over head due to a shoulder impingment issue which I'm nursing back to healthy. So on heavy single day I did heavy front squat, heavy dead and some scap work. Any thoughts on modifications that would be beneficail to the program. I was thinking maybe Pendaly rows and good mornings but wasn't really sure on rep scheme. Thanks!
Shawn Furbish
November 25 2012
I think it will look like heavy single clean, no jerk, snatch grip heavy dead and heavy front squat. Just needed to think logicly for a moment.Thanks
Grant O'Brien
January 6 2013
Two questions
1) when performing an exercise is the %weight used of the main movement, eg
- power clean & power jerk 80%, is the 80% of maximum clean and jerk?
- overhead squat 70%, is this 70% of maximum snatch
- or do we need to know our 1RM for each exercise?

2) after a cycle is there a recommended time off and assessment of strength gains or staright into the next cycle?

1. The percentages are always off of your best in that movement. So 65% power clean is off of your best power clean. Pulls will be off of your best snatch or clean. % OHS will be off of your best OHS.

2. You can transition into a new cycle after you finish a cycle. If you are feeling especially beat up, you can take an extra light week in between cycles.

Steve Pan
January 25 2013
I apologize if this queation was answered previously, but I was wondering if after week 4, does one take a deload week and then start up with week 1 again? Also, I appreciate y'all putting this program up, it has been super helpful!
If you are feeling pretty beat up after you can take a transition week, if you are feeling okay you can go right into the next cycle of your choice.

Steve Pan
January 25 2013
I heard power versions shouldn't be done unless you've learned how to properly pull under first, else you pick up the bad habit of overpulling. So, considering this, if a beginner wants to do this program, should he do it as is with the power movements in them or should it be modified? Any opinions on this?
January 27 2013
nvm, found the answer above
January 30 2013
What is the difference between the Clean Pull and the Snatch Pull? I've reviewed the videos in the exercise section and am having trouble understanding what the difference is and what the focus of each should be.
The snatch pull will be a pull with the hands in a snatch width grip. The clean pull will be a pull with a clean width grip. The focus for each will be reinforcing good pull positions in each and strengthing the back and legs for the pull.

Greg Everett
January 31 2013
Steve Pan

Thanks, that really helped clarify not only the pulls, but also the grip width for the snatch and the clean. Awesome website and the videos are great for viewing the exercises. I'm overseas without access to a coach/trainer, but with access to a gym and the information, workouts, and exercises really help.
February 1 2013

Going off of Joanna's query, should the pulls be done with loads greater than our 1RMs of the full lifts or sub maximal?
It will depend on the athlete. Some people will be able to handle higher loads for the pulls if their 1rm lifts are technique or mobility limited. You will have to feel it out, but don't push it so hard that it puts you in a hole for the rest of the week.

Steve Pan
February 24 2013
I like this program. I don't see any rest days, but maybe we are to take a day off if/when our body needs it? I normally lift 4 days per week with short conditioning afterward then one longer conditioning-only day and rest 2 days per week (Wed and Sun). How often do you recommend taking rest days with your program?
February 24 2013
Nevermind, I see now you left Fridays off the list, so I assume that is the only rest day. So only one day off? Is this also how your more advanced athletes schedule days off as well? I have found in the past that I tend to fatigue and not perform at my best without making myself take my 2 rest days. Any advice?
This program has Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday off. You should be okay taking those rest days. You will always have to feel out if you are too beat up and adjust accordingly.

Steve Pan
Sean V
February 26 2013
Is there a general rule if how much of my 1RM I should use starting with this program and then how much to increase as I go along. Sorry if this has been answered I just couldn't find it.
You will have to feel out weights as you go through this program. Don't choose weights where you will fail, but make the sets challenging and focus on improving your technique in the olympic lifts.

Steve Pan
Sean V
February 28 2013
Thanks. I definitely need to work on my technique.
March 6 2013
Couple of Q&A:

1.) Do I warm up to the weight that I am going to use for all the sets or do I just pick a weight go with it? Example 5 x 2 really pertains to the working weight right?

2.) Whenever you prescribed more than 1 rep are these "touch n go" or "drop and reload"? Example Snatch 5 x 2.... is a weight that I can do twice touch and go?

3.) Snatch and Cleans we only squat them both when the weight is heavy forcing us down? Otherwise we catch in a power o0r whatever it takes to do it. Unless specifies squat these are by feel right? Not every Clean or Snatch has to have squat right? Example Today I did Snatch the weight I chose was heavy for a squat snatch but I was able to power snatch was this wrong?

1. You should always warm up to the working sets on your exercises and as you transition to the next exercises in workouts. The 5x2 are the working sets.

2. You should reset on each rep to make every rep good off of the ground. We don't want to bounce the weights and get a poor starting position as a result. You will reset your starting position and take the rep from a dead stop each time.

3. You should squat on every rep, even if you receive the bar high you will take the squat to work on the tempo and the sequence of the lifts.

Steve Pan
March 18 2013
Hi i found this page from sweden when looking to learn the olympic lifts. Im gonna start this beginner routine but i have two question. 1) apart from doing an ab exercise every workout day, What kind of supplement workout do you recommend for each workout day?
2) What does upper body beach work mean?
The upper body beach work is any body building exercises you want to add. These would be good supplementary work too add, in addition to abs and back work (back extensions, reverse hypers).

Steve Pan
March 19 2013
Hi, I wanna try this program but I would like to train 5 days also in the week 1 & 2. I'm already accustomed to train 5 days a week. Is it possibile to do this? What can I do in the added day?

If you would like to try a 5 day a week workout you may check one of the cycles from the training cycles tab in the workouts section.

Steve Pan
March 27 2013
My work schedule only permits for two, maybe three days of lifting per week. Would the program still be beneficial as expanded to possibly a 6-8 wk program?
You will have to temper expectations but instead of expanding the program possibly taking out the Thursday workout and adding the OHS work to another day might work.

Steve Pan
April 20 2013
I am interested in starting this program, I just have a couple questions.

I have recently just finished the Russian Squat Program, and have started the Masters Program with an added day in the middle of front squats, and I just I am considering just switching to your program.

My best lifts are a 200 lbs clean and a 105 snatch. I have been trying to correct form and not go up to heavy especially on the snatch. My squat is around 335 for a double and 285 for a single for front squats.

I have recently moved to a gym in town that just got a good set of Olympic weights, so I plan on doing the lifts more frequently.

I plan on starting your program with a 95 snatch and a 125 clean and jerk, and then slowly progressing throughout the program, and really focusing on technique, while adding weight when it is programed.

How does that sound?

I appreciate the help.
This should be a good place to start, and then transition to one of the cycles from the Workouts Tab above.

Steve Pan
April 24 2013
Thanks Steve.

I also just joined to forums and uploaded a training video too. Check it out man, my name is Scott Keefer.

I will be going through the workout tab to pick one that looks good for my background.

May 6 2013
Thanks for a great site! I have about 12 months of exposure to olympic lifting through CrossFit, but have found the high rep, low weight oly programming is geared more towards endurance/metcon conditioning than actual strength gains...which is frustrating and why I added a gym in my garage. Now my question. I still want to do CF 2-3 times per week but want to know if I can go more with this beginning cycle. My current plan is to do CF on the rest days, which is a huge change for me ( normally do 6X week). Is there something inherently wrong with doing a CF workout AND the beginning oly cycle on the same day? Would I be over stressing/taxing my body, endocrine system by doubling up? I get 5 different answers from 5 different people when I pose this question. Thanks for any suggestions.
To answer your question I will quote Greg from the Program Info section.

"Many individuals ask if they can perform both our training and other training simultaneously. While we can’t predict everyone’s response to training, we can say with certainly that very few individuals will be able to handle such a workload for any considerable period of time without burning out completely. These workouts are designed to be a standalone program and as such are extremely demanding—attempting to do both is a recipe for overtraining and poor results. Just as importantly, combining multiple programs is a good indicator that you're trying to achieve conflicting goals at the same time—this never works well. If you can’t stand to commit to it entirely for at least one complete cycle, don’t do it at all"

Steve Pan
May 7 2013
Hello I'm new here and I've been wondering what "beach work" means? Is it exercises like bench press?
Beach work is any body building work you want to add. This can be rows, presses or curls. Bench press is also acceptable.

Steve Pan
May 8 2013
Thanks Steve!
May 9 2013
Hello, I don't enjoy doing the Split Jerk but like the Push Jerk and Push press. Can I use either of these to get the bar overhead where the program lists "Clean and Jerk"? Thanks.
I would suggest using split jerks if possible. The program will specify when to use push press and power jerks.

Steve Pan
May 10 2013
Thank you Steve. Is there a suggested guide of how many sets you should take to get to your heavy single? And secondly, is a "Heavy single" different to a "Max Lift"? Much obliged.
You will have to feel out the warm ups on a heavy single depending on the day. You want to warm up and take bigger jumps earlier and smaller jumps as you approach your current 1RM. Heavy single will be different than a max as you will work up to the heaviest you can do for that day. There is more information on the program and notation here.

Steve Pan
May 12 2013
Demoralising total fail. With overhead squats a)my arms bend when I'm at the lowest point and 2) my chest folds forward when I cannot keep posture when the bar goes down. Please help.. Should I stop snatches altogether until I perfect this exercise?
Keep working on your OHS. You can keep snatching, however I would suggest making sure you turn them over high with good posture and shoulder/arm position and ride them into the squat from there. Keep working on shoulder and hip mobility.

Steve Pan
May 14 2013
Hey Steve/Greg

Am now coming to end of Week4, really cool routine. Made progress and want to keep it going. Can I go back to week 1 of the routine (whilst starting week5) or would that be regressing? I'll use heavier weight than week 4. Or would you recommend I pick a different cycle.

For your info if it helps I'm 30,5'9,lean 172lbs, still learning Oly lifts and training for strength/overall fitness.
You can run this cycle again with heavier weights if you are comfortable with it. The other option is to evaluate your needs and pick a cycle from the training cycles page found here.

The 4-week leg strength block 1 is a popular one that people have had success with.

Steve Pan
May 17 2013
Thanks again Steve,
I can't get my head around the pulls (snatch or clean). The form feels weird for one, but secondly as it is like an abridged version of the full lift should we be using far more weight? I.e. 95kg clean pull when I 1RM clean 80kg? I know it's light, I've just started.
That is correct. Pulls are an abreviated version of the full lift to strengthen your posture and reinforce good positioning in the pulling portion of the lift.

Steve Pan
Dave K
May 18 2013

Quick question about starter program for a triathlete/ runner. Should I go as is or limit days?

Quick background. 90-2009- primarily endurance (s/b/r) and body weight strength. late 09 - began P90x and 2010 - CrossFit. Continued CrossFit at some good boxes and on my own.
Came to realization that CF Chipper and Metcon WODs are counterproductive to s/b/r training and performance (I leverage some solid swim coaching, running based on a 3x week - FIRST's Run Less/Run Faster) and bike from local bike elites.
I'm a strong believer in fundational strength and want to continue it! I blend in body strength/calisthenics during runs/swims/bikes. The challenge is finding a place to do it (CF boxes have the equipment but tend to fixate on the WODs w/out understanding cross purposes of "conditioning") - do have Y close by (no plate slamming, but really not trying for freaky max strength.
Current 3 rep max
135 push press
185 back squat (was 45 when I began, years of running )
255 deadlift
155 clean / power clean
110 snatch (have never felt comfortable with the "hop" snatch via Rippetoe) so building this slowly
thank you for your work!!!
This program is designed to get you ramped up to going into the daily weightlifting cycles. The primary goal is to improve snatch and clean & jerk. It may apply to general stength, but you will have to temper your expectations of this program if you are also doing triathalon work in addition to the workouts. I would suggest considering your goals, and adjusting accordingly.

Steve Pan
Curt F
June 11 2013

You have been a great source of help with other questions I have had. If you don't mine me asking another, I appreciate it. My schedule allows for training on M/T/Th/F/S. In looking at this program, and moving the Wed to my Tue with Wed I looking at burn out or major conflict?
That should be okay to switch to. Make sure you get good rest on the Monday night so you are good for the snatches and front squats on the Tuesday workout.

Steve Pan
Curt Fischer
June 11 2013
Actually, I thought about this during the day. I will make your Wed my monday. The work and rest days will be the same. Thanks again for the help.

Louis G
June 17 2013
What is the difference between snatch and power snatch??
In the monday and wednesgay workout, I start the exercices to the ground or to the hip??
Sorry for my english, I come from Quebec. :)
Power snatch you will lock the legs up above parallel. Snatch will include the full squat. You can find video examples in the exercise library.

Steve Pan
June 28 2013
What do you reccomend after this program is complete for someone getting ready for their first weightlifting meet?
For you, I would probably do a taper week something like this:

Monday -
Snatch and CJ up to 90% of your planned opener x 1 single each
Cln pull - 90% x 2 x 2
Back squat - 85% x 2

Snatch and CJ to 85% of opener x 1-2 singles

Snatch and CJ to 80% of opener x 1-4 singles
Snatch pull - 90% x 2 x 2
Front Squat - 85% x 1 (or about what you want to open with in CJ)

Snatch and CJ about 70% of opener for a few singles. You can also do power sn/cj on this day if you think you need some more rest.

Rest or very light sn/cj


If you think you need more rest, make Tuesday lighter and maybe just light powers.

Greg Everett
July 12 2013
Would you be at a loss if you dropped the heavy day (saturday), and proceeded with the others on a mon/wed/fri scheme? Sorry if answered already.
I would suggest keeping the heavy day as the last day, and possibly moving some of the Thursday work that you would like to keep onto the other days.

Steve Pan
Billy H.
August 8 2013
Hey Coach,
I'm looking for which program would best suit me as an athlete looking to get into competitive lifting. I have been doing CrossFit for about 4 years and coaching for about 3 of those and have experience in Oly lifting, but still conisder myself a novice of an oly athlete and coach. I recently bought your book Complete Guide for Coaches & Athletes to better myself as an athlete and more importantly a coach. I reviewed the Intermediate 2 cycle, but not sure if thats the route I should take or the starter program? I'm a career firemen, smallest in the dept at BW of 140 but oddly nowhere near the weakest, so I will still be doing CF wods regularly to maintain good conditioning, but with oly training in mind as to not overtrain or doing a metcon with similar work in the wod.
Thank you and looking forward to getting in this book and learning some great stuff.
I would suggest reading the About the Program section on combining programs. It is also quoted above. I would advise against combining programs as it will render both ineffective.

If you look in the archives (around 2008) there are some examples of workouts that incorperate some conditioning work that may be a good program to use.

Otherwise I would suggest sticking to a weightlifting program to increase strength and improve technique and working conditioning on a different cycle.

Steve Pan
August 27 2013
Greg -

I will finish week for this week. Do I just start over at week 1 next week? Great program by the way.
You can move on to another program after you finish this one. Take a look at the training cycles to decide which one to take next.

Steve Pan
August 27 2013
As a personal trainer I love this program for my clients! I have found that oly lifting is effective for endurance athletes. I am a pro level bike racer & most of my clients are endurance athletes. I have been through this program and supplement it with other functional movement patterns for myself and my clients (mainly in warm-ups and cool downs). 3 questions: (1) Your thoughts on me using this for endurance athletes? (2) I want to add deadlifts (a la Pavel T. in Power to the People 2 sets of 5) in beginning of training sessions. Again, your thoughts? Finally, what would be an effective program to do after this cycle is done? Meaning for the type of people I train.
Bryan Jacobs
September 21 2013
So ive been doing Oly lifting off and on for a little while. I like to switch things up pretty regularly. Anyways im fairly strong but im still have C&J issues. I front Squat 375 and back squat 495.. I Powerclean 295 and my split jerk is up to 345...
but i only C&J 245. Is it a technical error...i dont mean to throw numbers out there sorry! It just seems like my numbers arent adding up...i feel like i should be able to clean and jerk much more with all those others numbers. It may be that im too slow getting under the bar? Perhaps there is some other supplemental work i should be doing...normally i do my squats with bands or chains on my dynamic days. Ive been incorporating some West side methodology into my workouts i.e. max effort days and dynamic days using conjugate method etc.
Just hoping for some clarity. Maybe if you could telle the most common mistake you see with your beginner to intermediate athletes i believe i fall into the first and maybe second category i know im not all that strong. Thanks for any advice!
muhammad sediq
October 4 2013
hello mr everet my name is muhammad sediq and i am the afghanistan junior weightlifting coach i have found your website pretty interesting i mean its very helpfull and i have learned many things thanks to you i saw your workout programs they are pretty good my question is that what kind of workout program do you recomend for the junior team
Something basic like this. Adjust volume as needed.

Greg Everett
October 22 2013
Would doing Metcon in crossfit still be too much even if it is split up in the day?
such as doing metcon early in the morning (6-8am) and doing the weight lifting in the afternoon around 3ish
It depends on what those metcons are, and what part of the cycle you are at. Most likely it will be overkill.

Steve Pan
October 26 2013
When you have 5x1 do only successful lifts count?
October 27 2013
Hi Greg, I like this plan. I would like to incorporate deadlifts into it though. Which days of the week for each week would you reccomend to do that.
October 28 2013
into this program i have incorporated 5 x 5 bench one day a week and 5x5 military press, also one day a week, as i have been lifting a while now for strength and would hate to loose the progress I've made in these lifts. could you provide some advice or opinions on this?
October 29 2013
Just coming back from an injury, which I only was able to squat for over a month, I think I'll follow this to get back into it..
Q. My jerk is weaker than my clean, is there any recommended adjustments that could be made to factor this in?
October 29 2013
What would you say to those of us that do the split snatch vs. Squat snatch?

And what does it mean if the power clean is heavier than the squat clean?
muhammad sediq
October 30 2013
hello mr everett my question is that we have a black chrome berg barbell its pretty old but it still spins but not that well the collars has rust in it so its hard i was hopping that if would have any information about how to open the end caps i tried to open it but its different from the modern barbell that we have today i would like to open it and fix it
You will have to check with the manufacturer of the barbell for that information.

Greg Everett
October 31 2013
Greg - What program would you recommend next for someone who is still getting better at the technical aspects of the lifts, but cannot handle a tremendous amount of volume? Would your technique program in you book be a good idea? Thanks.
The technique program in the book would be a good place to start. Ease your way into the program and make sure you are keeping an eye on your recovery.

Greg Everett
Britt Treece
November 5 2013
Starting this program but only have 4 days available to do it on. Should I split up the Tuesday movements to Monday and Wednesday or just skip that day or something else? How would you guys modify for that limitation?
You can skip the Tuesday workouts for week 3 and 4 if you are unable to train on those days.

Steve Pan
William Smith
November 7 2013
Coming off of this cycle, i'm assuming you'd use the max clean and jerk / snatch numbers as your 1RM for the following cycle, but as far as squatting percentages, is that something you calculate off the max classical lifts or would you max out front and back for the next cycle?
You will go off your current maxes for those lifts, so if you don't have front or back squat maxes you may test them before going into a cycle. There are a few opportunities during this block that will let you test heavy singles so you may use your top weight from those Saturdays for your max.

Steve Pan
Jose D. Torres of Crossfit Greenpoint Barbell Club
December 3 2013
I am reading Matt Foreman's Bones of Iron collected articles. I wanted to know if there a training cycles that has been written for the broken down athlete at the age of 40 years old fell in love with olympic lifting for past 2 yrs introduced via Crossfit. The volume of 3 lifting days per week with heavy squatting have caught up with me now with patellar tendonitis. I am interested in the light day and heavy days twice a week Matt Foreman regimen.
Britt Treece
December 9 2013
What should the weight percentages of 1RM be for week 2 Saturday which isn't "heavy single"?
You will have to feel out weights that you can make 6 good singles with. If the weight for the first single is light you may go up a bit but make sure you are making good reps.

Steve Pan
February 5 2014
How much is too much supplementary work to be doing on top of this program?
I'm about to start following this for the 4 weeks and was wondering if maintaining a bodybuilding/hypertrophy style program to go along with it would be okay.

For example after doing C&J, Clean Pulls, and Back Squats on Monday I would continue to do Incline Dumbbell Presses 5x8, Tricep extensions 3x10, Dips 5x8, etc.

Just wondering if doing too much hypertrophy or isolation movements would hinder my progress with my oly lifts.
Thanks in advance!
You can add in supplementary work, but don't go overboard with anything that will throw off your recovery for the lifts.

Steve Pan
Troy Work
March 5 2014
I saw the question earlier but did not see an answer. I prefer the split snatch over the squat snatch. Should the few like me A) do the overhead squats anyway, B) switch them to another exercise (overhead lunge), or C) scratch it completely?
Try giving the OHS a try and seeing if you can improve your position and possibly work towards a regular snatch. If you are dead set on split snatching then you can work on strengthing your split. I would not suggest lunges necessarily as they tend to favor the front leg and we would like you to have a balanced split. Possibly snatch grip split push presses behind the neck would be an appropriate substitute.

Steve Pan
March 19 2014
What do you mean by clean pull and snatch pull are we talking about the pull part of the movement or high pull in clean and snatch grip?
Snatch/Clean pull will just be a regular pull to above the hips. The program will specify when high-pulls are needed. You can check the difference between high-pulls and regular pulls in the Exercises tab above.

Steve Pan
March 24 2014
hi, I've just finished this program and it all went great. I'm planning on starting the 12 week general cycle but was wondering what I need to do if I miss any of the lifts? do I try them again or just record it as a miss and move it?
It depends on the situation. It will be a judgement call. If it was a lift you should make but just had a brain fart, take it again and make it. If it is a heavier lift and you know you will not come back and make it, you can call it there or take a back off lift to end on a good lift.

Steve Pan
March 26 2014
I was looking through the comments and I hadn't noticed anything about gains. I am roughly new to olympic lifting so i thought this would be a great program to get me started like it says in the description. But i was just wondering if going through this 4 week program would i seen any added gains to my 1rm of any of the lifts? or is this more for technique and just getting use to the work load the sites strength program?
This is a program to ramp you up and get you moving toward doing the program from the site if you haven't done a weightlifting program before. You'll add to your snatch and clean & jerk, though.

Steve Pan
April 7 2014
Hello, I was curious. As I have just completed my 4 weeks of this training. Would it be good to go through this training cycle again with the gains I have achieved from doing this program already one time through?
You can do this program again if you are comfortable with it and try pushing the weights up. The other option would be to move to one of the programs from the Workouts section above.

Steve Pan
April 18 2014
Ive never done the Oly lifts but want to transition from powerlifting to Olympic lifting. How would you suggest i make the transition if ive never done these lifts before, but am fairly strong with lowbar squatting and deadlifting?
I think this Starter Program would be a good way to get you ramped up to a program from the site. I would say be careful with the back squats transitioning from low bar squats to regular squats. Work your way back up with the good posture and practice those squats in the classic lifts as well. It will take some time to repattern your pulls and squats but this program should be a good transition to building up strength in those new positions.

Steve Pan
April 20 2014
Thank you sir. I plan on learnjng proper form and technique from Jim Schmitz once I find avaliable time then use these programs to make the transition. I read the article on how after Oly lifting peoples deadlifts go up anyway. I just don't want to get too one dimensional.
May 7 2014
Thanks for posting this! How much time of rest between sets do you recommend? Do you give your athletes a specific time? Or is it depending on how they feel? And for a girl, (I'm 5'6", 165 and muscular) do you have a especific diet or nutrition (protein, carbs, fats) ratio recommended to recover from the training? Thanks coach!
2-3 minutes rest between olympic lifts, 3-5 min rest between squat sets. Make sure you are getting recovered between sets and making good movements. You will have to feel out what nutrition works for you and keeps you training well and recovering

Steve Pan
May 7 2014
Greg, first of all thank you for all your programming and articles you put up on your site. I'm just curious, when does conditioning start to take away from your strength? I do the Oly programming for strength 5 days a week combined with upper body exercises at the end of each session ie pull-ups, dips and various core work. I really enjoy seeing myself getting stronger but recently I've been out of breath when taking a leak. What do you suggest in terms of frequency, intensity and time specifically for conditioning. Thanks!
You will have to determine what your end goals are and adjust the program accordingly. If your goal is to be a weightlifter you are going to have to be conditioned for weightlifting and focusing your recovery on being prepared for weightlifting. If you are going for general fitness you will have to find a balance in volume between your strength work and the conditioning work you are doing and adjust as the cycle goes.

Steve Pan
June 6 2014
Hi guys. Love the information and programming. Just a quick question. I'm a CrossFit athlete looking to become more competitive. I actually sustained a rough shoulder injury in March and have just been cleared to resume normal activity. (Dislocated it, once snatching again sleeping. The MRI showed strain to a previously repaired ligament.) Would you suggest a program like this to get regain some strength before resuming my normal, rigorous, CrossFit training?
Any and all advice will be taken and utilized! Thanks so much!
This should be a good program to use to ease your way back into traing. Be careful and work your way back up and make sure the shoulder is doing okay through the cycle. Be conservative!

Steve Pan
June 10 2014
Once completed with this program, whats a good program to move onto?
You may choose a cycle from the training cycles tab in the workout section. Choose one that fits your current needs.

Steve Pan
June 12 2014
Just start this program. Finished up day 2 and its a great program for a beginner. Struggling with squat mobility though.
July 16 2014
For week 3 are you supposed to use generally the same weights you maxed out on in week 2 for sn and c&j?
Take the weights up on week 3 if you are able to.

Steve Pan
August 11 2014
Do you guys have any cycles like the first 2 weeks of this program, but longer, that consist of 4 days per week with moderate volume? Right now time only permits me to get in 4 days per week of lifting. Or what would you suggest for combining days for any of your cycles so that I can fit 5 days into 4?
You can adjust the cycles as needed, however you will have to temper your expectations of the results.

Steve Pan
Joseph Sarti
August 11 2014
Great template coach! Thank you for sharing you programming!
August 15 2014
I'm leaving for college in a week and the school is starting up a barbell club but it wont be up and running until later in the fall semester. Does anybody have recommendations on how to incorporate upper body work such as pressing and rowing into the program? I've only been weightlifting since the end of May and am starting out as a super around 120kg I am weak in the upper body lifts compared to my lower body strength. Any advice will be much appreciated and i apologize if this has been addressed in previous comments.
October 8 2014
I am psyched about this program. The only concern that I have is that when front squatting or catch a clean, I can't seem to get the bar high enough on my delts to get it off of my collar bone. I get a lot of pain from that and generally hate front squats. I'm working external rotation in the humerous but if doesn't deem to help. Any ideas? Thanks! Can't believe I haven't found this site till now!
Riley Hunt
November 14 2014
Gday coach,

Just want to clarify the power jerk, is this a split jerk or a "push jerk"? Which is what I know it as. And when you say clean and jerk are you wanting a typical split jerk unless specified otherwise?
Power Jerk and Push Jerk are different exercises. Power Jerk is not a Split Jerk. Please refer to the exercises section above for the differences. Jerk will always imply split jerk unless otherwise specified, so Clean & Jerk will be with a split jerk.

Steve Pan
November 16 2014
Hey coach, so basically I'm new to weightlifting, with a 60kg C&J and a 40kg Snatch, planning to start things off with this cycle.

So my question is, can this cycle be done all over again for a few times or is it just a one time thing ?

Thank you.
This cycle should be okay to run a few times until you feel comfortable moving on to another program.

Steve Pan
December 10 2014
What is the difference between CJ that is, say, 2(1+1) and 2 x 1+1?
1+1 will be 1 clean and 1 jerk, 2(1+1) will be 2 reps of 1+1 alternating, meaning if it is clean and jerk you will perform 2 clean & jerks back to back. If it is 2+1 that would indicate 2 cleans and 1 jerk.

Steve Pan
January 9 2015
Hello I been doing crossfit doing a lot of metcons but want to focus on weightlifting what percentage of my maxes can I use for this program?
You will have to feel out weights that are appropriate. Start light on the first week and work up and add weight each week as you go. I recommend reading the help & info section above.

Steve Pan
January 20 2015
When adding in beach bod workout routines, how do you suggest splitting up which muscles to target on certain days? Lower body Monday,Thursday and upper body Wednesday, Saturday? Or more of just a listen to your body kind of thing? Thanks!
Do what works for you, but generally speaking, I would have a day that focuses on pushing (e.g. pressing variations) and one on pulling (e.g. rowing, pull-up, curl type work). Do each on a day with less volume (usually tue/thu in my programs) and arrange to match the work to what's being emphasized already in that workout, e.g. throw in push beach work on a jerk-emphasis day.

Greg Everett
January 26 2015
When adding accessory work, good mornings, lunges, pulluos, etc, what kind of rep scheme and volume should I follow? Thanks in advance for any ideas!
3-4 sets of 8-10 should be okay. Don't go overboard on anything that will interfere with the rest of the program. I would not go to crazy with lunges, 5-8 reps.

Steve Pan
Josh Settlage
February 4 2015
Hey Greg, should the off days be in the order that the program says? Ie. Monday>rest> Wednesday> rest ect. Or if I can't get the session in on Wednesday, can I just do it on Tuesday or Thursday even though I'm supposed to rest on that day?
Try to follow the rest order as listed. If you are unable to it shouldn't hurt if you need to adjust once in a while.

Steve Pan
Glen Genet
February 8 2015

When you say comfortably below max, would say thats 75-80%?
Depends on what exercise and reps you're talking about. That could be heavy or light. Go by feel and make sure you stop at a point at which you could do more.

Greg Everett
Glen Genet
February 19 2015
What about Saturday of week 2 Should I try for six at my weight from week 1? I've already bumped up to 80% of my 1rm and having no problems with recovery.
You should try for 6 good sets of 1 and if you feel good you can take the weight up.

Steve Pan
Joshua Hnadley
March 10 2015
Hi I want to start this program. I can do a light power clean and snatch max 52kg for snatch, 75kg for power clean and jerk. But i need help with the complete lift olympic lifts i have trouble getting under the bar and into the squat position and then out. I come from a generic lifting background, and at the moment I can deadlift 155kg for 3 reps, back squat 130 for 3 reps and I can front squat 100kg for 5 reps. my bench is 80kg for 3 reps. but i want to get into more Olympic lifting so i can be proficient in them for crossfit to be honest. Are you able to help. I hope I'm making sense
Steve V
April 26 2015
I am looking to start this program and I am relatively new to the oly lifts. I would like to still do some hypertrophy work, how would I program that in?
Adding any supplementary hypertrophy work to this program should be fine. Don't go overboard on the lighter workouts (Tues/Thurs) where it would take away from the main days.

Steve Pan
April 29 2015
going to start this on my next training cycle, will be starting with the bar only... any suggestions for when to up weight with this 4 week program?
You should try to take the numbers up each week on this program as you are able as long as there are no restrictions due to injury.

Steve Pan
May 9 2015

I am thinking about doing this programme.
But why isn't there any over head pressing?
Should it be considered as assistance work (which can be done with the ab work and beach work)?
Pressing would be assistance work that you can add in if you would like.

Steve Pan
May 15 2015
I just started this program. I have been doing Crossfit for 7 years but never paid enough attention to strength and Oly lifts. Having realized the error of my ways I am pouring all my efforts into Oly lifts and getting stronger. My goals are, obviously, to improve technique and strength. At what point should I invest in some video analysis? Is there a specific forum feed to post videos to?
You can post videos to our weightlifting forum for review or we do offer some custom programming/video review options in the Services section above. It all depends on how you are feeling with the lifts and your experience. Finding a coach in some capacity (online or live) is always a good idea to help you make good progress.

Steve Pan
June 5 2015
I would like to know how much rest time you recomend per set and per exercise?
2-3 minutes between olympic lifts and 3-5 minutes for squats should be good.

Steve Pan
June 21 2015
Hi coach,
Thanks for the programme!
If I am not available on Saturday, Can I do the sat workout on Friday? Do I need to modify anything on Thursday?
You may want to move the Thursday workout to Tuesday and you can take Thursday off to have a rest day before the heavy single day.

Steve Pan
June 30 2015
Should I test BS max on the last Saturday if I want to do the 4-week leg strength block 1 program afterwards? Or is there any other day on which I could get a max I can work with in the next program?
You may test your back squat instead of the Front Squat HS on the last Saturday in this program.

Steve Pan
July 7 2015
Hey guys,

quick question: Week 3 requires to up the weights. For Monday (of week 3) would this mean an increase for the C&J compared to the one on the Saturday before or the one on the Monday of week 2?
You will take the weights up where you are able to. If you feel good and you are able to, you will take the weights up for both. Saturdays are heavy singles so you will fluctuate from week to week and it will be a judgement call on where you land depending on how you feel as you work up. I would compare Monday to the previous Monday and try and beat that weight if you can.

Steve Pan
July 18 2015
Hi coach:) Excuse me, Can I change the order of the trainings during the week?

Finally I would done the same movements, volume, intensity..etc but only with a different order of the days

Thanks for your time doing this workouts and for your dedication to my question,

A strong hug of a young spanish athlete;)
I would try to keep the order the same as above if possible.

Steve Pan
July 20 2015
Hey, Steve again here. I was wondering how the back-off week looks like. You say to do week 1 again. Does that mean to use the same weights one used in the first week or should one go by feel again and push for HS on Saturday? And one could also test for a BS max in the back-off week right?
Appreciate your help!

P.S.: It is not possible to post comments via this form on other programs. Would be nice if this could be fixed for people that are not on facebook ;-)
I am not sure what you are referring to when you say to do week 1 again. A back off week will be reduced volume and intensity to get you recovered a bit to continue on a cycle or attempt to max out. You may test the back squat after a back off week.

Steve Pan
July 21 2015
Thanks for the reply. In the section 'What To Do After This Program' on this page it says to do an easy week and an easy way to do this is to repeat week 1. I hope this clears things up. Thanks anyway!
July 21 2015
Ok, thanks for your advice; )
July 28 2015
Hi coach, I'm the same guy of the last question.Finally, I selected the program with 3 days, this is "the simplest olympic programme of the world" and I have curiosity with somethings (Excuse me if this questions can be stupid or very easy but I'm only 16 years old and I have the materials to train and every day I search information about how I can do the movements in Internet and YouTube, but I haven't got a instructor in my city, for this reason I want learn to get knowledge and do the things correctly)

1-Why if a workout there are olympic movements and basic movements (Squats,deadlift, bench press).First, is the olympics?No is better do firstly and basic heavy and finally do the olympic with less weight and use PAP?(For example a heavy deadlift and after a Power Clean)

2-Can I do the rutine of this movements With a fullbody of 3 days with too less volume, ,only to maintenain or improve step to step the RM's in the basics?How I can planificate It?And,When is a good moment to train my móvility(dedicate more time) and the flexibility?

3-To the Front squat and the Squat of the trains 1 and 3, is a good option do a routine like a 5/3/1 or a 5•5?

This is all,I really like train this movements and improve my knoweldge to improve the movements, is a good experience:) Thanks for your help, I Appreciate It a lot
1- The order of the exercises will depend on the emphasis of the cycle. If we are working on getting the legs strong we may start a day with a squat. In other cases we will prioritize the lifts and put the squats and pulls at the end of the session.

2- Work on mobility every day, before and after training would be fine if you have the time. You can train the lifts 3 times a week but you will have to feel out what works for you.

3- This will be something you have to feel out. If those protocols work for you then it would be a good plan to use them.

Steve Pan
August 4 2015
Oh ok, thanks for your reply.
Now, I understand how periodize the training better:) I will do microcycles where I put more emphasis in power and other in streng with the basics doing remainders with the olympic movements

A strong hug and thank for your help:)

September 2 2015
How long would you generally rest between each set. Thanks
2-3 minutes rest for olympic lifts, and 3-5 minutes for squats should be good.

Steve Pan
September 24 2015
Coming off a recent Texas Method/Weightlifting split I have a feeling my power variations compared to the standard Snatch and C&J will be identical throughout this program. Hopefully that will be a discrepancy that I can fix since this has a lot more overhead work, especially OHS.
October 6 2015
Hi Coach,

I've been doing a few months of CrossFit and I was wondering if I were to do this starter program, since there are no workouts on Tuesdays and Fridays of the program, is it advisable to do any sort of metcons on those days at all? Or would it be better to do metcons after these workouts (i.e. on Mon, Wed, Thurs, Sat)?

Thanks! Pretty stoked to start the program.
I would recommend against adding conditioning work to these workouts. If you must I think 2 times a week should be okay and possibly doing them Monday and Thursday. If you add conditioning you will have to temper your expectations of the effectiveness of the program.

Steve Pan
October 13 2015

Should I do clean pull based on clean max or based on clean&Jerk max?
Clean pull should be off of your clean max.

Steve Pan
October 15 2015
Can I still Wod or do excessory work after my sessions?
October 18 2015
I am a competitive runner capable of going under 4:45 in a mile and still trying to remain competitive going into my mid 30's. I am also hoping to really increase my power to weight ratio (148lbs) in order to combine stamina with speed and power lifting ability in order to do some damage at obstacle course races such as the Spartan. A friend turned me onto this site, but unsure of what direction to go with my first plan, is this even the right thing to do in my situation?
Starter program would be a good place to start. I recommend reading the section here and here so you can plan your training accordingly.

Steve Pan
October 22 2015

After i have done some warming up and wanto start weightlifting, how should i start the prescribed sets/reps?
For example i got this on Monday:

Clean & Jerk – 5 x 2+1
Clean Pull – 3 x 3
Back Squat – 3 x 5

Ok if it would say for example:

Clean & Jerk – 5 x 2+1 @ 80%

Obviously i shouldn't start at 80% i would have to work my way up right?

So i should do something like 4 sets of 3 reps, and add some weight each set untill i am on the 80%

And only then i should start the prescribed sets/reps Clean & Jerk – 5 x 2+1

Does it work like that?

How would you advise to work up to that 80% on clean & jerk?

Sorry if it's a bit confusing tryed my best explaining it, haha

Thanks allot!
You will work your way up to the 80% for each of those exercises. You can take the full reps and something like bar, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80% and take your working sets. You can take smaller jumps if needed as well. Make sure you are warm enough to prevent injury and make all of your working sets.

For the workout above there are no prescribed weights so it will be more about feeling out an appropriate working weight for the prescription. You will try to move up each week as you go.

Steve Pan
K'Hill Lesemann
November 10 2015
Greg, thanks for posting this workout, I am looking forward to starting it this week. I have a question on the squats. I currently do not have a rack in my home gym that I can squat from. So in order to do squats, I have to snatch or clean the bar up into position. Is there something that would be a good substitute for squats in the above? OR should I continue on with snatching/cleaning the bar up, knowing that my squat weight will be limited by what Ican get off the ground?
Best way would just be to do all front squats, and clean it into position. You can increase the number of reps a bit since the weight will be limited, and do some of them as pause squats.

Greg Everett
November 18 2015
Greg Everett, is every other day other than the power days a squat variation of the snatch or clean and jerk? For example week one Wednesday it says first exercise the snatch, would this be a squat snatch?

Thank you!
Snatch or Clean implies a squat. Exercises will be the full squat version unless otherwise specified.

Steve Pan
Ben Stammeyer
November 20 2015
Good evening Coach Everett,

I am a recovering Wod'er and am moving to more traditional Olympic lifting. I would like to maintain a decent amount of cardiovascular fitness since it is required for my job. What is a good way to include cardio training into a strength program like this? Thanks!
There is some information here on modifying the program to fit your needs.

Steve Pan
December 2 2015
Are the overhead squat singles performed after snatching the weight, or from the rack position bringing the weight overhead by a behind the neck push press?

Thanks in advance
You can take the OHS from a rack.

Steve Pan
December 9 2015
I'm halfway through this program and loving it! My lifts haven't gotten much heavier, but my technique has definitely improved. I've been teaching myself everything through the articles and videos on this site, and even though I'm working at a commercial gym where the trainers don't know how to give advice for Olympic lifts, I think I've done okay so far.

I'm wondering how to work on improving the lifts and scoring heavier lifts when I finish this program. Which one would you recommend next?

Also, is it possible to get captioning provided on videos with dialogue? I am profoundly deaf in both ears.
I may recommend the 8-week general cycle or the OTM program next depending on your needs. The OTM program will give you plenty of chances to work up to heavier weights and get your lifts more consistent.

Steve Pan
December 16 2015
Hi. How many sets/reps would you recommend for ab/back work? Also should I just pick one exercise for abs and one for back and perform them after every training session or would you suggest more than one for each part per workout?
3-4 sets of 8-10 reps each should be good. You can rotate through exercises for the week.

Steve Pan
Ian J
December 28 2015
Is there a spreadsheet for tracking this workout? I'm new to oly lifting, and need some way of keeping tabs on my progress.
There is no spreadsheet for this program on the site but it should be easy enough to cut and paste.

Steve Pan
Adam Dilley
January 5 2016
Coaches, I completed this program and recorded improvement in weight and I feel my technique improved a lot! I ordered your book after completing the program and then started the OTM cycle while I waited for the book. After a few weeks of the OTM cycle I felt my snatch was struggling but my C&J continued to improve. I noticed that the beginner program in your book is laid out like the OTM cycle, by this I mean that I concentrate on a specific movement each work out, then lift a HS on the weekend (so is it safe so assume the OTM cycle is a beginner program?). My question, and sorry it took so long to get to this point, is even though I am a beginner would it be smart to follow the last week of the starter program over and over until I no longer see improvement or is it normal to feel like my snatch is stalling in the OTM cycle/ book beginner program?
March 3 2016
Really excited about getting started. Just did my first day yesterday.

Q: How long should we be resting between sets?

2-3 minutes between sets for the olympic lifts and 3-5 minutes for squats and pulls should be okay.

Steve Pan
Madelaine Boyd
March 6 2016
Just finished a round of this program, and have some questions:

Snatch: I've been maxing out at 70lbs. I know I have the strength to hit 75 or higher, but my mind/confidence hold me back. I'll get nervous, my stomach knots up, and I think about Kevin Ogar. Any tricks for getting my mind back in the right place? I've tried visualizing a successful lift, deep breathing, etc.

Clean: I smash my clavicle with the bar, even when I try to keep my shoulders/elbows up. Any tips?
Keep working on building confidence through assistance exercises and warm up primers. Make sure you are safe and have a clear area to lift in and are able to dump weights and perform the lifts safely.

For the clean work on muscle cleans and tall cleans to work on the accuracy of the turnover. You should actively be pulling your shoulders to the bar.

Steve Pan
Uyen Do
March 12 2016
This Program is awesome! Finished it today and I think it's really good for beginners in regard to the movements to do each day. Got Hard in Week 3 with 5 d/Week and I was always sore After each 1st Day of the Week, but it was absolutely fun and worth it cuz my c&j went from 40 to 52 k, snatch from 25 to 37.5 k, Front sq from 50 to 65 and my technique got better. No big Weights, I know, but it was fun.
Thanks for posting this and all the other good stuff on this site! :)
Uyen Do
March 12 2016
ups, didn't see my first comment so I posted it twice sry..
April 1 2016
Is this the only program where it's sets x reps, instead of reps x sets??
The notation is consistent. If there is a prescription for weight it is percentage x reps x sets. If there is no prescription it is sets x reps

Steve Pan
nate perry
April 15 2016
What is a standard rest period for these lifts or am I just feeling it out as I go?
2-3 minutes between olympic lifts and 3-5 minutes between strength lifts (squats, pulls) should be good.

Steve Pan
Dale Smith-Gilleran
May 1 2016
Coach, how do you feel about me doing one short CrossFit metcon after the prescribed work given here?
I feel like you shouldn't do that if your goal is to do weightlifting. If you are looking to do crossfit and supplement it with weightlifting that should be okay but feel out what you are able to do with the added volume of weightlifting work.

Steve Pan
Steve Malandro
June 12 2016

On the Monday of week 3 when it says to increase weights as able to...on the C&J it is a I trying to increase the weights from the saturday two days before that? Thank you.
Steve - You are looking to increase your weights from the previous Monday. Then on Saturday you are looking to go for Heavy singles in each lift. 

Alyssa Sulay
June 16 2016
I really want to use this program, but I am only just returning to some of the exercises involved since I injured my rotator cuff. Can you help me figure out what weight to start with and how to build the weight progression so that I won't injure myself again?
You need to select weights by feel - I can't tell you anything specific. Start with weights that cause zero pain or aggravation to whatever you injured. Build weekly as you can - I can't predict what that will be.

Greg Everett
Sandy Avriette
July 7 2016
Coach, I'm coming back to weightlifting after a year off dealing with injury and personal issues. I'm planning on use this 4 week starter program to get back into training and I'm wondering if I should supplement with any cardio or bodyweight stuff. Thanks for your time!
You certainly can if you want - up to you. You can do some conditioning work and beach work in whatever dosage and frequency you find feels good.

Greg Everett
August 4 2016
I have done some work with CF Weightlifting before and am now working through Catalyst. When I review the movement standard videos for Clean and Snatch Pulls provided here, they appear more as clean/snatch shrugs rather than (high elbow) pulls. Is this just a difference in programming or am I reading into this incorrectly? Thanks Coach!
Patrick - What you are seeing is the difference in a regular snatch or clean pull vs. a snatch or clean high pull. Here are some videos that illustrate the differences in the pulls. 

Snatch Pull 
Snatch High Pull
Clean Pull
Clean High Pull

Alyssa Sulay
Pedro Farah
August 6 2016
Thanks Greg! What is your opinion in regards to adding some strict presses, benches, deadlifts and rows in the 5-7 rep range at the end of the session in a program like this? Too much?
Han Kim
August 12 2016
Coach Everett I am a huge fan and watch your tutorials religiously. I just had a question because I wasn't sure what it meant. I am doing the Double Day Squat program and was wondering what Jerk - (3, 2, 1) x 3 meant? Does that mean first set is a triple, second set double, third set single? Thank you again Coach!
Sergio West
September 4 2016
On these heavy singles, how important is it that I catch the Snatch at the bottom of the squat?

Should I be dropping completely underneath and if I'm not doing so shouldnt go any heavier and possibly stop/lower weight?
Sergio - With all snatches (unless it is specified as a power snatch) it is important to end up in a full squat. If you catch them high you want to ride them down to the bottom of the squat. Try not to think about just dropping down into the bottom of the squat becuse it will cause you to lose control over your movement. Here is an article that you may find useful to improve your stability in the snatch.

Here is another that you may find useful for your turnover.

Just remember that you always want to maintain control over the bar and stay connected thoughout the entire lift, and if you are loosing control frequently at heavier weights and it is causing you to miss, then keep the weight at something you have control over. Hope this helps!

Alyssa Sulay
September 16 2016
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Simon Strannard
September 23 2016
Is this program available in the Catalyst Athletics group in the app? Is there a template there for logging workouts to keep track of weights used each week, tracking progress etc?
Simon - Unfortunately this program is not available on the app

Alyssa Sulay
Michelle Chamberlain
October 13 2016
I am still getting comfortable with the snatch and the jerk (I am a beginner in general, but these are newest to me). When do you recommend an extreme beginner to start this program? I'm debating diving in, continuing my current program while practicing these lifts on the side, or taking a week or two off any program to focus on technique before starting your starter program. Any recommendations?
This is a good program to begin with so you can work on technique and get some based numbers extablished. You can use this as a guideline to work on technique and you will find things you need to work on while doing this program. It is okay to complete this program more than once before finding another program to do. 

Alyssa Sulay
October 24 2016
Regarding the scheduling, Saturday's will be tough for me to do due to work. Is there any way around it like for example combining Thursday lifting into Wednesday's or just doing Saturday's lifts on Friday. Thanks
Omar - Doing Saturday's workout on Fridays will work!

Alyssa Sulay
October 24 2016
Do I have to stick with the prescribed rest days or can I play around with it? For example i would workout 4 days continuous and then rest 2 days.

Also Can I do accessory work during rest days? and/ or after prescribed workouts? such as weighted dips, pull ups, etc.

Omar - you can play around with the rest days and arrange it so it fits your schedule. And there is no problem in doing accessory work during your rest days. 

Alyssa Sulay
November 9 2016
Hey there! Thanks so much for the program.
For Week 2 on the Saturday:
Snatch – 6 x 1
Clean & Jerk – 6 x 1
Front Squat – 3 x 1

Do we try to do each lift for singles with what we did for a heavy single on Week 1 Saturday? Thanks in advance!
Brian Dutrieux
December 9 2016
For the beginner program, should we be incorporating lifting from blocks in any of the days? Thx!
It gives you exactly the exercises to be doing each day....

Greg Everett
December 21 2016
Hi Greg,

I haven't seen this question posted yet: How would you implement strict presses and deadlifts into this routine? I'm assuming that deadlifts would be done bi-weekly or even monthly as not to tax the main lifts too much.
Presses once/week, deadlifts probably never.

Greg Everett
January 4 2017
When you say "heavy single" ?
"HS or Heavy single indicates taking the exercise to the heaviest weight for a single rep that can be managed in that training session. This is determined simply by gradually increasing the weight until that criterion is met without any failed attempts. If an attempt does fail, but the reason for failure is obviously technical in nature, the athlete can make another attempt. Otherwise the loading increase should stop when the athlete completes a rep he or she is confident is approximately the best possible at that time." You can also find more information on our help page here.           

Alyssa Sulay
January 7 2017
How would this program work for a master aged lifter
Adrian Morenow
January 22 2017
Hi i have question about stretching before training . Is it necessary ? Is it ok when i skip it before and do it after my training ?
Adrian - I would recommend it as a tool to loosen up before your workout. I would keep the pre-workout stretching more dynamic and the post workout stretching more static. It is important to warm up before your workouts. 

Alyssa Sulay
Shawn Gunthner
January 25 2017

I've just started the S/S before I stumbled on to you site. If i switch over to your programs, should I still see some pretty good gains? Don't get me wrong, S/S is a great program but just so repetitive. I like variety and change like I see in your programs.

Well, the programs aren't intended to make you worse... Yes, you'll get better unless you're doing something terribly wrong.

Greg Everett
Shawn Gunthner
January 26 2017

I have another question that i haven't seen asked already. When you do the Clean & Jerk 5 x 2 + 1 for example, you do a clean + clean & jerk. After the first clean, is it a touch and go, or do you stop and reset before the clean & jerk? Same with the 5 x 2(1+1) is it a clean & jerk reset clean & jerk or a touch and go? Thanks again, I'm pretty new with this.

Shawn - For anything with mulitple reps in a set you want to make sure you stop and re-set before each one. You still want to complete the set in a timely manner, but you do not have to touch and go, make sure you are all set in a good postion for each rep. 

Alyssa Sulay
Kendra Preuninger
February 5 2017
Hey Greg!

I am a CrossFitter who needs to improve her lifting numbers. I am going to start with this programming since it has been awhile since I did a weightlifting cycle/program along with metcons. Your opinion, I want to keep my conditioning up but stay diligent with this program and the future ones I do, I have read your stuff and it seems like if I chose my movements wisely for the metcons (not squat heavy for an example) and if possible, split the strength cycle and metcons a part by a minimum of 4 hours, it shouldn't effect my progress? My goal is going to get 4-5 metcons in but only if my body is feeling it,

What are your suggested go-to movements for metcons to help out with me being diligent with this program and future ones?

This would help a lot! Thank you! :)
It's probably going to affect you to some degree, especially if you're doing 4-5 metCons/week, but the shorter they are and the less leg-intensive, the better. Ideally pick movements that address things you need to work on - for example pull-ups or pressing movements if those are weaknesses for you, ab work like knees to elbows or hanging leg raises, unilateral leg work like lunge variations (not heavy).

Greg Everett
Daniel Muñoz
February 10 2017
Great tool to begin the year... How longo should I rest between set and every (kind of) exercises? Thanx Greg...
Daniel - I would recommend resting about 2 minutes, no more than 3 minutes between sets. 

Alyssa Sulay
Kendra Preuninger
February 13 2017
I apologize if someone's has alread asked this question. Scrolled real quick to find something I didn't see anything, or I just missed it. Lol

Anyways, Week 2 on Saturday, I assume you are looking for us to build to the heavy single we got on Week 1 for those lifts and complete 6x1 at THAT weight? I don't want to underestimate myself but I don't know if I can hit those numbers 6 times. Haha
April 10 2017
Thanks for making this available! I'm wondering how much time I should plan to spend on these workouts? Do they just "take as long as it takes" or should I be doing some conscious pacing?
Holly - typically the workouts can take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on how fast you move. You want to make sure you get enough time between sets in order to have enough recovery time to complete the next set. 

Alyssa Sulay
April 17 2017
Im feeling gassed after doing the main lifts plus the pulls. Would it be good to do squats every other day? Im trying to focus my energy into getting better at the main lifts. I know the squats are crucial but i wanna be able to do them without losing form. Thanks!
Caleb - Ideally you would want to do the program as written, since the program is written in a way that is weight by feel, you can adjust your squats accordingly so you can complete them without losing form at a weight that is doable. Ideally you would develop the conditioning and the squats will get easier with time, but you still want to listen to your body—but know the difference between just training aches and a tweak or injury. Hope this helps!

Alyssa Sulay
April 19 2017
Coach, thank you for the program, much appreciated. Quick question to clarify. In later weeks, as we drop the reps, are we increasing the weight? Week 1 3x5 (I assume at 80%) , week 4 5x2 would be at (90/95)% ? Thank you.
Mike - This program is done at a weight by feel basis, so yes—although there are no specific weight prescriptions, ideally you would increase the weight as the program goes on. 

Alyssa Sulay
June 1 2017
Hello! This program is very helpful for me to get back into OLY lifting. I've had shoulder issues in the past, but it's been treated and healed already. I do some extra shoulder stability and mobility exercises at least 3x a week. When do you think is the best time to do those during the week, and should they be at the beginning or end of my workouts?
Kylie - You can do some of the mobility work before your workout as a warm up or activation exercise, but as far as accessory work I personally like to complete that after my workouts. 

Alyssa Sulay
Kent Bischoff
July 5 2017

I have FAI in my hip and want to try to avoid squatting for a while to prevent pain flare ups in my hip. Basically any extreme pure flexion of my left hip causes extreme pain and I was told by a surgeon and physical therapist to avoid squatting below 90 degrees.

I know its not ideal, but I was wondering if you could suggest any alternative lifts to do in place of squats. I've heard some lifters with similar conditions have found some success with deadlifts and some unusual squat variations.

If you can squat above 90 degrees without pain, I would simply do that - presumably you'll need to snatch and clean above 90 as well, so it will actually help in that effort by strengthening your ability to stop the squat in that position.

Greg Everett
July 7 2017
Thanks coach for this post, i think is a good tool for complete my trainning with crossfit.

Do you reccomend a percent to begin the cycle? for example begin at 70%, and when the cycle need, increases weight, up to 80%
Manuel - Since there are no prescribed weights, the exercises are done by feel, ideally you want to increase the weight as you go through the weeks, but you want to make sure you are sticking at weights where you can complete each set with good technique and attempt to beat the previous week's numbers. 

Alyssa Sulay
Aaron Frederick
August 14 2017
So, for each exercise is there a weight or movement progression? Should I Start my C+J 5x2+1 at the bar, add a little then a little more, then start the 5 sets or just slap 145lbs on and go to town? This isn't very clear...
Aaron - Since this starter program is weight by feel, you will warm up to a comfortable weight that you are able to complete the prescribed number of sets with each rep scheme. Then, ideally, increase the weight for each exercise as the weeks go on. You can find more information in the description of the program here.

Alyssa Sulay
William Bullard
August 23 2017

My question(s) concern whether to do this program, or step into one of your others.

Background: Age 48 (49 in Nov), CrossFit since 2013, with a 1-ish year hiatus due to a torn rotator cuff (repaired and healed, very little limitation, can jerk what I can clean). Other standard getting old creaks and BS, otherwise, excellent overall health.

Recent Work: For the past three or four months, I've been following your "Simplest OLY Program in the World" working 3 days / week, rep ranges 60-80 / workout between lifts, pulls, squats and accessory work. I do some skill/core-focused EMOM after most lifting sessions, and 2-3 met-cons (standard CF class) / week. I usually work / build intensity for 3-4 weeks before taking a de-load week (no more than 15 reps at 60% per lift, scale met-cons way back).

I want to take some time and focus on O-Lifting, because my strength far outstrips my technical ability.

Based on the above, would you still recommend doing this starter program before moving into one of your others, if for no other reason to get used to the number of days lifting / week? I know that masters normally shouldn't train as often as younger folks, but if I'm going 5-6 days per week between lifting and CF, my gut tells me I should be able to hold down 4-5 lifting days a week, with a commensurate reduction (or even elimination/near elimination, for a while) of CF work.

Thanks in advance,

November 2 2017
I can't train more than 3 times a week because of my studies, I was wondering if I should use this program to enter in the weightlifting or use the template of 3 days per week.
Luhan - you can use this program to start with, but re-arrange the exercises so that it can fit into 3 days/week, What you can do is spread out the exercises listed on Thursdays to the other training days. 

Alyssa Sulay
December 4 2017
Hi Greg,

I am in an awkward position, maybe you can help.

Basically the only way I can do weightlifting is through CrossFit.

Due to me living in a small town, I am quite lucky to even have anyone around who knows what a Snatch and Clean & Jerk is!

Unfortunately this CF gym doesn't have a lot of Open gym time, or else I could simply use that time.

I want to stick to the starter program and really focus on the lifts. But I am struggling to workout a way I can make it work around my schedule and not have to cut out too much that will basically nullify results?

2 Times I can absolutely guarantee times would be a Friday from 4pm to 515pm and Saturday 8am to 930am.

Can potentially throw in some squat time on a Monday eve or Thursday morning.

What are your thoughts? My goal is to but a house with room for my own gear and all would be solved, until then, I am stuck with what I have available.

All the best, and great site by the way!
Well... it's going to be tough. Nothing you do is going to be great because you're going to have to stack all of the training in 3 consecutive days. I would use my simplest template and just stack those days - Thu, Fri, Sat. You could compress it all into Fri & Sat also if needed. 

Greg Everett
Keiri Patu
December 9 2017
Loved reading your articles - I'm a newbie to lifting had some
technique training in the UK before moving to Cambodia - I found this type of training to be the most rewarding of any gym work I've done ever. So as 45 yr old female - starting out do you have any other advice on using the stater programme? Many thanks in advance.
Keiri - My advice would be just to take it one day at a time and stay patient with it. Do each set by feel and make it a goal to beat the previous week's numbers. Good luck with your training and keep having fun with it!

Alyssa Sulay
Chris Cole
February 2 2018
Hi, I'm 35 and won't to start lifting. I've been looking for a beginner program but the problem is because of family and work commitments am only able to train 2 times a week. Is it feasible to run this program but split each week over 2? That would then turn it into an 8 week block.
It's definitely better than nothing.

Greg Everett
February 9 2018
Hi Greg,

I have been following this program above and had one question. What do you recommend for lifters that are having issues Jerking from the front rack? I have a pain in my right shoulder even Jerking the bar. I can Jerk behind the neck fine with no pain. I am currently cleaning the weight and racking it and then doing a jerk behind the neck.

What do you recommend for exercises, and or stretches to allow me to Jerk from the front.

I am still a beginner so I don't know if it's technique or a muscle imbalance. Most likely a combination of both.

Hang from pull-up bar with feet supported on a box and pelvis curled forward like you're doing a crunch; presses with empty bar to make that movement routine and help find the proper pain-free motion; hold bar in jerk grip behind the neck like for a back squat and lift and reach elbows up and forward to stretch shoulders. And if it persists, you need to find a medical pro to figure out what's going on.

Greg Everett
March 31 2018
What program follows the starter program. I’m new to Olympic lifts and planning on doing this starter program. My question is once I have completed this 4 week program what would be the best program to follow after this to keep progressing at the lifts?
Riq - there isn't one specific program that follows the starter program. It is completely up to you. However, I would recommend the classic cycle, the basic rep cycle, or the 8 week general cycle after you complete the starter prlgram and establish some numbers for your lifts. 

Alyssa Sulay
April 2 2018
Hi there! Does your 12 week basic cycle include accessory work? Thank you!
Laurel - It does not have accessory work included, but you are more than welcome to add in your own. 

Alyssa Sulay
April 16 2018
When doing the 2+1 clean and jerk should the clean be a squat clean or power clean depending on the weight?
Adrian - It will always be a full clean unless specified otherwise. 

Alyssa Sulay
May 28 2018
Hi I'm new to Ol wl. We don't have cross fit gym with bumper plates in out town but i started Starter program with 220cm barbell and small fitness plates. Can I countine with doing that or thats not good for tecnique because bar isn't at right height? I'm novice today I did first snatch workout and it was 35 kg, should I countine with training with basic barbell or should I buy oly bar and plates first?
MD - If you do not have the larger training plates available, you can either set up some blocks to get the bar to the correct hight, or perform the lifts from a low hang position below the knee. Training with an olympic bar and trainign plates do make things a bit easier, if that is available. 

Alyssa Sulay
Mark Van Dompseler
June 4 2018
Been out of practice for a bit. Gonna give this a go as it looks about as straightforward as it gets.

The gym I lift at is only available in the mornings for an hour and a bit, Mon-Fri.

I may need to break it up to Mon/Tues/Thurs/Fri. Probably not ideal, but I am attentive to my recovery and sleep.

I've asked to come in Saturdays but as of now I cannot as there are too many CF classes scheduled (only place I can O lift near me; owner opens early for me at 6am; evenings aren't possible).

Is amending the days going to render this block ineffective? If so, I'll beg to come in Saturday afternoon.

Thank you for any of your input you have time to add.

Mark - You should be able to split up the days like that, if you find that your Fridays are feeling pretty heavy or you are feeling beat up, you can see if Saturday afternoon would be a better option. 

Alyssa Sulay
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June 15 2018
Hello to every single one, it's in fact a nice for me to go to see this site, it includes valuable Information.
David Primmer
June 27 2018

Are these supposed to be touch and go reps?Can I drop the bar and rest quickly for the next rep?

Thank you,
David - These are not supposed to be touch and go reps. make sure you get set before each rep. 

Alyssa Sulay
July 1 2018
What is the optimal time between sets and reps? I.e how long should I rest between each rep. And how long should I rest between each set?

You don't want to take too mcuh time between reps, just as long as you need to get set at the bar. As far as reps between sets, 1.5-2.5 minutes. 

Alyssa Sulay
Mark Tramble
September 23 2018
Coach, my overhead strength and stability are way below my from and back squat. Would it be ok to use press variations as supplemental exercises to get those ratios closer?
Mark - I would recommend doing some strengthening and stability exercises as accessory work, which would be a good opportunity to get some press variations in.

Alyssa Sulay
Luis Fernando Hoyos Cogollo
September 30 2018
I can only work out on: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Can I do it on these days for week 1?
Luis - Yes, those days will work!

Alyssa Sulay
Luis Hoyos
September 30 2018
It's so strange for me that no one has asked about using belt. Should we use it?
Luis - Using a belt is more of a personal preference. You can use one if you feel you need it, but I would avoid it if you feel like you don't.

Alyssa Sulay
October 5 2018
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October 9 2018
Difference between for example “Clean&Jerk 5x1) and “Clean and Jerk 5x3(1+1)”
Leon - Clean&Jerk 5x1 would be 5 clean and jerk singles. When it says 5x3(1+1), that means 5 sets of 3 clean and jerks.

Alyssa Sulay
Lachlan M
October 25 2018
How should failed reps be treated in the program? If I hang snatch for 2 reps but fail to balance the second rep overhead after a good extension, pull under the bar and catch should this be treated as complete failure and repeat until I stand with bar?
Lachlan - treat it as a set and try makaing the correction on the next set. If you continue to repeat missed reps one after the other, it does't give your body a real chance to recover from the set. 

Alyssa Sulay
Amy Ann
December 14 2018
Missed lifting. Beginning this today. Thanks for the workouts!
Chris Girgis
December 19 2018
Didn't know where to post, but what happened to the Masters Program?

First session was:
Back Squat 5x3
Clean Pull 4x3
Snatch Push Press 4x5

Second was:
Snatch 5x1x75%
Power Clean + Push Jerk 4x2x75%

Right here

Greg Everett
December 22 2018
Do you have any specific ab exercises that have good carryover to Oly lifts? Thanks :)
Kevin - Most ab exercises are great for weightlifting as supplemental accessory work. One of my personal favorites would be weighted planks.

Alyssa Sulay
Ronald Durbin
January 4 2019
I didn't really see this answered anywhere previously. So what's a typical amount of time for a training session? Say Week 1, Thursday took me about 70 minutes with my long-ish warmup and a little added technique work.
Ronald - the workouts will take anyware from 1-2 hours.

Alyssa Sulay
January 19 2019
Where are the conditioning potions if you wanna condition as well?
John - A few of the older programs have small metcons included. But these programs only focus on olympic weightlifting to increase overall strength in the snatch and clean and jerk. You can add in some extra accessory work.

Alyssa Sulay
March 23 2019
Would Rows, Pullups, Bench, Dips qualify as upper body beach work ?
James - Yes, those will work!

Alyssa Sulay
April 1 2019
Hi, probably some has asked this before, but there are so many posts to read! Let say I am going to do the C&J with 70% of my PR andwe have to use the same weight for all prescribed sets of a given exercise.. how should I reach that weight? do 3 or 4 growing series before? I think that start with 70% would be not confortable!
Ciao - You want to take as many sets as you need to warm up. There is no set way to do this because it is different for everybody.

Alyssa Sulay
Gianni DeSanto
April 8 2019
Hi Greg, I had an ACL reconstruction and have patellar tendonitis and a quad imbalance due to surgery. I was wondering what your suggestion would be for fixing these issues
Really to work with a qualified PT or similar professional. Some basics would be beginning with a lot of unilateral work using slow eccentrics and plenty of cross friction massage, and gradually reintroduce bilateral squatting with light weight while continuing slow eccentrics and maintaining regular unilateral work (never stop that). Don't return to normal training until the tendinitis is gone and you've re-established strength balance.

Greg Everett
Britany Cornett
April 24 2019
I'd like to start this program up (help be more consistent with lifts) but I'm a distance runner more now than I was before (30+ miles/week, depending on the time of year). The part where it says "generally stay away from leg-intensive exercises" kind of deterred me a bit. Have you seen people who are runners succeed in still building strength?
Britany - You can still do this program, but you won't see as good of results as you would without doing leg intensive exercises on top of the program. It will still certainly help you with your lifting.

Alyssa Sulay
Haley Armstrong
May 6 2019
Which program is best suited for someone who wants to solely focus on bar path and technique?
Haley Armstrong
May 6 2019
Which program would be best suited for someone looking to focus on technique?
Haley - there are a few options. I would recommend the Risers, Waves and positions cycle. You can find that here.

Alyssa Sulay
Bethany Weaver
May 8 2019
Are sets meant to be touch and go? Or reset and go?
Bethany - you want to make sure to reset between each rep.

Alyssa Sulay
Hyunho Chae
May 26 2019
can I include low blocks and train for 4 weeks and then train from the floor? or is there a better way to include blocks or would you not include any?
Yes that's fine as long as you're also doing some kind of pulling from the floor during that 4-week period.

Greg Everett
Matthew Vu
August 1 2019
What is a recommended program after you establish your 1RM’s after this program. I looked through the programs and a lot of them seem made for intermediate+ lifters. Snatch is 55kg and clean and jerk is 81kg after my first weightlifting cycle. Squat is 125kg and front squat 104kg. Clean is 81kg. Deadlift is 150kg. I’m 77.5kg by the way
Marco Drews
October 10 2019
Hello Greg,
thanks for putting out so much useful information. I recently started weightlifting and have been engaged in somewhat of a beginner program,however where the specific olympic lifts are broken down and practiced with light weights in addition to strength work. Now being a beginner I am not entirely proficient technique wise and would you therefore recommend to ditch my current program and use your starter program in order to gain more general experience with the lifts or is there a high risk of incorperating flawed motor habits?
Greetings from Germany!
If you wait until your lifts are perfect to actually train them, you'll be waiting forever. You can start a program like this, but continue with your drills/practice to keep improving.

Greg Everett
Daniel Hedblom
October 21 2019
Hi Greg & Co!
I'm a weekend warrior crossfitter who understood that weightlifting should and must be my no. 1 priority for a long time coming. I do love cf but I'm willing to cut down on all the metcons and stuff in order to focus on my technique and power in weightlifting, for a longer time to come.

I'll start with this 'Starter program' and I'll try find a coach who can help. But regarding the conditioning, I still need my body to be able to have some work capacity, I still need and want it. So, with a 4 day-a week--Oly program, how much/little volume(sessions) would be appropriate to spend on metcons?

Very best regards, Daniel (from Sweden :D)
How much you can handle is totally individual. I've seen it range from only 2 short conditioning workouts/week to essentially running 2 entire training programs concurrently. Both extremes are rare (the latter more so), but in any case, you're going to have to experiment for yourself.

Greg Everett
November 9 2019
Can you confirm something for me please? The Week 1, Power Clean & Power Jerk 5 x 2(1+1). 5 sets, 2 reps ... one rep is a power clean and the other rep is a power jerk? Same question about Week 2 Power Clean & Power Jerk. Thanks
Joe - for that you will do 5 sets of Power clean + Power Jerk + Power clean + Power Jerk.

Alyssa Sulay
December 8 2019
Ok. I use translate and will be good ok?
Krithika Chandrashekhar
January 15 2020
% for each week in this program ? Whats the progression for eg starting at 65% of 1RM snatch,BS or cleans for first week and ending max out at the end of the cycle. Can you please clarify?
Kirthika - If there is no weight listed, you will work by feel, then with each following week, you will try to go heavier with each exercise to eventually work up to a max.

Alyssa Sulay
January 17 2020
Thank you for posting this starting program!
About to start week 3 and I have some questions as I won’t be able to commit to 4-5 days a week after running it through.

Is there 3 days a week program that can be followed after doing this starter program with emphasis on technique?

I’ve seen a few questions about modifying this program to 3 days a week and it seems doable but not optimal by removing Thursday and adding the OHS to another day. But then on week 3 and 4 Thuesdays are added, should it just be skipped and keep Monday, Wednesday and Saturday as is with OHS added on one day?

And a more general question, I’m new to olympic lifting and I’ve noticed that I can’t squat as much as i used to doing them this late in the workout. Should I back off a bit on the pulls to be able to squat more?
This is the only 3-day program I have on here, and you'd have to make the emphasis whatever you wanted.

As far as you squatting question goes, no, you don't need to squat first. Clearly that's your strong point, which means you need to put more energy into the newer things. If your pull is really strong, i.e. significantly stronger than your squat, you can do your squats before your pulls.

Greg Everett
June 28 2020
Hi Greg and co. I am a student and my student job schedule change from month to month. So i am wondering can i change schedule of workouts to fit in my schedule (i.e. Monday-Tuesday-Thuersday-Friday) and not make myself overtrained or cause some injury or slow down recovery time ? I have issues mostly with that saturday training haha. Thanks in advance for answer and all best.
August 10 2020
Hi, can I do this program for a longer period, not just 4 weeks? For example, do 1 cycle, take a deload week and then do the cycle again and just keep doing that?
Kylo - Yes! You can absolutely do that.

Alyssa Sulay
August 27 2020
Hi, I purchased your Olympic Weightlifting for Sports Book. Is there a spreadsheet for the 12-week sample program?
Mahdi Roohnikan
November 1 2020
This program fits my schedule and restrictions perfectly. What would be another one after this with similar structure? Does it make sense to run this multiple times?
Ryan Stafford
November 7 2020
This looks like a really great starting point. I’ve been involved in CrossFit for years and have never really gotten the hang of Oly lifts the way other folks in my gym have. Thank you so much for making this information available for free. I can’t wait to start my next program or join up with the Train Heroic stripped team!
Corey Allen
December 3 2020
what does this mean? Power Clean & Power Jerk – 5 x 2(1+1)
I understand its 5 sets of 2 but the parenthesis is throwing me off
Corey - it means you would do 2 power clean + power Jerks - so you would read it like this: 5 x 2(Power clean + Power Jerk)

Alyssa Sulay
Jeremiah Corrigan
May 2 2021
Are the two starter programs on Train Heroic the same as in the book? Just wondering if there is any extra value in purchasing them if I already have the book?
Guido Ansem
May 10 2021
Hey coach,

I was thinking about running this program for a couple of weeks to get back into shape after a long covid layoff (4 months, no training). I want to adjust weights based on feel as you suggested in one of your vids. I also was planning on doing back squats 3 x 5 on Monday and Friday, increasing every session with 3 kg similar to a starting strength approach.

Do you have any thoughts on this? Would you recommend sticking with front squats on Fridays?
Guido - I would recommend doing the program as written - BUT if you want to do the back squats as well - I would do them on day 1 and day 3 of the program so you still get the two days of front squatting in.

Alyssa Sulay
Zach Clemens
September 27 2021
Greg, would this be a good program for an intermediate lifter that hasn’t trained in 4+months? I’ve totaled 300 at the peak of my strength
Zach - this would be good to get back into it for sure.

Alyssa Sulay