Are you seeking a change of pace in your regular weightlifting routine? Considering a return to the big and heavy basics? Looking to add some serious mass and strength to your frame? The quickest and most traditional method to do this would be to implement an Olympian style training methodology. It is the routine of the great physiques from centuries past – delivered through simple, heavy lifting.
Your workouts will be centered around four exercises – Snatch, Clean and Jerk, Front Squat, Barbell Press. You will select a weight which will allow you to control the weight for 4 to 8 repetitions. If you are breaking form on your first repetition, you are defeating the purpose of exercising – to train the muscle groups. At that point, your tendons are doing all the work! Your repetition range should be low. After all, you’re not too concerned with building muscle mass – you want to get strong first and let the muscle mass follow. Going for higher repetitions takes the strength aspect out of these movements, and make it more of a bodybuilding routine. You would prefer to hit those fast twitch muscle fibers which are mainly fired during the first 3 to 7 heavy repetitions of a movement.
Initially, you should train with these movements three times per week, completing 3 sets of each. These will be 3 working sets. You can use 1 to 2 warm-up sets for each of these. Stretch following your workout for 5 to 10 minutes, but keep the pre-workout stretching to a minimum in order to maintain muscle integrity. Once you have fully adapted to this routine, you can change it up to four days a week, and add some supporting movements such as barbell curls and bench press.
Your recovery factors should not be overlooked when training like an Olympian. The top lifters in the world follow the very controlled diet and sleep schedules in order to ensure they can recover from the rigors of training and maintain their current levels of muscle and strength, while at the same time adding new muscle and strength. While your lifts are not as heavy as theirs, and your goals might not be as lofty, there is no rule that says you can not follow very disciplined eating, sleeping, and other recovery factor rules in order to help your own progress move as quickly As possible.
Keep an eye out for injuries. Any small tweaks or ‘pings’ that happens should be dealt with immediately in order to ensure that they do not grow into serious injuries which can keep you out of the gym for an extended period of time. Olympic lifting is very jarring and impactful, which makes it much tougher on the joints than lighter weight bodybuilding training. If you feel something pop or tear – or just does not feel right – you should immediately halt the workout and address the concern. The Olympian training utilizes some very heavy weights, and the ramifications of an injury can be quite serious.