The Programme

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”  Mark Twain

The following program will be repeated for two weeks


1. Squat.
– whatever version of the Russian squat cycle you are on – do it!

2. Hang power snatch + below the knee hang snatch + TNG snatch
2.1 Establish a daily max in the complex.
2.2 Drop down to 90% and do three additional sets.
2.3 Drop down to 60% and do thirty TNG snatches. You have to start each set with a hang power snatch + below the knee hang snatch. Not just in the very first set but after breaking up and starting a new set you have to do it, too!

3. Snatch Pulls
3.1 Five sets of three reps at 110% of your 1RM snatch.
3.2 Three sets of five reps done as TNG at 80% of your 1RM snatch.




– whatever version of the Russian squat cycle you are on – do it!

2. Heavy DT
Time cap: 20 minutes.

Male weight: 93.
Female weight: 65.
– scale as needed.

Rest for five minutes after either completing Heavy DT or reaching the time cap.

3. DT
Time cap: 10 minutes.

Male weight: 70.

Female weight: 47,5.
– scale as needed.


1. Squat. 

– whatever version of the Russian squat cycle you are on – do it!


2.OHS Complex
Performed with an empty barbell; two sets of five reps in the three different versions. These are: (1) down slow, up fast, without pause in the bottom position; (2) down slow, up fast but with a three second pause in the top- and bottom position; (3) 1,5’s. No pause in the bottom position but a pause in the top between reps.


3. Snatch warm-up f. the ground
Two sets of threereps in A, B, C, D, E. Be sure to use a large plate, and not the small metal plates, to get the right distance from the floor. Three seconds pause in the starting position and in the in the overhead position of the muscle snatches, the catch position in C, D and in the bottom position of the full snatch.

A. Snatch Pulls.
B. Muscle Snatch.
C. Power Snatch.
D. Deep Power Snatch.
E. Snatch with a three second pause in the bottom position.


Draw a line with chalk and make sure that you are not jumping forward. Don’t check the line as you land but when you are in the top position. First you lift, then you check.

Notice that this week has five reps and not three reps in the snatch warm-up. Take slightly longer breaks and be sure not to let the lower back cramp up.

Last week I introduced a three second pause in the starting position and we will continue on that theme. The idea here is to improve the mobility of the starting position. Most of us are unable to have sufficient posture in the starting position and as a result generate less power in the pull phase.

The execution is simple: you find your starting position, hold it for three seconds with as much posture as possible and start pulling without any positional corrections.
Understand that added posture of the upper body should not change the angle. Said differently: don’t lean back the upper body as you try to improve your posture in the starting position.


4. Snatch
4.1 Max out in singles.
4.2 Drop down to 80% and max out again.


5. Clean & Jerk (squat clean + split jerk)

5.1 Max out in singles.
5.2 Drop down to 90% and do five additional sets of singles.
5.3 Drop down to 80% and do three additional sets of doubles. First do the cleans and then the two jerks.

5.4 Drop down to 50% and do one set of max-reps clusters.


1.Narrow Grip OHS Complex

Performed with an empty barbell; two sets of five reps in the three different versions. These are: (1) down slow, up fast, without pause in the bottom position; (2) down slow, up fast but with a three second pause in the top- and bottom position; (3) 1,5’s. No pause in the bottom position but a pause in the top between reps.

Do the first set with a grip only slightly narrower than your snatch grip. Try to use a progressively narrower grip in each set. If the bar goes forward, if you bend your arms or if it actually hurts instead giving a good stretch you know that the grip was too narrow.


2. Sots press.
Five sets of five reps performed with an empty barbell, with snatch grip and with a three second pause overhead. It is not uncommon to have difficulties with this exercise in the beginning, especially if you are struggling with overhead mobility and/or are weak. Don’t be afraid to scale to a lighter bar.
Technical advice: Keep your upper body as vertical as possible and be in good balance throughout the set. Be sure not to go too deep in the bottom position if you don’t feel comfortable. Start high and gradually go lower rep for rep and set for set.

3. Split jerk
3.1 Establish a 2RM in split jerk.
3.2 Do three additional sets of two split jerks at 90%.

 4. Deadlift

No straps, no belts. Use mix grip. I want you to use your strongest mix grip in the first set, the weakest mix grip in the second set and alternate for every rep in the third/last set.

You have to lower the barbell slowly and explode on the way up. I do not want you to smash the plates into the ground on every rep. Control is key. Make sure that your upper body is slightly tilted forward in the top and the hips neutral not opened. Forget about the hips and focus instead of stretching your legs while keep a slight upper body tilt in the top.

4.1 Ten reps, touch and go, strongest mix-grip.

4.2 Ten reps, touch and go, weakest mix-grip.

4.3 Ten reps, alternating between weakest and strongest mix grip, lift the bar and then drop it down.


– My deadlift sessions are always a part of an ongoing cycle. If this is your first time doing it you chose a weight, which you could do 20-30 reps on. You pick a light weight. Every week the weight increases with 2-10 kilos depending on the person. Late into the cycle many weeks from now when you begin to approach failure you simply restart the cycle on a light weight with the stated goal of finishing that second cycle on a heavier weight than the first.



The deeper you get into the deadlift cycle the less importance is given to the last two sets. As soon as you get to the point where it is not easy to do the three sets anymore, lets say half-way into the cycle or so, you should begin to lower the weight of set 2 and 3. In the end of the cycle it’s all about that one heavy set. You can either skip the two additional sets entirely or you can decrease the weight substantially.



Squatting update!


Fellow gangstas,

You now have two options. If you are currently following the Russian squat cycle and wish to complete it, or if you haven’t tried it out yet but wish to do so, by all means do it. If you have already experienced progress from doing one cycle, I recommend you do another. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

However, if you feel it is time to try something new I have designed the following squat program build on the first three weeks of the Russian squat program but incorporating both front squats and back squats in the same cycle.


W1: FS 6×2 reps, BS 6×3 reps, FS 6×2 reps W2: BS 6×4 reps, FS 6×2 reps, BS 6×5 reps
W3: FS 6×2 reps, BS 6×6 reps, FS 6×2 reps

1 deload week

W1: BS 6×2 reps, FS 6×3 reps, BS 6×2 reps W2: FS 6×4 reps, BS 6×2 reps, FS 6×5 reps
W3: BS 6×2 reps, FS 6×6 reps, BS 6×2 reps

BS: 80% of your 1RM FS: 80% of your 1RM


If you don’t know what your 1RM is you need to take a day to max out. I strongly recommend that you keep the weight conservative. It’s preferable to have the squat cycle being a bit too light rather than a bit too heavy.

After completing the cycle it is not required to max out. You can simply add five kilos to your 1RM, recalculate and start the cycle all over again.

In every session you are allowed to max out in singles either before or after doing the work-sets. You are allowed to but you don’t have to.


(old post) Squatting in the program – taking a new approach!

Many of my students have had great results following the Russian Squat Cycle. We are going to integrate that into the program in the following way:

  1. Follow the link posted below and type in the weight that you know you can back squat on any given day – especially on a bad day!
  1. You now have three squat sessions to do on a weekly basis. You decide yourself when to add them but make sure that you are not squatting two days in a row. Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday is a good idea.
  1. As you get farther into the cycle and some of the sessions end up being very demanding, I want you to start the session with the squats and do the weightlifting – or whatever else you had on your program – afterwards. The squat cycle is first priority and you need to be ready for it.