Hungarian Weightlifting Program Update

Last week I wrote about the start of my Hungarian influenced 9 week Olympic weightlifting training program. This week, I started week 2, which it won’t come as any surprise, is harder than week 1! Even my coach from Crossfit Manchester said: “This is really hard!” which is a worrying thing to hear from Mark indeed! Anyway, here’s week 2 (only 3 days as I suspect that might be all I can make this week):

Day 1

  • Power Hang Clean – 6 sets of 3 reps at 75% = 75kg
  • High Pull of Clean – 5 sets of 3 reps at up to 100kg
  • Dead pull of Clean – 4 sets of 3 reps at up to 110kg
  • Back Squat – 6 sets of 5 reps at 75% = 112.5kg

Day 2

  • Front Squat – 5 sets of 5 at up to 80% = 97.5kg
  • 1 Power Snatch + 2 Power Hang Snatch – 5 sets of 1+2 at 70-75% = 55-57.5kg
  • 1 Power Clean + 2 Power Hang Clean – 5 sets of 1+2 at 75-80% = 75–80kg
  • 2 Split Jerk – 4 sets at up to 80% = 80kg

Day 3

  • Power Hang Snatch – 6 sets of 3 at 80% = 60kg
  • High Pull of Snatch – 5 sets of 3 at 80kg
  • Dead Pull of Snatch – 4 sets of 3 at up to 90kg
  • Front Squat – 6 sets of 5 at 82% = 100kg

After Day 1 of Week 1 nearly killed me, I’ve resorted to taking a few liberties and viewing the prescribed weights as having an implicit “work up to” built in, at least for a few weeks till I get more used to it. However I have resolved to do at least half the reps at the prescribed weight. So take day 1 for example, the: Back Squat – 6 sets of 5 reps at 75% = 112.5kg. For this I did a set each at: 80, 95, 105, and 3x 112.5 and believe me, that was hard enough!

In fact, doing Week 2, Day 1 yesterday saw my first failure. I was unable to do Power Hang Clean – 6 sets of 3 reps at 75% = 75kg. First off, I can’t seem to drop that much weight (nearly my body weight) back down to my waist and hold my grip, without wrenching my arms and doing myself an injury. So I have to drop the bar complete and re-deadlift it up into the hand position. So in effect, I was doing sets of 3 singles.

Secondly, 75kg it seems is right on the limit of what I can hang power clean. I managed to do it at 70kg (I did 2 sets here) but at 75kg I could only get one per set, and had to resort to full power cleans, or just having a good attempt. Which to be honest, was rather disappointing.

I also have a bit of a problem with this program: yes it’s damn hard work, that’s a given. But compared to the fun and variety of Crossfit, it’s also rather boring and has already become repetitive and I’m only on the 5th day! It also takes a long time too. Even a deliberately expanded Crossfit workout only takes an hour, but these workouts are consistently taking me 1 hour 45 minutes to complete. Add to that an hour’s round trip travel time, plus time to change etc and you’re looking at 3 hours per session. Perhaps I’ve been spoilt by the short sharp efficacy of exciting Crossfit work outs, and am simply not used to this kind of training. Perhaps. At the moment however, 9 weeks looks a long way away.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Giles Greenwood 30 September 2009, 3:42 pm

    Hello Colin,
    Are you sure the percentages you are using for power hang snatches aren’t supposed to be worked from your best power snatch, or power hang snatch for that matter, rather than your PB snatch as you seem to have done. It seems unlikely that many people would power hang snatch 80% of their PB snatch, let alone for multiple sets of 3 reps. Unless you just mean hang snatch, then it’s hard work, but possible. I couldn’t have done it though, but I was rubbish at hang work.
    The rest seems pretty reasonable. Training for any sport is repetetive. Practice makes perfect and all that.
    Hope you don’t mind me sticking my nose in.

  • Colin McNulty 30 September 2009, 5:55 pm

    Hi Giles, thanks very much for the feedback, it’s always appreciated (you’re not sticking your nose in at all!).

    I did question that myself, but mostly cos I’m a lazy arse and they were damn hard. To be honest, it’s hard but just about doable. That only goes to prove that I’m still technique limited, rather than strength limited, as my strength manages to cope with the high percentage. I’m sure it’s good technique practice too. I think you said before Giles, that I should do more work from the hang to get the explosiveness of the 3rd pull right.

    The proof will be in the pudding of the Northern Open in Nov. I’m hoping for PBs and a European Masters qualification, if I’m lucky!

    If you’re interested, here’s: week 3

  • Tamas Feher 15 October 2013, 11:12 am

    Giles, Colin, just found this article and your posts abut the “Hungarian WL. program update”. I am not sure where it is coming from but it looks to be some of mine I’ve published somewhere in the past (maybe in my book or some websites). So, I am totally agree that that training routine – executing like that – is killing. And believe me, it is unnecessary as well. The problem was that you’ve used it without any additional info and explanation about: 1.) the right way of definition of the current daily intensities 2.) the right set distribution 3.) other recommendations. I always publish these plans with those indispensable info and detailed explanation. Anyway you’ve tried it so that makes me feel happy 🙂 To not have any trouble like this in the future (avoiding risk of injury, overtraining, etc.) you definitely need to consider all indispensable background info. It’s not a promotion but in my new E-book (“To Plan or Not to Plan, is That the Question?” you can find more detailed explanation than ever and a complex summary of training planning in WL including “tons” of training plans for different age categories, genders, periods, etc. ( Looking forward to reading your thoughts. Thank you Guys, Tamas

  • Colin McNulty 17 October 2013, 1:21 pm

    Hi Tamas, I don’t normally allow such obvious promotional comments, but will this time.

    That programming was set by my then weightlifting coach, I don’t know where he got it from.

    How should it have been done differently?

  • Tamas Feher 19 October 2013, 3:53 pm

    Hi Colin, thank you. I am fine if you remove it, my intention was not to make free ad but I wanted to explain what kind of background info would have been used ad which is the available source for that.. If you need some detailed info (e.g. suggested et distribution, daily intensities, etc., I am happy to send it to you. Regards, Tamas

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