Optimal Team Programming

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Optimal Team Programming

Two day ago, our gym had the honor of being filmed by FloElite crew with Harbinger Fitness. You will find out more when the episode drops, but there was one question that really made me excited to answer. The whole team was training, and one of the Harbinger athletes asked me what kind of program did the team follow. As I looked around, I realized that most everyone had a personalized program. This has been a goal of mine since I was at MDUSA.

I didn’t realize until the question was asked that Don and I had realized that goal. A couple of people were doing similar things, but almost everyone had their own program. Why is that important? It’s because no two athletes are alike, and they each need a different stimulus to excel. Let’s look at a few case studies:

Tori Brady- this is probably my favorite because Tori is such a tough athlete. She’s probably the toughest athlete in the room. She came to us already a pretty good athlete, but she definitely needed the help of both Don and me. Her technique needed addressing first, and that’s exactly what Don did. She came to us with an 85k Snatch and a 103k Clean & Jerk, and now about 8-months later she’s at 100k and 120k.


That’s a 33k overall improvement in just 8-month. The biggest issue has been figuring out the total volume required to stimulate a strength adaptation. This most recent program asked her to perform volume that I have never before prescribed to anyone. For example she performed 20-rep squats during the first 4-week block. However that was just a small portion of the work that she put in. Here’s a sample week:

Day 1 Week 1
Snatch 65% 1×3, 75% 2×2, 80% 2×1 (3 sec pause in catch), 85% 1×1
Back Squat 2×20 start with 65%
DB Lunges 3x12ea leg
Unilateral RDLS 3x8ea
Pull-Ups 3xsubmaximal

Day 2
Back Squats 5RM with 3 sec pause ea rep at a 7RPE (focus on recovery)
Push Presses 5RM, then -10% for 2×5
KB Bat Wing Rows 3 x 10 with 2 sec paused
KB Upright Rows 3 x 10 eccentric slower than concentric
Sled Drags forwards 4 x 25 yards
Sled Drags Backwards 4 x 25 yards

Day 3
Clean & Jerk 65% 1×3, 75% 2×2, 80% 2×1 (3 sec pause in catch), 85% 1×1
Front Squat 8RM, then -10% x8, and then -15% for 8+
Clean Deadlift Paused at mid shin 5RM(1st 2 reps paused 3 sec), then -10% for 2×5 not paused
DB Leg Curls 3×10

Day 4
OH Squat Variation Max Effort 1RM with 5 sec pause, then -20% for 2×3 reps not paused
Unilateral Farmers Walk 3×40 yd ea hand
Plate Around the Worlds 3 x 8 ea direction
Band Pull Throughs 3 x 15
Plate T-Spine Flexion/Extension 3×10 with 3 sec pauses

Day 5
Snatch Max Effort 3 Position Snatch Max 8 RPE no misses
Clean & Jerk Max Effort Clean x 1, Front Squat x 3, and Jerk Max
Front Squats 1RM with 5 second Pause, then -15% for 3
Clean Pulls 95% 3×3

Day 6
Back Squat 5×5 start at 75% last set is 5+
Rear Leg Elevated Split Squats 3x10ea leg
Strict Presses 10RM, then -10% for 2×10
DB Cleans 3×15
Zercher Carries 3×40 yards

As you can see this was just an all out assault on her quads and core. A lot of people constantly talk posterior chain, and I believe that this is the most overused term in strength and conditioning. I am noticing more and more athletes with weak quads and weak torsos. I mean Tori can deadlift 418lb without a belt and without a warm up. The whole team saw it, and I posted the video. Her posterior chain isn’t weak. It was her quads that needed addressing, and that’s what we did.

Frank Volrath- Frank is an athlete that could be guilty of paralysis by analysis, and that’s ok. He will one day be a great coach because of this. He needs to understand every angle and every movement of the lift. Don put him on a workout that was medium volume, low intensity, and focused on the movements. The workout broke down the lifts into their individual parts. He didn’t go very heavy until when it counted, and the result was a massive 5 for 6 performance with huge PRs in the snatch, clean and jerk, and total.

Morgan McCullough- well first off he’s only 13-years-old, so things are going to be quite different. We are trying to stay somewhere between 7-9 rate of perceived exertion. The goal is to focus on technique and movement. We also want to develop his general physical preparedness, so that he is prepared for the next 15-years of competition. Here’s a sample of his workout:

Day 1 Week 1
Warm Up with Jerk Press from split 25% x3, 35% 2 x3
Clean & Jerk 50% x 3, 60% x 3, 70% 2×3, 77% x 2, 82% x 1, 85% x1
No Hook and No Feet Clean 65% for 2×3, 75% 2×2, work to max single no misses
High Bar Back Squat with Belt 5RM(1st rep paused 3 sec), then -10% not paused for 2×5 (last set is 5+)
BB Elevated Hip Thrusts 3×8
Upper Muscular Imbalance Work 1 1a. Weighted Push-Ups 3×10
1b. KB Bat Wing Rows 3×10 w 2 sec pause

Day 2
Warm Up with OH Squat Variations 2 Snatch Grip Push Presses & 1 OH Squat work up to 75% of Snatch
Snatch 50% x 3, 60% x 3, 70% 2×3, 77% x 2, 82% x 1, 85% x1
Snatch from High Blocks (Power Position) 3RM(no misses 8 RPE), then -10% for 2×3
Front Squat with Belt 1RM paused 5 seconds, then -20% for 3 not paused
Snatch Pulls 95% for 3×3 with a 6 sec eccentric
Core Muscular Imbalance 1 1a. OH Carries Axle

Optional Cardio, GPP, HIIT

Day 3
Front Squat 3RM(1st rep paused 3 sec), then -10% for 2×3 no pause & last set 3+
Jerk from Block work Paused 3 sec in dip and catch 1RM, then -20% for 2×2
Push Presses 5RM, then -10% for 2×5
Clean Deadlift Paused at mid shin 5RM(1st 2 reps paused 3 sec), then -10% for 2×5 not paused
Upper Muscular Imbalance 2
2a. Chest to Bar Pullups 3 x submaximal reps
2b. Dips 3 x submaximal reps
2c. KB High Pulls 3 x 10 reps (lower slower than you pull up)

Day 4
Snatch Max Effort 3 Position Snatch Max
Clean & Jerk Max Effort Clean x 1, Front Squat x 2, and Jerk x 2 Max
OH Squat Variation Max Effort 1RM with 5 sec pause, then -20% for 3 reps not paused
Unilateral Farmer’s Carry 4 x 30 yd ea arm

Day 5
Back Squat with Belt 10RM, then -10% for 2×10
Jerk Recoveries 5RM, then -10% for 5
Strict Presses 10RM, then -10% for 2×10
BB Lunges 3 x 8 ea leg 8 RPE
Unilateral RDLs 3x8ea leg

You will notice some similarities between Morgan’s and Tori’s workouts, but there will be some obvious differences as well. There is a lot more emphasis on the movements of the Olympic lifts in Morgan’s workout. Tori’s workout is definitely focused on strength and hypertrophy. Morgan has a lot more developing to do before that becomes a focus.

Lately he has been complimented on social media for his improvements in technique, which is music to my ears. That’s the number one focus right now, and it’s paying off. He’s probably going to open at the American Open with well above the American Records in both the Snatch and Clean & Jerk.

In June at the Youth Nationals Morgan Snatched 79k and Clean & Jerked 109k(Clean & Jerk was the American Record). In training he has now Snatched 95k and Clean & Jerked 123k. That’s a 30k total improvement, and that’s with us being conservative.

The point of this article is to show all of you coaches the importance of individuality. Programs can look similar, but they should reflect the individual’s needs. Some people need:

• Hypertrophy, strength, and GPP
• Technique, movement prep, and posterior chain
• Low volume, high intensity, and high frequency
• Some other combination

It is our jog to come up with the perfect fit for them. I know that time can be an issue, but we all know that there is time if we want to find it. If you want to create a great team, then find the time. I hope that this article helps to make your team greater than ever.

The “Mash Elite Program Sampler” has dropped. For only $49 you will receive 8 Programs that I have used and still use to make my athletes incredible. I hope that you will enjoy it, and I hope that you know that your purchase is appreciated. It’s also helping Olympic hopeful athletes reach their ultimate dream.

Thank You from all of us at Mash Elite Performance and Mash Mafia Weightlifting and Powerlifting!

The “Mash Elite Program Sampler” is 8 Complete Programs (3 weightlifting, 1 powerlifting, 1 hybrid super total, 1 athletic performance, 1 speed development, and 1 functional and metabolic fitness). This book is for you! All proceeds will go towards helping our team get to the American Open and take one step closer to their Olympic Dream. Check it out now:

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