At some point, you need to be honest with yourself.

Sometimes it’s about goals. Sometimes it’s about the extent to which you will push yourself to attain them. Sometimes it’s just admitting that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. These kinds of honesty – which I would say are actually rare, and more often used to disguise the fear I generally rail against – can be painful because they may involve admitting that you simply aren’t as good as you thought. It’s a serious blow to the ego to not only have to drop 5kg off a planned work weight, but to modify a workout halfway through because your jerk fails, just doesn’t feel good. It’s especially frustrating to remember the days of 10-minute clean and jerk EMOMs and realize I couldn’t start one of those and expect to finish safely. Every excuse I can come up with, kind of falls short against the simple fact that trying to jerk 60kg in a tired state nearly caused me a serious injury. The lift is probably going to have to stay out of programming for a while – at least until I can rebuild my shoulder stability and hip power.

It was unrealistic to walk after a couple of weeks without power work and expect my Olympic lifts to be where they were last month, let alone where they were last year when I was doing barbell work two or three times a week. I was having difficulty jumping the weight off my thighs in the clean, which indicates a drop of power that was also evidenced by my poor jerk attempt. Part of it, I’m sure, is due to my degraded technique, but the power issue is probably more important. With my changing schedule, it’s unclear how much time I’ll have to rebuild the base I developed over the last couple of years.

Knowing where I am, though, is extremely useful. It helps that the Olympic lifts are brutally honest about any deficiencies you may have – if you can’t jerk 65kg, you’ll know instantly. There’s no way to disguise it from anyone, let alone yourself. Every truth – no matter how depressing or seemingly insignificant – is crucial to proper programming towards your goals. With a clear end in mind and a good understanding of how to progress, it becomes easier to decide what, how, and when to train and progress.

If you want to get better at the Olympic lifts, you need to realize just where you are. There’s no way around the fact that you need to be working more with barbells and progressing in weights; technique and power take time to develop (or re-develop, as the case may be).

Honesty must overcome ego. Ego can drive you to achieve great things, but honesty is what lays the foundation for these acts in the first place: honesty about your capabilities, where you want them to be, and how hard you must work to close the gap.

It would be nice if life were that easy to figure out.


5min Row @ progressive pace (work to 2:00/500m)

5x10s hard / 50s recovery row

2×10 Squat

2×5 Goblet Squat @ 20-25kg

2×5 Overhead Squat @ 20kg (empty bar)

2×5 Jump Squat

Round Interval

1 round per 30s for 10min @ 60kg (i.e. 20 sets)

1x Power Clean

1x Front Squat

Back Squat Work

3x @ 85kg

2x @ 90kg

1x @ 95/100/105kg

5×3 @ 90kg / 90s rest


One round per minute for 10min (i.e. 10 sets)

I started at 40kg, but bumped it to 50kg halfway through.

1x Power Clean

1x Hang Clean

1x Front Squat


5×25 Seated Calf Raise @ 85kg

Stretch to cool down and be sad


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