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Train squat day every day

Trainiere Kniebeugentag jeden Tag

If your family was kidnapped and you were told that you had to increase your maximum squat weight by 50 kilos within 2 months or your family would be executed, would you only do squats once a week? Something tells me you would start training squats every day. Trainers in other countries have that attitude, but Americans don't.

- John Broz

John Broz lives and breathes Olympic weightlifting. For three years, Broz worked with Antonio Krastev, a Bulgarian super heavyweight who snatched 216 kg in 1987 - a world record that is no longer recognized because the IWF restructured its weight classes.

Krastev introduced Broz to the legendary Bulgarian system, who eventually opened a small Olympic weightlifting training facility in Las Vegas.

Broz produced some absolute freaks in a very short period of time, including 20-year-old Pad Mendez, who was Broz's best student.

The Broz Method

After reading about the Broz Method for several hours and diligently taking notes, I visited his training facility. In this article, I will attempt to summarize his views succinctly.

The Broz Olympic Weightlifting Methodology

John believes that everyone can and should train every day. He has his trainees start immediately with daily heavy squats and technical Olympic training with an empty barbell.

Over the course of a year, his trainees work their way up to 13 training sessions per week - twice a day from Monday to Saturday and once on Sundays. The morning training sessions last between 45 and 120 minutes and the evening training sessions between three and four hours, which adds up to around five hours of training with weights per day.

The Broz method of Olympic weightlifting includes only six exercises, snatch, deadlift and clean and jerk, power snatch, power deadlift, classic squat and front squat. Each of the 13 training sessions includes heavy squats - either classic squats or front squats. There are usually three exercises per session and between 30 and 50 total repetitions per exercise (including warm-up).

Each training session includes a specific warm-up for several minutes, with squats performed either with the empty bar or a bar with up to 50 kilos of additional weight, depending on the trainee, followed by a work-up to 1RM for each exercise of the training session.

In terms of effort, this 1RM weight is no different from the 1RM weight during competition, but depending on the day, it may be slightly lower. Each exercise comprises a true pyramid scheme. Exercisers start with sets of two repetitions, work up to single repetitions as the weight increases, and then move back to sets of two or even three repetitions (only for squats, not the classic Olympic weightlifting exercises) with lighter weights after the max attempts.

Around six maximum attempts are made in the snatch, while two to three maximum attempts are made in the deadlift. Each training session is autoregulated based on what John sees in his trainees. They have been known to occasionally deviate from the routine and perform up to 50 max attempts on a particular exercise, such as the snatch, before finishing their workout.

Additional training

At Broz's training facility, you won't see fascia rolls or anything similar being used. Nor will you see exercisers performing specific stretching or flexibility exercises. Nor will you see core stability exercises, activation exercises or corrective exercises unless you have an injury.

There will also be no support exercises such as pull-ups, dips, push-ups, rowing, shoulder crunches, good mornings, lunges, hip thrusts, hyperextensions, reverse hypers or glute ham raises.

Last but not least, no other exercises in the style of Olympic weightlifting exercises such as snatches from a hanging position, pulls from a rack, high pulls or jump shoulder raises are performed, and you will not find exercises such as jump squats, plyometric training or training with the weight sled.

Supplementary exercises are performed from time to time - e.g. bicep curls to help heal the elbow. But support exercises in the style of Olympic weightlifting exercises such as snatches from a hanging position are never used.

How you feel is a lie

This phrase is Broz's mantra. You simply cannot listen to your body because it is lying to you. Broz can give you countless examples of athletes who have set personal bests on days when they didn't even want to train, while there are just as many examples of athletes who felt like they were at their absolute best but then weren't able to put in any significant training effort.

When I visited Broz, he told me that he had had so much pain in his wrist the previous week that he had barely managed to warm up. But he went through with his warm-up training anyway, was finally warmed up enough and ended up lifting 200 kilos. The next day, his wrist pain had disappeared.

He describes this phenomenon as "flowing pain" - your body must hurt somewhere. This pain will simply move from one place to another while you sleep, and when you wake up, you will see where it has landed.

There is no such thing as overtraining

Broz believes that there is no such thing as being overtrained - the most you can be is undertrained.

If you have a job as a bin man and you have to heave heavy garbage cans all day, the first day is probably going to be very hard and almost impossible for someone who isn't used to it. So what do you do? Do you go on sick leave for 3 days and risk losing your job?

No, you would drag your aching, sore body to work the next day. You would hang your head and be exhausted and less energetic than the day before, but you would force yourself to get through the day. Then you'd drive home, take a hot bath, pop a few aspirin, etc. And the next day would be even worse.

But eventually you'll be running down the street, throwing trash cans around and making jokes with your coworkers. How can this happen? You forced your body to adapt to the new demands! If you can't do heavy squats and train heavy every day, then you're not overtrained, you're undertrained! Could some random person on the street come into the gym with you and do your exact workout? Probably not, because they are undertrained. The same is true for most exercisers when you compare them to elite athletes.

- John Broz 2002

Maximizing performance

To maximize performance before a competition, Broz maintains the same frequency (daily training) while reducing volume and intensity. The reduction in volume begins eight days before the competition and the reduction in intensity begins 2 to 5 days before the competition.

Broz's powerlifting methodology

John has described how his methods can be adapted for those training for a powerlifting competition. He uses the same method with 13 weekly training sessions and each training session includes squats and speed pulls( with loads of up to 80% of the 1RM weight for deadlifts.

His trainees bench press three times a week and attempt maximum repetitions of deadlifts every 6 to 8 weeks. Some rowing and posterior shoulder training is in order to balance out the structural demands placed on the upper body by the heavy bench press.

Other pearls from Broz

The following is a collection of Broz's views:

  • Beginners should start with a broomstick for 3 to 4 weeks and perform thousands of repetitions to internalize the technique in Olympic weightlifting exercises.
  • Classic squats have a transfer to the snatch, while front squats transfer more to the deadlift. The performance of front squats is usually limited by the strength of the upper back, which is why they do not stimulate the legs sufficiently. Squats are not very demanding in terms of CNS stress and the body gets used to these demands quite quickly - it's just like running.
  • The clean and jerk is the hardest part of all Olympic weightlifting exercises.
  • Go up to your maximum weight every day for squats, whereas you should only do the same for deadlifts two to three times a year.
  • Don't do squats with the weight overhead as a separate exercise - do them as part of the snatch.
  • You will go through "dark times" during which your progress will stagnate. But at some point you will start to set personal bests in an exhausted state. This is when you will know that you are doing something right.
  • Percentages for daily programming in the long run will not work. You will never know what you will be able to do on any given day. How you feel is a lie.
  • Slow movements will not help any athlete in any sport. Performing slow movements with light weights is an absolute no-go.
  • The fastest athlete is the best athlete. Move at maximum speed every exercise, every day, every time you touch the bar.
  • The use of grip aids in the snatch is a necessity due to the high training volume. At a lower volume, grip aids are not necessary, but at a higher volume, your hands simply cannot withstand the abuse. Never use grip aids when repositioning.
  • Deadlifts put too much strain on the back and it takes too long to recover from this exercise. When performing deadlifts, do 2 to 3 sets of fast pulls at 70 to 85% of the weight.
  • Lunges are garbage and very dangerous.
  • Jumps and plyometric exercises should be left to track and field athletes. They are not for Olympic weightlifters. Save the joint stress and energy for training with weights.
  • At some point, max attempts will become something completely natural. The more often you do them, the more natural they will feel and your body will accept this. There should be a minimum number that you reach every day when you train.
  • If you don't manage to train daily then this will lead to more injuries due to the inconsistent recovery rates of different tissue types. Daily training is training with exhausted muscles. If you allow yourself training-free days, then your muscles will recover faster than the soft tissue, which will increase the risk of injury.
  • The only percentages that matter are how many days per year you train on a percentage basis. If you train three times a week, this is 43% of all days. If you train 7 days a week, then you are at 100%. If you train twice seven days a week, that's even better.
  • Forget shoulder lifts (shrugs), high pulls, etc. Forget all supportive exercises unless you want to become a master of supportive exercises. The classic exercises require immense dedication until you master them perfectly - so why waste energy on something that probably won't transfer to the important exercises anyway?
  • Don't take days off when you can train. Even if you have extremely sore muscles, go train and do something. Do squats - at least with the bar for 30 reps or so. This will help the adaptation process go faster. Anything you do is better than sitting on the couch.
  • The strength athlete who can tolerate the most pain will be the most successful. This is the most important piece of advice in this entire article.
  • If you train twice a day, you won't tense up too much and therefore won't need much stretching. Stretching is done during the warm-up by performing Olympic weightlifting exercises with a bar for 2 to 5 minutes at the beginning of a training session.
  • It takes a beginner between two and ten months to develop proper technique, with an average of six months.
  • If you start to lag behind other exercises in the snatch or deadlift, train the weaker exercise first. Change the order and focus your energy on the weaker exercise.
  • Hold the bar in the highest position for 3 to 5 seconds for each overhead exercise. This builds core strength and confidence.
  • If you wait for a day to train when you feel good, then you will train about twice a year. Your mind is playing games with you. Learn to ignore it and keep training.
  • You certainly won't set personal bests at every training session - sometimes not for months. Keep trying to increase intensity and volume to make further progress. If you can't chop the tree down in one stroke, keep taking smaller strokes and eventually the tree will fall.
  • You should save repositioning and snatching from a hanging position for competitions from a hanging position. I have never seen such a competition, but if you find one, these exercises will be good for it.

My favorite aspects of the Broz system

Each exercise has its own rules

Different exercises place different loads on the body. So why should the volume be the same for all exercises? In most cases, snatches are less demanding than deadlifts and clean and jerks, which is why the Broz program includes more volume with snatches. Maximum daily squats are not a problem, but daily squats with maximum weights are too demanding. This is why the Olympic weightlifting exercises and speed pulls are used daily.

Work capacity increases every few months

Although there may be extended times when strength stagnates or even declines, the general goal is to slowly increase your daily max weights every few months. For example, if your daily squat max is 175 kilos and you can increase it to 200 kilos over the course of a year, then you will obviously be much stronger. There's not much guesswork here - you're either stronger or you're not!

Always train in an exhausted state

You always give it your all, but if you're exhausted then the weight on the bar will be less. The effort and desire will mimic the competition, but as you will be fresher and more recovered at a competition, the weight on the bar will be higher. The struggle with a max weight is the same regardless of the actual load. This is the key to this system: learning to fight at a maximum weight. If you rest before a competition, you won't get stronger - you'll just finally be able to maximize all your strength on the day.

Personal bests can be achieved at any time during training. Resting and gathering your strength before a competition allows you to assume that you can achieve your personal best on a given day and lets you shuffle the cards to give yourself the best chance of success.

Broz knows

Of course, you could argue that Broz's methods aren't the safest way to train, but you can't deny the strength and power producing effects that these methods have. Broz has some impressive athletes training under his guidance and their results speak for themselves.

If your goal is to become as strong as possible in Olympic weightlifting, then you should definitely consider Broz's method. Broz's powerlifting system is also worth serious consideration. There are plenty of exercisers who simply respond better to a higher training frequency.

The human body is an adaptable organism. Push yourself to the limit. You are stronger than you think.

By Bret Contreras


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