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5 Barbell and Strength Training Programs to Get Seriously Strong


Who is it suitable for?

Beginners. The program is simple, reflecting John’s reductive approach to training. It describes the methodology as essentially ‘Bulgarian’ meaning that the lifter focuses on the competition lifts and squatting to max.

First the back squat is mastered at which point the clean is introduced, followed by the snatch. Once the lifts are learned, the athlete performs the snatch, clean & jerk, military press and front squat every day three days a week.

Dmitry Klokov with a Split Jerk Barbell liftSource: BOXROX
Klokov the beast


The rep scheme is equally non-complicated – eight sets of doubles for the snatch and 8 sets of doubles for the clean & jerk. Weights used should be as much as the lifter can handle and maintain good technique, with small increases each session so long as form remains consistently good.

dan john strength trainingSource: alltheheavylifting
Breakdown of the structure

The strength training program highlights front squatting but assumes the ability to perform a deep back squat. Front squats are done for five sets of five and loading follows the same progression scheme as the Olympic lifts, though could be modified to a volume/intensity model depending on the lifter’s level. Presses are performed for five sets of three.

The strength training program can be done for as long as the lifter continues to make progress, though it is possible that some beginners may crave more variety sooner rather than later. But for the same reason it could get boring after a while and concentration on the lifts could sink. Also the missing back squats are something a CrossFitter should not face at value.

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