Poliquin's Split

Everyone seems to agree that Mr. Poliquin is a great strength coach however, how come I’ve seen vitually no one use his training advise. Especially his training split, Chest/Back, Legs, Off Arms, Off and repeat.

Also what is the significance of the “arm day” in the split. How does this aid athletes? I’ve tried his routine before and every time I get to arm day, I usually just skip it. Endless sets of curls just seems plain pointless.

he is a very good coach, but his standard split you mentioned is essentially a bodybuilding one.
that split with arm and sholulder day can have a role in off season for sport requiring to add some muscular mass in the whole body,and also…looking at their arms getting bigger…athletes are always happy!:slight_smile:

Working the biceps and triceps should be done if your a beginner or intermediate athlete but definitely not if your an elite athlete. Also you should be training for strength not hypertrophy. Hypertrophy serves a role in the GPP phases and thats it!

new poliquin interview on t-mag…


Venom, what you must acknowledge is that for many elite athletes (football, hockey, rugby, throws, etc)
There is just cause for increases in muscle cross-section. This holds true throughout many athletes competitive careers.

Once limit and speed strength have been maximally developed, the only avenue left for increases in these to abilities is further increase in muscle cross-section.

Abilities are always in a state of either development-maintenance-or regression. Thus, in view of the latter, there will always come a point when certain abilities must undergo retraining.

Certainly, the increase in muscle cross-section must be governed when considering relative strength/power/speed, however when referencing athletes who can afford to increase (linemen, throwers, heavy weight lifters/wrestlers, etc), or are in need of redevelopment of muscle cross-section, then hypertrophy training is justified (regardless of level of classification).

Well I’ve seen guys mention using Westside/Conjugate Training and other training methods but have you guys ever seen anyone employ Charles’ methods. He’s talked about alot but I’ve yet to see anyone actually use his advise.

Well I’ve seen guys mention using Westside/Conjugate Training and other training methods but have you guys ever seen anyone employ Charles’ methods. He’s talked about alot but I’ve yet to see anyone actually use his advise.

I have used CP’s 2 on 1 off 1 on 1 off split for increasing cross-section, as well as various other set/rep schemes from Modern trends and Poliquin principles. I have used these myself (although this was 2-5 years ago) as well as for various individuals.

You must remember that although Charles outlines many different loading parameter manipulations, he has never really laid out/illustrated any sort of extended programming concepts.(at least not that I am aware of)

He is a major business man/success right now.

In regards to what he is doing currently, this is something that someone is going to have to pay for to find out.

CoolColJ digs into his folder of goodies :slight_smile:

Poliquin trained Jud Logan for a while - a world class thrower

note the slow tempo squats - duration work, almost like HIT :slight_smile:
Still a good way to increase full range strength in a quasi isometric sense

Lots of wave loading and complexing as well

I read with interest the post about the Power Clean by Charles Poliquin. He wrote a 22 week program for me that enabled me to add 40 lbs. to my power clean, which had been stuck @ 404 for 8 years. I only did actual Power Cleans from the floor in the last three weeks. I will post the exercises I did, but the key was strengthening the weak links, icluding the brachialis and forearm extensors, the abdominal wall and low back areas. In 1988, I did 352x8 reps, but still failed at anything over 404. His ideas are similar to louie Simmons in many regards, but his programs are geared more for athletes in Olympic disciplines than the specific sport of Powerlifting. Both have much to offer and I have spent time with both and interchange protocols to continue to make progress @ age 38 and over 20 years of training.

As a follow up to my last post I will try to explain the methodolgy behind my improvement to a 440 Power Clean. In 1992 I visited Poliquin in Montreal and was tested for muscular imbalances. The results were humbling, although he concluded I was stronger in some aspects than anyone he ever tested, certain areas left me weaker than 105 lb. figure skaters. He fixed my squat first, and although I boasted a 770 BS and 550x3 FS, I could not squat 250 lbs. 5 seconds down, 5 seconds up for 6 reps-- a test being accomplished by female speed skaters on the next platform. The second phase was my pulls. He started me with 6 sets of 6 Snatch from mid- thigh w/ a pause to reset technically each rep. After each set I did 6 reps of Pulls from the floor w/ 15 kilos more to the nipple. Each compound set had a 90 sec. rest period between the Mid and the Floor. Each set got easier due to the lighter feeling. This was a total of 12 work sets- w/ 5 lighter warm-up sets- yes I puked! 90 secs. came quickly to someone use to 4-5 min. recovery. This initial program lasted 3 weeks, done on M and Th, along with Squats- upper body was T and F, w/ W off. I finished w/ 105kx3 Mid thigh Snatch and 120k pulls for 3 and also a 350x5 slow tempo squat. More to follow if still interested.

The next 3 week block switched to Hang Clean and F. Squat. The protocol was 5x4 wk. 1, 4x4 wk. 2 and 5x2 in wk. 3. My best was 160 K for2 in the hang clean done to upper patella. I also did Romanian Dead lifts during this cycle. The next 3 week cycle switched to progressive range PC. Depending on the reps, starting with 4x6, the first rep was done from high thigh, moving down 2 inches per rep until the last rep was mid shin, but never touching the floor. The first rep was the hardest and by rep 6 i was in a more favorable posistion for strength. The Squats went to BS and 8x3 @ 70% 3 secs. down/1 sec. up, with 60 seconds rest- yes I puked! I also did seated good mornings. I finished with a 147k x4 Progressive range set, 2 reps above knee and 2 below- never letting the plates touch the floor- in the squat I finished @ 405 for 8x3 w/ 60 sec. rest. This program was Neural Drive and my throwing took a big jump, 75 meters in Jan. and 75 feet in the weight. The next 3 week cycle was Mid Grip Snatches and paused front squats in the hole posistio6-4-6-4-6 (Wave loading) The mid grip snatches were 1+2. One from mid thigh and 2 from the floor. I finished w/ 110k from mid grip 1+1. I also did Standing good morning during the cycle.

The next 3 week program switched to the floor for the first time on the clean. Week 1 was 4x4, week 2 was 5x5 and week 3 was 3x4 and the second workout of that week was 5-3-2-1-1. The key was Jump Squats before PC, 3x20 w/ 50k, this was the precursor for speed and dynamics. The Squats were heavy 1/2 squats and killer hamsrtring workouts. I did 170k x4 and eventually 200k or 440 lbs on my decending set day. My throwing went to hell this cycle and 4 weeks before nationals, I could only throw the weight 74 feet, but the 9k hammer was at a lifetime best of 68 meters, strong but no neural drive yet. The finishing cycle was Snatch Grip jumps 4x6 w/40k and speed snatches from blocks, high shin, 3-2-1-2-1. I only did ONE set of Front Squat, 80k x 5 per workout and recovery was amazing. The upper body workout featured pushpress and chins only and I went to New York for the nationals breaking the world record in the weight @ 80 1/4 and losing to lance Deal. In hindsight changing workouts every three weeks was key for me and by concentrating more on tempo of squats and increasing my work capacity instead of just cleaning and squatting heavy- I was able to make the breakthru that lead to over 80 meters at the Olympic trials and 4th in Barcelona. Don’t try to copy my workout, but maybe learn from the variety in tempos, grips, rest periods and posistions of pulls for breaking plateaus.

On the jump squats, the key is to have the elbows under the bar pointing straight down ( good powerline). Next the athlete squats into what I call a high 1/2 squat posistion, and attemps to drive the feet thru the floor in a violent change of direction— try to reach maximum height each jump (I tell my athletes to feel sensation of reaching for the ceiling w/ their head, and to point the the toes down on lift off). Keep the bar tight to the traps and upon landing repeat w/out pause. When done correctly it looks like weighted hopping in place. Remember this is more plyometrics and a stimuli for the nervous system to prepare the fast twitch muscle fibers to fire! Again, I used 110 lbs, I had my all-american (207) use 40 k or 88 lbs, on his way to a 150k (330) clean @ a BW of 210. Hope this gives you some guidelines.

Absolute strength for throwers

Thanks for the comments and yes you know the answer- I would take the increase in vertical over the extra weight in the clean. I thought Lance’s post about only cleaning 110k or so was interesting- it is great maintenance for him and allows him to recover for throwing workouts. He threw over 80 in New Zealand off of these type of workouts- I also believe he COULD do 160k+ if asked to by his coach- right now. After my suspension I had not done a power clean workout in nearly four years, but kept touch with the hammer, especially the light ball during that period. After being re-instated I cleaned 170k the first day back- physiologist call this muscle memory. Does this mean for someone throwing 60 meters, proportionally he should only clean 70k for 5x5 and expect to progress the same way Lance is? The balance is a double edged sword- most people advocating not lifting heavy- for the most part have been strong at one point in their career. Others like myself MAY be using strength training as a crutch, but I believe I am only trying to cover all the bases. Lift, throw, plyos, and work on technique. I am my own coach and have a strength coach that writes most of my work-outs (Poliquin). I fit the throwing schedule around my job (coach) and do my drills, film and make an honest effort to fix what technique I can. I enjoy weight training and i am still motivated by the gains I make at age 38- lifting and throwing. Taking a page out of Lance’s book, i am currently only squatting 315 for 8 sets of 3 w/ one minute rest- I continually search for the right balance. I am unable to do any pulls w/a torn calf currently and maybe i will start to feel the ball better. I compete against only one person-myself, I am finding the journey to remain competitive over 75m to be an exhilirating and challenging- I may never see 80m again, but it won’t stop me from trying!

Same thing, but more detailed - note the gain on his vertical jump after the program, from 29 to 33 inches with bodyweight going up, but he did get leaner as well

In 1992, preparing to make my third Olympic Team in the hammer throw, I sought the help of “Strength Guru”, Charles Poliquin. Until this time the shortest training cycle I had ever done was 6 wks. and some lasting 12 wks. before changing. He switched me over to 3 wk. cycles of M-TH Pulls/Squats and T-F, Upperbody. I never stagnated, and in one particular 21 wk. period, I increased my Power Clean from a previous best of of 404, to 440. That was 7/ 3 wk. blocks of varying Pulls, Squats, Tempo’s, Range of Motions, Rest periods and Rep Schemes. More later, on ways to increase “YOUR” Power Clean- From the floor in a high catch posistion.

Part 2 Training The Power Clean
by Jud Logan on 9/17/1999.

Earlier I mentioned 3 week blocks I used in 1992 to increase a stagnant Power Clean. My goal was to increase my Clean in a 21 week period to 440 from a previous best of 404. The first 3 week cycle was done on M and Th and incorporated Mid-Thigh Snatch from a paused posisiton 5x6. After every set of snatches- 3 minutes later I would do a set of Snatch Pulls from the floor with 15 kilos more than what I snatched the previous set. The goal being to get the pull to chest height. Each time I went back to the snatches (again 3 minutes), the mid-thigh snatches felt lighter and accelerated. Including 4 warm-up sets, this made for a 14 set workout on pulling movements. Wk. 2 was 4x5 and Wk. 3 was 4x4. The squat that day was “Key” in me addressing a weakness, that being leg strength thru all ranges of movement. I was a former 770 “momentum” B. Squatter, but Poliquin’s 5 second eccentric, 5 sec. concentric Squats tore me up. Having a spotter barking the tempo, I did the same rep scheme as snatches, 2 x per week with 3 weeks total. Initially 110 Kilo’s kicked my ass and has put many a strong squatter to the trashcan puking. I finished off the workout with some light low back work and various abdominal exercises. T-F called for my upper body training and addressed certain functional weaknesses, in my case brachialis and lat strength. I have NEVER done a program in 22 years of training that made me feel so “Yoked”. I had dramatic body changes and lost 1 1/2% bodyfat in 3 weeks. I will return soon with Phase #2 of the 7 Phase program. Good Luck!

Phase 2 and 3:
by Jud Logan on 10/15/1999.

Last segment, we dealt with Mid-Snatch and Snatch Pulls, coupled with slow tempo Back Squats. My next 3 week phase moved to the Hang Clean. To recap, we pull and squat on M-TH and upperbody on T-F. The Hang Clean is executed from a paused posistion, one inch above the patella. Week #1 is 5x4, Week #2 is 4x4 and Week #3 is 5x2. The Squat portion moves to Front Squats, used in the same rep scheme as Clean. The aux. exercises for this 3 week block are key. Low Pulley split squat lunges, using an opposite arm, opposite leg method 3 x 20. Free hand on hips, upright back and let the knee travel forward over the toe until the back knee touches the ground. The final exercise on this day is Romanian Deadlifts 3x8. The upper body deals in 2 minute supersets of 3 groupings: #1 Seated D-bell press with Close Parallel Pulldowns: #2 Close Grip bench with Rope upright row: #3 Low cable lying triceps with Reverse Grip Preacher Curls. Our third 3 Week Block gets down to the Nitty Gritty of discovering Power Clean weaknesses! The pulling day is Progressive Range Power Cleans (the most inventive way of developing power, I have ever done!) Starting rep one from a high thigh hang clean, each rep, drop the bar down two inches and clean. By the 4th rep you should be slightly below kneecap, 5th mid-shin and the last rep from the floor. By starting in the weakest posistions while the energy levels are highest, enables you to make your strongest rep on the last rep, while energy stores are failing. Week #1 4x6, Week #2 3x6 and Week #3 4x5. The squat here is crucial. It is called a Neural Back Squat. Figure your 70% max and do 8x3 with ONE minute rest between sets. Take 3 second to lower and less than one second to come up! This is where we develop the ability to Jump off the ground in later weeks! Finish off with 3x10 of seated good mornings. The upper body day adds to our power> Start with Push Press 5x4 and then group our 2 minute supersets of 1/arm row and a rotator cuff exercise of choice. (I like the shoulder horn) The 2nd grouping is Hammer D-bell curls with Parillo Tricep ext. (Heavy eccentric loading to the forehead and row the bar down to a close grip push) This 3 week block really accelerated my vertical jump and dynamics. The progressive range cleans, strengthened weak ranges of my pull, and the neural squat enabled me to keep a constant weight in the squat and train the fast twitch fibers, while allowing the back to recover. Well Folks, that is now 9 weeks of my program that put 40 lbs. on my Power Clean from the floor- (400 to 440) and we haven’t even started a cycle of cleans from the floor yet!–Don’t worry. . . . . . It’s Coming.

Phase #4/ Increasing your Power Clean
by Jud Logan on 12/6/1999.

We left off last program in a Neural Drive Phase, which challenged our dynamics. Before moving to the final 2 programs, which last 3 and 2 weeks - finishing with our cleans from the floor, we have one cycle to go. The mid grip snatch is a great exercise to get the athlete to really extend the pull. Using a grip between clean and regular snatch- remember *wrists rolled under- elbows out when pulling- the progran starts out 5 sets of 2+2. What this means is 2 reps from the hang and then 2 from the floor. Week #2 is 1+2 and week #3 is 5 sets of 1+1. The squats as always are key for building our power foundation. We will do Paused Front Squats, using the wave loading method. 3 seconds to eccentrically lower to 1 inch below parallel- and a full one second pause- returning with a 2 second controlled concentric. The rep scheme is 6-4-6-4-6, using the 6’s for hypertrophy and the 4’s for using heavy weight- example: 90K x 6 120K x 4 100K x 6 150K x 4 110K x 6- the second week is 5-3-5-3-5 and the third week is 6-4-2-5-3-1. In three weeks you should really pack some poundage on the squat. Keep the snatches fast and high catches- use straps! We supplement this portion with standing good mornings to really cook the hammy’s and try lying cable reverse crunches on the low pulley. Attatch your weight belt to a hook from the low pulley and get back far enough so that 90 degrees is your starting posistion and the stack does not touch. Do reverse crunches (knees to chest) and only return to 90 (don’t let the legs straighten- 3 sets of 20 will send you cramping. As far as the upper body goes this is a free period to re-introduce your old favorites.

Final Power Clean Phase
by Jud Logan on 2/15/2000.

It’s time for the first time to finally Clean from the floor and get a new PR. I will address the M-TH workout and the upper can be left to you. As past workouts, this is a 3 week phase- Power cleaning 2 x per week. The first exercise of the day is KEY- Jump Squats! When I first saw this, I questioned doing a leg movement before cleans- until I hit myself in the chin with my first clean @ 80K- that felt like 40K. OK- back to Jump Squats- these are done using relatively light loads. After a good stretch I used 50K for 3 sets of 10. The athlete goes into a 1/4 squat and elbows under the bar, jumps as high as they can (try to point the toes down at max heigth) upon landing, go immediately to 1/4 squat and up again- No Pause and No leaning forward- every rep is at maximum effort. What are we teaching our body? Maybe that the Clean is a dynamic movement where at some point in the pull we attempt to jump and accelerate the bar! In the second week the reps move to 3 sets of 15 and in the third week 3x20- the weight remains the constant. Upon finishing these- you may start your power clean workout from the floor-take 2 warm up sets- for me that is 80Kx4 and 100Kx2, and then 4x4- being progressive- ie. . 120kx4 130kx4 140kx4 145k x4 and then a little heavier the second day of the week. The next week, the reps go to 4x5- with the goal being, to do for 5 on your final set what your 4 rep max was in week one- and then slightly heavier in the second day. Week 3 returns to 4x4 and assuming I made 150K in week one and then did 150K for 5 in week 2 and then maybe 152.5 the second workout- I am set up to do 155-160K for my final set of progressive 4’s in week 3 and then the last day of the program, 160-165k for 4. The other 2 aux. exercise are suicide leg curls- which are done 8-4-2 in a dropset fashion for 3 sets. The Squat used is 1/4 Back Squats in power racks to pins- it is time to recover the low back and heavy squats don’t really jive with heavy pulls! The reps used for the 1/4 pin squats are wave fashion 7-5-3-5-3. The following Monday- (after a nice deep tissue massage on sat.) I did 3 sets of jump squats for 6 reps with 40-50-60K and my Power Clean workout (from the floor-high catches/ with straps/no belt) 80k x 4 100kx2 130kx3 145kx2 160kx1 175kx1 190kx1 200kx1 *440 lbs. and a new lifetime best by 30 lbs. #Notes- vertical jump during this program increased from 29 to 33 inches and overhead ball throw from 66-72 feet (16lbs) Starting bodyweight was 267- the finishing bodyweight was 272 Good Luck’ Jud Logan 3X Olympic Hammer Thrower Age 40


The Bicep muscle serve no function in SPRINTING OR OLYMPIC LIFTING OR POWERLIFTING. The only reason one should work the bicep is so that the tricep-bicep muscle balance is intact.

Then why are there all of the bicep tendon tears of powerlifters (while deadlifting)?

Quark, when using a mixed grip, the supinated arm and bicep is placed in a stretched postion where more stress is placed on the biceps. The co-contraction of the biceps along with the stretch when deadlifting is responsible for the tears. Combined with poor lifting technique, excessive volume, no rotation of exercises, etc…


Thanks for the info Thomas.

I prefer to use a pronated grip with both hands just like the bentover row grip.

I find the same reason for injuries in doing Weighted chipups and Lat-Pullups! Therefore, I only do weighted Bentover-Rows from now on!
There is also an increase in the ROM in the exercises that I’ve mentioned compared to their alternatives this I believe also contributes to the injuries!

Do you concur?

BTW, I use to include Lat-Pulldowns; however, I could pulldown an extra 100lbs in addition to the 250lb wt. stack!

You can find a reason not to do every exercise if you try hard enough. I personally think chins have an excellent risk:return ratio for most people. I’ve worked up to 175lbs bodyweight + 100lbs with not a single chin-related injury.

I weigh 240lbs and I did doubles with an additional 70lbs, I tweaked my right bicep muscle a couple of months ago. There are certain exercises that lead to injury and certain ones that don’t! I have never had a problem doing bench press, military press, incline/declines press, preacher curl, barbell curl, french press, tricep ext, lat pulldowns, bentover row, etc etc etc.

However, I have tweaked my chest shoulder attachment once while doing lat-pullups and tweaked my bicep doing chinups, not mention I just saw some poor shmuck tweak his bicep doing a chinup! Bigger ROM leads to bigger rewards and bigger risks!

make sure the movement is controlled… then chins should be no problem… it is not an excercise where pure weight matters…

Preacher curls can be said to have a high injury risk… one excercise i never do…