Christian Thibaudeau Log 3


No. At least not for two movements involving similar muscle groups (e.g. 2 pressing movements)


Bonjour CT,

Short question about Zercher deadlifts. In the article you wrote about Zerchers, your Zercher Deadlift looks like a squat. What do you think about Zercher deadlifts where your back is completely rounded and you pull the bar from the ground?

To build the back and strengthen the deadlift, is it a fine alternative when you set the bar in the rack around hips height, and than use your back to lift it up? (Like in a deadlift where your legs are already extended, and you use your back to lock it out.)

Thanks in advance !


I am planning a vacation from 18 December to 12 January, over which I will probably only be able to lift once if at all, though I will be doing a few big hikes. Per a previous article of yours, I am planning on my next 3 weeks in the gym having a 50% increase in volume. On return, would you recommend simply starting the next program right away, since week 1 is almost always submaximal anyway, or spending some amount of time ramping back up, to make the next program most effective? Specifically, with the olympic lifts.


Hi coach, can you please give me some tips on how to set up a routine using wave loading(3/2/1 for strength + density work). Frequency of lifts, when to increase weights, assistance work etc.

Thank you in advance


That’s kinda broad, How many lift do you want to focus on for strength?


Spend at least week if not 2 getting your groove back on the lifts and getting your body used to a higher frequency of training again.


The only round back lifting I like to use is the Jefferson curl. Which is a light deadlift done with a rolling and un-rolling of the spine. The movement is slow and done with light to moderate weight. I don’t like heavy round-back lifting unless you are competing in strongman events in which you will have to lift the Atlas stones, in which case the Zercher deadlift is a good option.


Sorry coach for being vague. I was thinking 5 days per week, 1 day for each big lift (deadlift, bench, squat, push press, high pull ) using 3-4 waves + density work, and some assistance isolation work upper/lower.

I used the template from your other programmes ,power look etc. but was mainly unsure on when to increase the weight on starting waves.

I just finished Bulgarian training simplified, which is great.

thanks again


Doing waves is VERY demanding, especially on the nervous system. So you can’t do a lot of stuff afterwards. You can do isolation work but I don’t really like doing a lot of density work after waves, especially not if you are doing waves 5 days a week.

In fact doing waves 5 days a week isn’t such a great idea for more than 1-3 weeks. It has a tremendous effect on the nervous system, an effect that is systemic. So even though you are hitting different muscle groups at every session, each workout has a profound impact on the whole body.

Think of it this way: one wave is 6 reps above 85%… past the first wave most of the work is done above 90%. The Prilepin chart mentions that the optimal number of repetitions done at 90%+ in a session on one exercise is 4 to 10. With 3 waves you will do 15-18 above 90% and with 4 waves you will do 21-24, more than double the recommended number. Now you CAN sustain that amount for a short period of time, but ideally not 5 days per week and not for long.

It’s really a strength blitz and should be regarded as such. And you certainly cannot add other work in the 80% rage to a significant degree after those 20+ reps at 90%. Even in the layer system, which uses a lot of work in the 90% zone (less than waves since with waves half of the work is done close to 95-100%) there is no work in the 80% range after the heavy work. And even then the layer system is also a short blitz.

Your plan (minus the density work) is sustainable for maybe 3 weeks. With density work it would be 1 to 2 weeks.


Great info coach. I read as much as I could find about waves but couldn’t find an actual routine now I see why! So would a higher rep range eg 7/5/3 be sustainable for longer, as there are less reps above 90%?

Thank you for your time coach


Thanks for your answer.
The strength blitz with waves, that is not peaking strength or? You actually build strength there? Or do I misunderstand that?

Best wishes,


Yes you build strength because of the sets of 2 and 3. But it is mostly a neurological program (you get rapid neurological adaptations and gains in strength and the capacity to display it in a max effort). But you wont build much muscle by using it by itself.


Hi coach

What is your opinion in clean training. The front squat is my weakness, i can power clean 5kg more than clean. With power clean i mean like 1/4 of full squat.
My question is about when doing clean, should i try to pull as high i can and then do “front squat” or should i just try to pull as high as needed to get under in full squat? The last opinion feels much easier. If you have some other suggestion i would like to hear it too.
Thanks and regards,


The second option is a mistake I often see with Crossfit athletes. When doing light weights they “underpull” so that the bar is not high and they can get into the full squat easily.

The problem is that by training this way you learn 1) not to finish the pull (not extending completely) 2) not pulling hard.

As a result when the weight gets heavy you will have learned the bad habit of not finishing the pull, which will leave the bar forward… with light weighs it works because you can easily adjust but with heavy weights it will not work.

Also when you train not to pull hard it becomes inefficient to all of a sudden try to pull hard. You are just not as efficient at doing it.

The proper way to do the exercise is hard to explain in writing but I’ll try.

When doing a clean you want to pull as hard as you can BUTas soon as you reach full extension you must move under the bar by punching the hips back (think about punching the hips back, not squatting under) but as the same time as you do that you aggressively pull the bar to your neck/shoulders. If you pull as hard as you can with a light weight put let it fly up, it’s impossible to get under the barbell because the bar is moving up too much. You NEVER stop pulling on the bar until it’s racked on your shoulders. By doing that you convert upward movement to movement toward you, limiting the height as which the barbell travels.

Look at what I mean in these videos… punching the hips back to the receiving position while pulling toward your neck/shoulder… both models clean in the high 300s (355 for one 385 for the other) yet they can do a super strong clean with a very very light weight. Notice how the bar nevers “flies up” the lifter always controls it until it is racked.


If you look at a vscope analysis of the bar path during a clean you see that the bar movement shifts from almost pure vertical to horizontal (bar moving toward the lifter). This can’t happen if the lifter simply pulls upward as high as possible. He explodes up to elevate the barbell but when the body reaches full extension and the barbell is at the proper height the lift pulls the bar toward him which both places the bar in the right spot on the shoulders and prevent the bar from moving too far up which will lead to the bar crashing on the lifter.

Here on frame 5 the lifter reaches full extension… the second pull is finished and should be executed with maximum power. But in frame 6 and 7 the “third pull” takes place: the lifter is still puling on the barbell, but pulling it toward him. This both places the bar in the proper position for a solid catch, it also limits the unnecessary upward movement of the bar and also help propel the body faster downward. The third pull is simultaneous with the moving under the barbell.


BTW those who power clean more weigh then they can clean normally have 1 (or 2) of 3 problems.

The first one (less common) is a lack of leg strength relative to their pulling strength. They simply lack the leg strength to stand up from a clean.

The second one is that they are not stable in a full front squat position… if you can’t take on a perfectly stable position without effort you will not be efficient at receiving a clean in the full squat position. If you can’t take that position with an empty barbell you will not be efficient receiving a clean in the full squat position:

Notice the back arc, the chest is up, weight evenly placed on the feet, (ideally) full grip on the bar, elbows high. If you can’t take that position effortlessly you simply will not be efficient in a full clean.

The third possible reason is “staying too long with the pull”… you pull high but wait too long before transitioning down. This is the most common cause. It’s as if people subconsciously waited to see how high the bar was before moving down under. But by that time it’s too late as the bar is already shifting to moving down and it’s impossible to apply force properly to it or move fast to go under in a full squat.

This third problem is often characterised by pulling too much with the lower back: at the top the lifter will be leaning back and the hips will be forward… this makes it very difficult to move down under the bar efficiently.

As soon as you explode upward you must shift to moving down. See the videos I posted.


That was really helpful, thanks!


merry xmas coach,
thank you for all your help!!!


Thank you! Not so merry so far. Caught the flu yesterday. For some reason this has been happening to me for the last 6 years at the exact same period. And I always end up losing my voice! My throat is already sore which is the worse because it feel like I’m swallowing razor blades… impossible to sleep!


Get well soon! : ) maybe a rare allergy?