I swore I would never write about this. It's the story of how I was able to bring my snatch-grip high pull max from 125 kilos to 180 kilos in just over 2 weeks.

Many people have asked me exactly what I did during those 2 weeks – what program I was on, which supplements I used, what I ate, etc.

I told myself I wouldn't answer those questions. Not that I had anything to hide, but this was concentrated training at its most extreme, and certainly not how I want people to train all the time. A discussion with Biotest CEO Tim Patterson changed my mind. Tim understands that, in a way, I'm probably the most unbalanced coach ever! Or at least the one with the most unbalanced training approach.

In the past, I've done nothing but high pulls for 3 weeks, nothing but bench press and deadlifts for 6 weeks, and nothing but snatches and squats for 6 weeks. And yet, I have a very balanced physique. No body part is lagging and no big lift is out of balance with the others.

Being so focused in training isn't out of the ordinary for me – it's what I do most of the time. I've always achieved my best results when I focused on accomplishing only one thing with my training and just maintaining the rest.

My "secret" was that I instinctively switched focus every 3-6 weeks to make sure that everything was strengthened. That realization made it acceptable for me to reveal to you what I did to jack up my high pull.

  1. While most of my improvements on the high pull were due to gains in strength and power, some was due to an improvement in technique. Tim and I studied the high pull for a week before I started this program. We spent hours discussing proper biomechanics and analyzed countless videos.
  2. The high pull gains were not newbie gains. I'd performed the exercise for over seven years as an Olympic lifter and continued to do it intermittently after that. Furthermore, upon coming to Colorado, the high pull had been my main training lift for nearly three months.
  3. I had one week of "normal" training in Colorado where I did high pulls three times a week before starting the blitz program. I also did some bench pressing and back work.
  4. I didn't do anything directly for legs during the high pull blitz. However, the week after I got my PR on the high pull I hit weights that I haven't hit in years on both the front and back squat.
  5. This approach can be used for other lifts. I'm using it for the bench press right now to regain my peak performance and it's working great.

I had three heavy days per week and two very heavy days per week. I also had a moderate day on the sixth day in which I did some bench pressing to stay sane.

It looked like this:

  • Monday: Heavy day 1
  • Tuesday: VERY heavy day 1
  • Wednesday: Heavy day 2
  • Thursday: VERY heavy day 2
  • Friday: Heavy day 3
  • Saturday: Moderate high pulls and bench press
  • Sunday: OFF

I always trained at 9:00 AM and my workouts lasted anywhere between 35 and 45 minutes.

I had three heavy days per week. Each heavy day I started at roughly 60% and ramped up in sets of 2 reps to a daily maximum (lifting from blocks). Once I reached my 2-rep max, I switched to singles (sets of 1 rep).

For the sets of two reps I ramped up at 10 kilos per set, and when I reached the singles I switched to jumps of 5 kilos per set.

  • Set 1: 60 kilos x 2
  • Set 2: 70 kilos x 2
  • Set 3: 80 kilos x 2
  • Set 4: 90 kilos x 2
  • Set 5: 100 kilos x 2
  • Set 6: 110 kilos x 2
  • Set 7: 115 kilos x 1
  • Set 8: 120 kilos x 1
  • Set 9: 125 kilos x 1
  • Set 10: 130 kilos x 1 *
  • Set 11: 135 kilos x 1 *

* My goal was to reach the maximum weight I could lift above my nipple line. I kept adding weight until I failed. On some days it was 130 kilos, on others it was 150 kilos. The idea was to go to the maximum weight I could lift.

After the ramp was done, I did one more loading scheme that varied on each of the three heavy days.

  • Heavy Day 1: Using 20 pounds/10 kilos less than the 1RM, do 5 sets of 1 repetition.
  • Heavy Day 2: Using 20 pounds/10 kilos less than the 2RM, do 3 sets of 2 repetitions: the first rep from blocks, second rep from the hang.
  • Heavy Day 3: Using 90% of the 1RM, do 3 cluster sets * of 4-6 reps.

* Cluster sets mean that you do 4-6 reps, resting 5-10 seconds between each rep.

The purpose of the VERY heavy days was to get used to exploding weights much heavier than my high pull maximum. Beginning to accelerate a very heavy load is half the battle, even if it doesn't go all the way to the nipple line.

The VERYheavy days started out exactly like the heavy days: with a ramp to a 2RM, then to a 1RM.

The difference is that once I reached my 1RM on the high pull – maximum weight I could pull to at least the nipple line – I continued to add weight and do explosive pulls, even if the bar only reached my sternum (aka a mid pull) or my navel (aka a low pull).

So a workout could look like this:

  • Set 1: 60 kilos x 2
  • Set 2: 70 kilos x 2
  • Set 3: 80 kilos x 2
  • Set 4: 90 kilos x 2
  • Set 5: 100 kilos x 2
  • Set 6: 110 kilos x 2
  • Set 7: 115 kilos x 1
  • Set 8: 120 kilos x 1
  • Set 9: 125 kilos x 1
  • Set 10: 130 kilos x 1
  • Set 11: 135 kilos x 1
  • Set 12: 140 kilos x 1 (max high pull, switch to mid pull)
  • Set 13: 145 kilos x 1
  • Set 14: 150 kilos x 1
  • Set 15: 155 kilos x 1
  • Set 16: 160 kilos x 1 (max mid pull, switch to low pull)
  • Set 17: 165 kilos x 1
  • Set 18: 170 kilos x 1
  • Set 19: 175 kilos x 1
  • Set 20: 180 kilos x 1
  • Set 21: 185 kilos x 1
  • Set 22: 190 kilos x 1

Once I hit a weight that I couldn't launch explosively above my navel, the workout was over.

Important Note: Even if I say "switch to mid (or low) pull," the intent of every set was still to launch the weight as high as possible. I'm only referring to the result of the set – you don't pull low on purpose.

Both very heavy days were exactly the same.

The high pull is a cool exercise that hits almost every muscle group except for the chest and triceps – the traps, quads, hamstrings, glutes, upper back, lower back, biceps, and delts are all involved. It's likely not enough to make them grow if you only do high pulls once a week, but if you do a ton of pulling every day and go very heavy, all of these body parts will grow.

Case in point: I went from 220 pounds to 230 in just under 3 weeks. I did increase my food intake and use Plazma™. The change in my physique was quite drastic and fairly balanced.

The only missing links were the triceps and chest, which is why I did some bench pressing on Saturdays, along with my easier workout for the high pulls. On Saturday I started with high pulls but only ramped up to 80% of my heaviest high pull of the week. For example, if my best high pull that week was 150 kilos, I only went up to 120 kilos in about 6 sets.

Then I switched to the bench press. I'd ramp up to a 3RM on the bench press from pins, and then continue ramping to a 1RM.

The bench press ramp looked like this:

  • Set 1: 100 kilos x 3
  • Set 2: 110 kilos x 3
  • Set 3: 120 kilos x 3
  • Set 4: 130 kilos x 3
  • Set 5: 140 kilos x 3
  • Set 6: 150 kilos x 3
  • Set 7: 160 kilos x 1
  • Set 8: 165 kilos x 1
  • Set 9: 170 kilos x 1
  • Set 10: 175 kilos x 1
  • Set 11: 180 kilos x 1
  • Set 12: 185 kilos x 1

Then I did 3 sets of 3 reps with 90% of the max weight I reached. That was the workout and it concluded my training week.

Here's the exact supplement schedule I followed. I attribute a lot of my success to that protocol since it allowed me to train that one lift heavy almost every day and still recover. I didn't have a single workout in which I felt inflamed, sore, or weak.

  • 7:30 am: Wake up, take Indigo-3G®
  • 8:00 am: 1 Finibar
  • 8:30 am: 2 Plazma™ doses
  • 9:00 am: Start workout, 1 Plazma™ dose
  • 9:20 (roughly) am: Midway through workout, 1 Plazma™ dose
  • 9:40 am: 2 Mag-10® doses
  • 10:10 am: 1 Finibar™

That was my exact peri-workout period. In the afternoon I normally had 2-3 more Mag-10 pulses and one more Finibar. So my daily nutrition was essentially Mag-10 and Finibars. When I got home I normally had two meals, one at 5:30 and one at 8:00. These meals were fairly high in nutrients/calories. On average, each of these meals gave me 70-80 grams of protein and about the same amount in carbs, with about 20 grams of fat. I also had 2-3 Finibars during the evening.

That's exactly what I did for roughly two to three weeks. An extremely concentrated training program, a ton of heavy work, enough peri-workout nutrition to make a horse grow, and enough nutrients to allow me to increase my body weight so that I would have more strength and better leverage.

Christian Thibaudeau specializes in building bodies that perform as well as they look. He is one of the most sought-after coaches by the world's top athletes and bodybuilders. Check out the Christian Thibaudeau Coaching Forum.