FAQ 2017-03-08T13:04:00+00:00
How long should I rest between sets? 2016-12-02T19:24:22+00:00

When rest periods are not specified, rest as long as necessary to successfully accomplish the work, but not longer than you need. Although the purpose of strength training is to develop improved maximal force production, it is prudent to remember that on game day, you will almost invariably be working against the clock.

What about shoulder-to-overhead? 2016-12-02T19:24:07+00:00

Unless noted otherwise, base percentage for shoulder-to-overhead off of your push press.

Are there exceptions to this rule? 2016-12-02T19:23:46+00:00

Yes. They will be explicitly stated.

What are the percentages based off of? 2016-12-02T19:23:29+00:00

For most strength movements, the percentage will be based off of that precise exercise, or the exercise it is derived from. E.g., percentage for a stiff legged deadlift would be derived from your deadlift,  pause squat will be derived from your back squat, etc.

Does TZ Strength ever use percentages? 2016-12-02T19:23:11+00:00

Absolutely. Apart from weightlifting work, there will be times during the year when a percentage based program is more suitable.

What’s the point of RPE? 2016-12-02T19:22:56+00:00

In brief: process orientation. The focus is showing up and doing the work. If your assignment is to squat 5 @ 9, whether you PR your 5RM with a rep in the tank, or you only hit 85% of your best, you still successfully completed the assignment. This mindset is crucial to staying power in training and setting yourself up for long term success.

Strength 2016-12-02T19:22:34+00:00

Generally speaking, movements aimed at the development of maximal force production, either directly or by building an effective base, will be grouped under “strength.” This includes a range of activities from heavy squatting, pressing, and deadlifting, to accessories such as rows and bodybuilding exercises in the offseason.

Often, our strength work is based off of a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) scale rather than percentages. That scale is below:

RPE flow chart

Scale and methodology borrowed from Reactive Training Systems.

Work is written as (Reps) @ (RPE.) An RPE based training session may look like this:

Back Squat 4 @ 7, 4 @ 8, 4 @ 9, plus one down set (load drop)

There are three sections to this workout.

Work Up: These are the sets leading to your top set. In the above example, your work up is 4 @ 7, 4 @ 8.

Initial: This is the heaviest set for the day. In the above example, your initial is 4 @ 9.

Down Sets: These are the sets which follow the Initial. In the above example, your down set is a load drop. Simply subtract 4-6% from the initial and perform the prescribed number of down sets.

Another type of down set is called a repeat, typically performed after an @ 8 top set. A repeat workout may look like this:

Deadlift 6 @ 6, 6 @ 7, 6 @ 8, plus three down sets (repeat)

In this case, simply stay at the initial weight for the prescribed number of down sets.

How long should I rest between sets? 2016-12-02T19:21:35+00:00

When rest periods are not specified, rest as long as necessary to successfully accomplish the work, but not longer than you need. It is prudent to remember that on game day, you will almost invariably be working against the clock. A good guide is to take between 60-120 seconds between snatches, cleans, or jerks depending on the load, and between 90-150 seconds between clean & jerks.

Is there somewhere I can see videos of weightlifting exercises commonly prescribed on TZ Strength? 2016-12-02T19:21:12+00:00
What are the heights for blocks and hang? 2016-12-02T19:20:50+00:00

Hang/Blocks = directly above knees

High Hang/High Blocks = mid thighs

Low Hang/Low Blocks = well below knees

Whenever going from the hang or blocks, strive to mimic your start position from the floor:

  • Shoulders directly over bar
  • Knees visible in front of bar
  • Weight balanced across foot, perhaps slightly towards forefoot

As with the lift from the floor, initiate by pushing with your legs, not pulling with your back.

What do you mean when you say “heavy single” or “heavy set”? 2016-12-02T19:20:27+00:00

Heavy for that day. Not a max. Make lifts. Make lifts. Make lifts. As a rule, if you miss twice at a heavy set on snatch, once for clean & jerk, move on. If it says “max,” three times for snatch, twice for clean & jerk.

Should I always go off of that number? 2016-12-02T19:19:23+00:00

There are three cases in which you should base your percentage off of something else.

  1. A different number is explicitly stated in the programming
  2. You’re having a shitty day and not making lifts
  3. You recently hit a big PR. In order to develop consistency, gradually build up to working off of your new PR in smaller increments, over the course of several weeks (3-6 depending on how big the PR was.)
What are the percentages based off of? 2016-12-02T19:18:54+00:00

Unless otherwise stated, the loading parameters for any variation or special exercise is based on your top performance in the classical exercises.

General Methodology and Approach 2016-12-02T19:18:31+00:00

Like everything we do at TZ Strength, I believe that weightlifting is about movement. Accordingly, TZ Strength weightlifting programming alternates through phases of technical development, strength, and speed/peaking. Approaching the competition season, endurance focused weightlifting sessions are also included.


  • If you’re missing a bunch, back off the weight.
  • If it hurts, stop, or switch to a variation that doesn’t hurt (e.g. if receiving the snatch in the bottom hurts, knock off 10% and power snatch)
  • If one particular aspect of the lift isn’t clicking and it’s causing you to miss, back off the weight and try a variation that addresses that issue (e.g. if you’re missing the power position on your clean, drop 10-15% and work cleans from the hip)
  • Make lifts, make lifts, make lifts. Make fucking lifts.
There are three subcategories of movement which are lumped into the category “weightlifting.” 2016-12-02T19:18:03+00:00
  1. Classical Exercises: the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk
  2. Variations: Exercises which are a type of snatch, clean, or jerk, but differ in some way from the classical exercises. E.g. power snatch, clean from blocks, etc
  3. Special Exercises: These are movements which derive from the classical exercises, but do not actually involve a snatch, clean, or jerk. E.g. snatch push press, clean deadlift, press from split.