Consider This When Adding Weight
Written by Ricky Mooore

On PR days everyone gets excited and wants to make sure they save their energy. A lot of times athletes end up making HUGE jumps in weights leading to more harm than good because they end up missing the lift they were saving up for. 

What to Consider When AddiNg Weight to Your Bar

There are some things to consider when making jumps and there are many variables that should affect your plan. Olympic lifts (Snatch and Clean & Jerk) and traditional power lifts (Deadlift, Squat, Bench) are completely different in jumps. But even within each of those two categories, you should approach jumps differently.  

Training Age

Some of the first variables to consider are training age and familiarity with movements. Training age is the cumulative amount of time you’ve spent training for a particular sport. It refers to a cumulative workload (and skill level) built over years and years of consistent lifting (in this case). 

For example if you have only been working with any of the movements or less than six months then you should ALWAYS be jumping in small increments. No more than 5 pounds for Oly lifts and no more than 10 pounds for the traditional lifts. After 6 to 18 months, you can start to make bigger jumps – 10 pounds for Oly lifts and 20+ pounds for traditional lifts. After 18+ months of training age, you should be familiar with the movements and confident to know appropriate jumps. 

Snatch vs Clean & Jerk

Another variable is the difference between snatch and clean & jerk jumps. Again, if you are a novice lifter I would recommend always doing small jumps. For those that have been doing it a while but still not sure of the jumps, I would approach Snatch will be very small to moderate jumps once you get to 80-85+%. Stick to 1 to 5kg jumps (2-10lb) jumps. The reason for that is snatch is a very technical and explosive movement so the more reps and attention to detail will pay dividends in the later sets. It also doesn’t tax you that much to do more reps at high percentages, even for those on the national and international levels. 

For clean & jerk you can get away with making bigger jumps up to 85-90% and making 5 to 10kg jumps (10-22lbs). Cleans require a lot of strength and power and will fatigue you more by a significant amount.

See this example table of recommended jumps for snatch and clean & jerk.

Back Squats & Deadlifts

Back squats and deadlifts you can make crazy jumps! (Again, depending on training age and familiarity with the movements.) Some people have even made 50 kg jumps on back squats (smiley face).

Bench Press & Shoulder Press

Pressing movements are another group where smaller jumps are usually better, especially as you near your max effort. It’s ok to make larger jumps in weight (5-10%) while you are below 75% of your max but once you pass that point, smaller jumps are recommended so you don’t waste your effort by missing lifts with too heavy of a weight.

They make ¼ pound plates for a reason! Make the most of your PR day by making appropriate jumps in weight to make your lifts count and to set new personal bests! 

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