Olympic Lifting Paragon Cycle – Fall 2022

12-Week Olympic Lifting Specialization Cycle

We are very excited to announce that the next Paragon cycle will be focused on Olympic Lifting! Get ready to do all the snatch and clean work!

New Cycles Begin Every 6 Weeks:

Paragon Strength/Metcon

Our Paragon program is for our people who love CrossFit and metcon-style workouts. all the strength training, Olympic lifting, gymnastics, and fun metcon or conditioning pieces 

The Quick & Dirty Details About Paragon Strength/Metcon:

  • 60-75 min workouts

  • Full equipment set-up needed

  • 4 programmed workouts each week, optional 5th day


Equipment Needed: 

  • Barbell

  • Dumbbells

  • Squat rack

  • Bench

  • Way to do cardio (rower, bike, ski erg, jump rope…)

Programming = All the Things You Love:

  • Olympic Lifting – this is specialization cycle, so you can expect to see lots of snatch, clean, and overhead work!

  • Strength training

  • Kipping gymnastics

  • Bodybuilding and accessory work

  • Fun conditioning or metcon-like pieces

^^ All put together in a way that won’t leave you feeling beatdown and burnout (:

Paragon Strength/Metcon = Our Take On Functional Fitness

It’s our more sustainable approach and what we wish most workouts looked like for those with no desire to compete at a high level.


Most people want the best of all worlds:

  • to look and feel great

  • to be healthy

  • to see progress and lift PR’s

  • to have fun and workout in a way they enjoy

So we made a program (that’s backed by science) that could do just that!

Olympic Lifting Specialization Cycle Deets:

Paragon Founder Bryan Boorstein here with some insights into the Fall 2022 training cycle on the newly named “Paragon Strength/Metcon” program (formerly “OG Paragon”).

This cycle is the inaugural “Olympic Specialization” cycle for this program.

While the cycle will still be complete with a mix of bodybuilding, gymnastics, and metabolic conditioning, the primary focus for the next 12 weeks will be on developing strength and efficiency on the Snatch and Clean and Jerk (and/or the variations for your level of training).

Key Elements:

There are two key elements that are ubiquitous across any specialty cycle:
1. Priority lifts are trained FIRST in the session
2. Priority lifts will receive more volume than the others

Element #1 is probably quite obvious for many of you. If you can perform a movement while fresh, you will be able to implement more mental focus.

This is especially important as movements increase in complexity (with Olympic lifting being the most complex lifting that exists, from a technical perspective).

When looking at element #2, we are talking about the general spectrum of training volume. We want to train with the OPTIMAL DOSE, where we adapt quickly, and aren’t limited by insufficient recovery.

We can think of this dose/response relationship as a glass of water. The capacity of the glass is our total recovery available. The water is the volume of training we’re doing.

If the glass overflows with water, we have exceeded our recovery capacity, and now we are starting to overtrain (meaning working harder, with less motivation, for minimal or no results).

Why Specialization?

The nature of specialization is such that certain muscle groups or lifts will receive additional training volume, while volume is decreased in other areas.

The good news is that we now have a few studies demonstrating that MAINTENANCE volume for a muscle group is about 1/3 of the dose that it took to build it.

This means that if you were doing 15 sets a week for a muscle group, you could maintain the muscle you built by doing only 5 sets per week.

The design of a specialty cycle will use this knowledge as leverage when constructing the program. Some muscle groups may reduce close to a maintenance volume temporarily so that others can be prioritized without exceeding recovery capacity.

Accessory Movements:

It is prudent to mention here that there are some repeating movements in this cycle that are more muscle-building focused.

Outside of the repeating movements, there will be plenty of stimulative bodybuilding style movements in the non-repeating sections (along with the usual dose of gymnastics and metabolic conditioning).

Olympic lifting is naturally heavy on stimulus for the shoulders, upper back, and quads.

Therefore, much of the accessory work this cycle will be focused more on the hamstrings/glutes, as well as the chest and lats (with a little bit of auxiliary work for the arms).

So essentially, you can be confident that the aesthetics of your physique should not be negatively impacted by putting your primary focus on improving your Olympic lifts over the next 12 weeks!

Weight Selection For Olympic Lifting:

The Olympic lifts are the most technically challenging lifts in any strength sport.

This is important to fully internalize because it has a huge impact on the way in which you complete reps and how heavy you will go.

When you realize that the SKILL component of Oly lifting is the paramount feature that makes someone successful, you will be able to make sense of this component, as it compares to other sports.

Imagine a basketball player trying to lift a ball that was too heavy, or a tennis player trying to perfect his swing with a weighted racket. These features would disrupt the ability of the athlete to perfect the technique needed for their sport.

Now think about the top Olympic Lifting athletes.

Yes, they are certainly strong. They can squat and deadlift a lot of weight. But what makes them able to drop under a 400+ lbs snatch, and stand it up, isn’t the incredible strength; it’s the skill.

It’s the ability to control the path of the bar and move the body in space in such a way that it is an art.

All of this is a meandering way to illustrate the point that in a skill sport, execution is paramount over load.

It is widely understood at this point, that strength and skill are best developed farther away from failure because failure interferes with habit formation. We want to make success a habit.

Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. Bad practice makes permanent.

A Note On Failure & Testing:

There will be a time to TEST our strength and skill at the end of the cycle.

During the preceding 11 weeks until we test, we want to make success such a feature of our lifting, that we don’t know how to fail. In this manner, many of you will surprise yourselves with how much progress you’ve actually made during this cycle.

You will also remain injury free. Failing Olympic Lifting reps has an extremely high correlation with aggravation injuries.

Cycle Progression:

Usually, the blog for this “Strength Metcon” program includes a breakdown of the REPEATING MOVEMENTS and how to go about implementing the progression.

Rather than addressing each movement individually, I would rather you take the prudent approach as described above, as opposed to trying to force a progression that may have a negative impact on your execution.

Throughout the course of this cycle, we will see the predominant rep targets shift downwards as we go.

So in week 1, all of the Oly lifts are implemented as 5-4-3-2-1 rep scheme. In this sequence, the 5-rep set is essentially your first warm-up set (after any “empty bar” drills you want to do).

As we go through the weeks, you will see these rep numbers shift to 3-3-2-2-1, then 3-2-2-1-1, then 3-2-1-1-1, etc… with the intention to eventually reach a place where we are doing MOSTLY single reps.

Especially in the case of Oly lifts, higher rep targets will often lead to a breakdown in form on the latter reps of a set. The more we can focus our energy and efforts on single and double reps, the less form breakdown we will see.

Each week in the programming, I’ll add a sentence or two that describes the rep scheme progression for that specific week.

Alternative Movements:

The final discussion point around this cycle is a reminder to look at the “alternative movements” you can SWAP for the listed movement.

For example, on one of the days, the listed movement is a SQUAT CLEAN (from the ground).

For those that are not technically proficient at this full movement, we have listed two possible swaps:

  • Hang Squat Clean: This puts the bar into the OPTIMAL starting position, instead of having to be accurate with the “first pull” off the ground (this is a very complicated part of the rep, as the timing and positioning need to be just right).

  • Hang Power Clean + Front Squat: This is another step down the ladder, making easier some of the complicated aspects of the clean. Instead of having to catch the bar while simultaneously moving your body under the bar into the squat, you can get the bar up to the shoulders, then set yourself up to squat the bar.

Similar movement scales exist across the spectrum of the cycle.

Paragon Olympic Lifting Sample Workouts:

New Training Cycles Begin Every 6 Weeks:

LCK and Bryan from Paragon Training Methods

Paragon's Story

“They say the best companies from solving a problem. Paragon Training Methods started w/ solving mine.”

– Paragon Founder, LCK 

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