Donovan Ford

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While I am at the world team camp for a couple of weeks, I thought I would interview some of the top lifters in the USA.  There are 4 MDUSA athletes on the world team but I thought I would start things out by profiling one of the lifters at the OTC.

Donovan Ford is a lifter that I have liked since way back in my CalStrength days, in fact I tried to convince him to come and train at CalStrength but he ended up at the OTC.  That was probably for the best, because he has done extremely well and has become one of the top ranked lifters in the USA.

Donovan has been lifting for almost 10 years, having started as a sophomore in high school.  He started competing for Hassle Free barbell with Paul Doherty as his coach.  The Hassle Free club is a high school based club so many of the lifters compete in other high school sports, and Donovan played football, as well as competing in track and field.  He played football for 3 years, and did the shot put and disc for one year.

Donovan had the chance to play football in college, but chose weightlifting instead.  One of the reason is that he felt that in weightlifting he could control his own destiny, which was not possible with football.  A sense of self control was important to Donovan, he thinks that was because he grew up in the foster care system and  during his childhood he had very little control over his life.  in high school his training program was usually 5 days per week.  The program looked very “normal” consisting of 3 days a week of snatching, 3 days a week of clean and jerks, and squats and pulls.  He says that he trained particularly hard on the squat, because Paul was determined that none of his lifters would miss lift because of a lack of leg strength.

Looking back on his early training at Hassle Free, Donovan feels like the strong points of that prigram were that he had a well rounded training program, and not a lot of pressure.  He says weightlifting was always fun at Hassle Free, and that is a big reason he fell in love with the sport  Donovan ways Paul Doherty was very good at keeping kids motivated

One of the regrets that Donovan has is that there was not enough focus on proper technique during his first few years of lifting.

Donovans first coach at the OTC was Paul Fleschler, who was there for about 3 months after Donovan got there.  Bob Morris took over the OTC program after that and coached Donovan for about 9 months, then the OTC hired Zygmund Smalcerz, who coached Dovpvan for the next 5 years and is still his coach today.

The training program at the OTC is similar to the program at MDUSA, they train 9 sessions per week, 2 sessions per day on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and one session on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  Squatting is done Tuesday Thursday, and Saturday.

I have a sample training program from Donovan so you can get an idea what he is doing at the OTC.  Obviously the program changes from week to week so the weights and the intensities change but this should give you a good general feel for how they train.

Monday   August  5

1. Push-snatch      70/6    90/5    110/4    130/3    145/2   155/1

2.     Snatch hip/knee   50/1/1    70/1/1   90/1/1   110/1/1    120/1/1

3. Pull snatch/snatch box below knee      70/2/2    90/2/2    120/2/2     135/2/2    4/145/2/2

4. Pull snatch/knee                                2/160/1/1    2/170/1/1   2/180/1/1

5. Split squat forward                            120/3    150/3    180/3     200/3    210/3

Tuesday   August   6

1. Press in split    40/6    50/5    60/4    70/3    75/2

2. Jump to split   70/2    100/2    130/2    150/2    170/2

3. Jerk back collors       70/2    90/2    110/2    140/2    160/2    175/2

4. Dip                          185/2    195/2   205/2   215/2

5. Back squat               3/235/3

Wednesday   August    7

1. Clean knee/squat jerk     60/1/2     80/1/2     100/1/2    120/1/2    140/1/2

2. Pull clean/clean below knee/squat/dip        70/1/1/1/1      100/1/1/1/1     130/1/1/1/1    160/1/1/1/1    4/175/1/1/1/1

3. Pull clean down        2/190/2    4/200/2

4. Press in seating snatch grip      60/6    70/5   80/4    90/3   100/2   105/1   3/90/4

5. Rowing         60/6    80/5   100/4   115/3    130/2    140/1

Thursday    August   8

1. Drop bar/squat70/6/1    90/5/1    110/4/1   130/2/1    140/1/1

2. Snatch without moving feet          60/2    80/2   95/2   105/2   115/2   125/2

3. Pull snatch bench                         150/6    160/6   4/170/6

4. Front squat                                140/2    170/2    190/2    3/210/2

Friday   August   9

1. Press in snatch    40/6    50/5   60/5   65/3   70/2

2. Pull snatch/snatch70/2/2    100/2/2    120/2/2   135/2/2    6/145/2/2

3. Press in seating               60/6    75/5    85/4   3/95/3

4. Pull clean/clean/dip           70/2/2/1    100/2/2/1    130/2/2/1    160/2/2/1    6/175/2/2/1

5.Rowing                            70/6    90/5    110/4    130/2    140/1   120/6

Saturday   August  10

1. Press in split     50/6    60/5    70/4    75/3   80/2

2. Jerk in split       80/2   100/2    120/2    135/2    145/2

3. Jerk back/jerk   90/1/1    110/1/1   130/1/1    150/1/1   170/1/1    155/1/1    175/1/1   160/1/1   180/1/1

4. Jerk position     200/2   210/2    220/2    230/2

5. Back squat       200/2    230/2    245/2    260/2

Add in 2 or 3 sessions at sports med for contrast baths, and a massage or two and you have the training program for the USA’s current top 105kg lifter.

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