Just Work Out.
May 9, 2012
The following is for the weightlifters whom I’m currently coaching. I decided to throw it on here for you guys in case you are new to the sport, don’t have a coach or don’t have any idea what your doing. It could give you some ideas for how you plan your own training. As always, I would use caution before listening to anything that self-proclaimed internet gurus have to say. It’s cool though. I’m no guru. I spend all my time lifting weights. And I didn’t start lifting weights so I could get smarter.
Our numbers are growing; and as we grow together as a team, so does our need to get organized. I suppose the first order of business is to explain to all of you the rationale behind our training schedule, if only to clear up any confusion you have or to give you comfort in knowing that there is in fact some level of reasoning involved in what we do in the gym. I’m not saying that this is the “right” way to train for Olympic weightlifting. Obviously there are many ways to go about planning a training program. This is just what I’ve found to work based on my experiences in the sport.
There are three “primary” lift days in the week. By “primary,” I mean that on these days, the primary focus will be on the full lifts or a variation exercise. Such variations could include work off the blocks, from the hang, or a combination of movements taken to a high percentage of your maximal weights. More often than not, I’ll have you work up in weight until you start missing or until you’ve found the weight in which you’ll be performing your work sets, after which, you will probably perform a few sets of drop sets or even work up in weight again with the same movement or a variation of the respective lift. In the past, CC and I have had great success with “wave” workouts or workouts that involve working up and down in weight multiple times per exercise. On one of those days, preferably the third day, you will take up the full lifts to a “max” single or at least a “max” with respect to all the work you’ve done earlier in the week or where you are in your training cycle. Keep in mind the sets and reps that you’ve been performing on your squat days will have a great impact on what you will be hitting on your heavy days. If you can only come in three times per week, then these will be your three days. I think this goes without saying, but these days should NOT be back to back with one another. That’s why CC and I traditionally have M, W, F as our primary days, Friday being our heavy day. If you can’t come in at least three times per week, then next month you should probably take the money that you pay me and buy something else with it, because you will not get better at this sport practicing it a couple of times per week.
If you have time to come in more often, than you have the option of two “accessory” days in between your primary days. These days are useful to work out the aches and pains that you’re most likely feeling from the day before as well as work on your technique. The focus will still be on the lifts, but the percentages will be much lighter when compared to your maxes on the full lifts. These days could be as simple as getting a few sets of power snatches and cleans in. Push presses, snatch balances and other accessory lifts can be performed. Just know that we are here to get better at snatches and clean and jerks. If you want to get really good at overhead squats, go ahead. Just know that it might not help you when it’s time to get on the platform. A few years back, I was able to overhead squat 190kg. My best snatch at the time was 130 and some change. Just sayin’. Lately, CC and I have been getting a little fancier with our technique drills, including things such as: no feet, no hook snatches, presses and jerks from the split, snatches off the risers, push jerks, squat jerks and whatever else we can think of. Last Tuesday, I had her stand on a line, jerk, and then hold her feet in the correct position. I placed mats next to where her feet were to give her markers, ensuring that she wouldn’t overextend her back leg. I’ll usually do my squats on these days due to time constraints on my primary days.
Speaking of squats, they should be performed 2-3 times per week. Stay tuned because, I’m working on a proper squat program for all of us to follow.
If you have time for a 6th day, then this will be your volume squat day. Anything else you do is up to you. If you want to bro out and super set concentration curls with tricep pull-downs, go ahead. Have fun. I’ll be there to spot you and make sure you get a few forced reps for optimal pump.
As far as my own training is concerned, I usually get 9 sessions per week in. I like to get a morning session in on my primary days to work out the kinks and alleviate some pain for my second session. There are times during the year when I will do more or less work during my morning sessions, sometimes using them as my squat days. So far, CC is the only one who will also occasionally get some double days in. Before the meet this last weekend, we both went in that morning to take up our lifts just high enough to break a sweat and make our warm-ups in the afternoon crisp and pain free.
Whelp, that’s it. The most important thing I can say is to not over think all this stuff. Just get in the gym and work out. Let me worry about all this stuff. That’s what I’m here for.