Training Program for the Beginner

The beginner must first be taught the proper technique of the Olympic style lifts and other basic strength building exercises. After the beginner has learned the proper technique, he should be put on a sound training program. The training sessions should last approximately one hour and fifteen minutes and should include a variety of lifts. On the classical lifts, five sets of three repetitions are used and for basic strength work five sets of five repetitions should be done. For the first sixty days, bench marks are used instead of percentages. When a lifter can do a perfect set with the required number of repetitions, his sets are increased by 5 kg. Start with a lightweight and increase the load each set. If technique breaks down, stop the set and reduce the weight. Progressive overload is the key to making progress, but never sacrifice proper technique for added weight. Close supervision is a must.

A sample of a beginners program includes the following:

Mon                                    Wed                                  Fri

1. warm-up                 1. warm-up                  1. warm-up
2. stretch                    2. stretch                      2. stretch
3. snatch                     3. jerk from rack          3. snatch
4. clean & jerk            4. power snatch           4. clean & jerk
5. front squat               5. power clean             5. back squat
6. snatch pull               6. step-ups                   6. clean pull
7. overhead squat        7. stiff leg dead lifts       7. press behind neck
8. bench press              8.  incline press             8.   d.b. bench press
9. abdominal exercise   9. hyperextension          9. Abdominal exercise
10. jumps                    10. jumps                     10. jumps
11. stretch                   11. stretch                    11. stretch

At the conclusion of sixty days a test week is needed for the snatch, clean & jerk and squats. The lifter is then ready to start a program using the classic periodization model with percentages based on the lifter's one rep maxs. Pulls are done with 7.5 kg. more than the snatch and clean & jerk.

Periodization is a term used that means varying the weight, repetitions and sets with heavy load training sessions and lighter load training sessions and heavy load week and light load week. Periodization is divided into three periods: prepatory, competitive and transitional. There is a macrocycle ( annual training plan ), a mesocycle ( 3-6 weeks ) and a microcycle ( the weekly plan ). For beginning lifters, we incorporate two six week cycles into a twelve week training plan. Two week loading followed by one week unloading is used throughout. The thirteenth week includes an intersquad meet which produces new maximum lifts and promotes the spirit of competition. A light week is taken and then a new cycle begins based on the prior cycle. The total volume (number of repetitions ) for the twelve week cycle is 3900. The intensity ( percent of max ) will increase during the time from 60% to 100%. Over the twelve week cycle, we gradually increase the intensity and lower the volume. Remember during this period of training it is important to emphasize to the lifter that if he is going to be a champion, he must develop a foundation of basic strength, explosive power, perfect technique and desire to train hard "Drug Free", Taking drugs is not an option in our program.

Example of a 12 week cycle:

        Cycle 1
W1    65%                             Lifts
W2    75%                             4 reps for snatch, clean&jerks
W3    70%                             6 reps for strength exercises
W4    80%

        Cycle 2
W5    70%                             Lifts
W6    80%                             3 reps for snatch, clean&jerks
W7    75%                             5 reps for strength exercises
W8    90%

        Cycle 3
W9     80%                             Lifts
W10   90%                             2 reps for snatch, clean&jerks
W11   85%                             4 reps for strenght exercises
W12   100%

On the 12th week a one rep max may be done.   Remember every 3 weeks should have a reduction in volume and intensity.

For a coach who is just starting in Olympic style weightlifting, I recommend he attend a USA Weightlifting Level 1 Sports Performance Accrediation Course for detail information on training plans.

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