Thursday, October 9, 2008

Training For Qualified Lifters - Arkady Vorobiev

Training for Qualified Lifters
by Arkady Vorobiev

The training program which is best suited for qualified lifters differs significantly from the program for beginners. The main precept or principle in the training work of the master lifter is the development of strength. Keeping this principle in mind, the advanced lifter trains with maximum poundages and employs various assistance exercises. In conjunction with his strength training, the lifter also develops his speed, condition and flexibility. These exercises must be integrated by the lifter in his training program prior to its inception.

Depending on how efficiently the lifter masters technique, approximately 50 to 80% of his total training load will be devoted to assistance exercises. These will be most effective if they are devoted to the increasing of muscular strength. In some of these assistance exercises (for example, pulls for the snatch and pulls for the jerk) the lifter is able to train with from 10 to 30 kg. (22 to 66 lbs.) heavier weights than he would use in contest lifting.

However, the lifter must not forget technique. The lifting technique at a contest can deteriorate rather rapidly, especially with heavier weights, if technique is not practiced systematically.

There are lifters who in spite of the excellent results they have attained have mastered technique very poorly. They would achieve better results if they would devote more of their training time to training on technique. There are also lifters, who show a rather insignificant deficiency, a deficiency on which they have spent much time in vain, in order to remove this deficiency. 90% of their training load is devoted for this reason to Olympic or Contest lifting. It is evident that a training program such as this cannot give excellent results. The only thing which can help here is a change of training habits from the bottom up with a significantly greater emphasis being placed on the assistance exercises.

How much emphasis should be placed on the assistance exercises in the program depends not only on the technical qualifications of the lifter, but, on the contrary, on the training time or period. For the nearer we are to an important contest, the more time must be spent on Olympic lifting (or the 3 lifts). If a lifter often takes part in contests, we must change the training program before each contest.

At present much disagreement exists among coaches as regards which discipline one should begin with in his training program. Many prefer to begin in a traditional manner with Pressing.

During the period from 1950 to 1960 many world records in the Press were broken by Soviet lifters. During this same time period of time the number of records set in the snatch and clean & jerk were much fewer. One of the primary causes of this, according to my opinion, is an incorrect training plan. The training would often begin with 10 or 15 sets of Presses, which would result in the lifters being tired or exhausted when it came time for them to practice snatching and the clean & jerk. Such a training plan is not well chosen (selected), because training for the Press often results if the lifter holding his breath, which is very strenuous, and the blood circulation is rendered very difficult. To stand up and to press a heavy weight any repetitions with a greater of lesser degree of backbend burdens the vertebral (spinal) column and places a great degree of pressure on the discs between the spinal bones. Therefore, it is better if one divides training volume for the Press up into 2 or 3 different parts (sections). One should perform 6 to 6 sets in the beginning of the training session and several sets in the middle and the rest at the end of the training session.

Such a division of training for the Press will exert a favorable effect o the overall system of training. Other exercises between the training for the Press will be like a pause in the training for the presser. Many lifters are by nature excellent pressers an therefore results in pressing will show the greatest improvement, even though they spend significantly more tie and energy in training for the snatch and clean & jerk.

In order to at least remedy such weaknesses, one should begin his training with the discipline in which one is the weakest. A week or ten 10 days before the contest one should practice the lifts in the proper sequence just as in a contest; i.e. Press, Snatch, Clean & Jerk.

Let us study a typical training program (for someone who is a first class lifter) a little more closely.

First we have the warm-up period of 10 to 15 minutes, which includes exercises for speed and flexibility. After this, lifting follows, which usually begins with the Press. The lifter begins with a weight which is 40 to 45 kg. below his best, and presses this weight at least 3 to 4 repetitions per set. He then increases the weight by 10 kg. and completes 3 lifts with this weight. After this he takes his ‘fundamental weight’ which is 10 to 15 kg below his best and performs 5 to 6 sets with 2 to 3 repetitions. With this he concludes his first series in the Press.

After warming up by imitating snatching, we begin the training for the snatch with a weight which is 40 to 50 kg below our best. We snatch this weight 2 to 3 repetitions. In the next 1 to 2 sets we increase the weight 10 to 15 kg and we complete 2 reps in each set. It is advisable not to perform more repetitions because this exerts a disadvantageous effect on coordination. After this the weight is increased 15 to 20 kg and we now have our ‘fundamental weight’ – with this the lifter performs at least 7 to 8 sets with 1 to 2 repetitions.

If the result in snatching is unsatisfactory due to faulty technique then it is suitable at the conclusion of training to perform 4 to 5 sets in snatching from knee height or somewhat higher (dead-hang snatches). Pulls for the Clean & Jerk, whereby the bar is loaded with 5 to 10 kg over the lifter’s best in jerking and lifted to waist height – this gives strength in the legs and back for pulling and cleaning – 5 to 6 sets should be performed with 2 to 3 repetitions.

In all of the three Olympic lifts the same muscle groups are employed. This is to a certain extent one-sided work and tires one quickly. In order to counteract this and to increase the ability to work, it is useful to change the position of the body and to burden other muscle groups. A useful exercise in this respect is the Press on an incline bench, which does not hinder the blood circulation as much as the standing Press. It also does not burden the spine and the back and leg musculature as much as the standing Press. 3 to 4 sets with 4 to 5 reps is suitable in this exercise.

A. R. Roman has discovered that strength in the Bench Press increases most significantly if one uses a weight which can be pressed 5 repetitions. Pressing on a bench with an incline of 60 to 70 degrees is similar to the usual contest pressing and can be substituted for standing Presses to a great extent in training. Many or our lifters and others including Vlasov, complete the greatest part of their training in the Press on incline benches, whereby the angle inclination can be varied.

In order to reach high standards in the Press, and in order to surpass them, a great deal of training is required and demanded. If a lifter conducts all of this training in the standing position, one can soon overburden the spinal column. Therefore, one has to conduct a part of his training for the Press on the bench because, as was mentioned before, it is less strenuous on the spinal column. After the training in the Press on the incline bench one performs 4 to 5 sets in snatching, dead hand snatches from knee height, during which time one concentrates principally on lifting technique. It is also not a bad idea to perform 2 to 3 sets with 3 to 4 repetitions in the snatch executed in the flip snatch position without splitting or squatting.

Squat style lifters should never forget to perform regular deep knee bends with the barbell on the chest (front squats). One starts with 3 to 4 repetitions with 20 to 30 kg below his best result in the jerk. In the next set you increase the weight 10 to 15 kg and in the following set you again increase the weight until the weight being lifted equals your best in the Clean & Jerk or 5 to 10 kg above it. At least 3 to 4 sets with 2 to 4 repetitions are completed with this weight.

If leg strength is not sufficient one has to perform squats or leg training on almost every training day. It is considered evident that a lifter does not try to approach his peak poundages at every training session.

The training is concluded with dumbbell or barbell training on the parallel bar or exercises on the Roman Rings. After this, light running is engaged in, followed by walking and sleep inducing exercises. This is also an excellent time to engage in some flexibility work. The purpose of this concluding training is to make the transition (passage) easy between the intensive work during training and the passive training which follows it. In this program the lifter completes 35 to 40 sets. This represents a lot of work which only a well and thoroughly trained sportsman can achieve.

After the completion of the first series in the Press, the lifter follows the same plan as on the previous day, only now he trains on the Clean & Jerk. He begins with a weight which is 50 to 60 kg below his best. In the next set he increases the weight by 20 to 30 kg and after that right up to his ‘fundamental weight’ which is 15 to 20 kg below his peak weight. With this weight the lifter completes 6 to 7 sets with 1 to 2 repetitions. When the lifter is certain that his jerk from the chest is correct, then he will concentrate primarily on his cleans.

Because a lifter uses the heaviest weights in the Clean & Jerk the spine is severely taxed, especially in the moment of jerking from the chest. Therefore, it is suitable to divide up training for the jerk into two parts.

After the training for the Jerk, a lifter can perform light squats, 2 sets of 3 to 4 repetitions or standing snatches (flip snatches). These will serve as an active rest period. One can also rest for 5 to 6 minutes before beginning the next movement.

This is also an excellent time to perform pulls for the snatch. The lifter places a weight on the bar which is 5 to 10 kg higher than his best snatch. 5 to 6 sets with 2 to 3 reps each set are performed. Every pull is pulled as quickly and as high as possible. The next time when Pulls for the Snatch are in the program the movement is performed slower and with a weight which is 10 to 15 kg higher than the lifter’s best snatch.

It is customary that Pulls for the Snatch are performed on the same days as training for the Jerk. In Cleaning and Jerking one uses significantly higher poundages than in snatching, and this results in a great training load. If on this same day Pulls for the Jerk are practiced, then the training load can become too high. A combination of snatching and pulls for the jerk as well as jerking and pulls for the snatch will result as a rule in an equal or symmetrical training load. Naturally. taking all of this into consideration the number of lifts plays a significant role.

After the pulls for the snatch it is an appropriate time to practice the press with a wide grip and to alternate it the next time with a narrow grip employing 3 to 4 sets with 2 to 3 repetitions per set. The weight is so selected that 2 or 3 lifts after one another demand a rather strenuous effort.

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