Monday, July 22, 2013

Planning a Training Program, Part Four

Advanced Fitness Work

You will be working 5 days each week and attending the gym at least 3 days a week. Your running and jumping workouts will be more intensive and weights will be getting a bit heavier and circuits more severe. Here are your final schedules for the fitness phase.

A more intensive system is now introduced. This is known as interval running and the use of a stopwatch is to be highly recommended if you are to do this systematically. If you cannot lay your hands on one I suggest that you run the various distances at nearly top speed. Human nature being what it is you are unlikely to work so hard if you are not being timed.

1) 50 meters (approx. 8 sec) plus one minute walk back to the start and ready to repeat. Repeat 6 times.

2) 100 meters (approx. 15 sec) plus one minute walk back to the start and ready to repeat. Repeat 6 times.

3) 100 meters medium effort plus one minute walk back to the start and ready to repeat. Repeat 4 times.

4) 100 meters slow pace plus one minute walk back to the start and ready to repeat. Repeat 4 times.

5) 100 meters fast pace, 1.5 minutes recovery. Repeat 4 times.

6) 220 meters fast, 2 min. to recover. Repeat 3 times.

7) One slow 440 meter jog-trot.

I know lifters will find this a rather hard schedule but it is easy compared with those of track and field athletes and very much easier than those advised by weightlifting coaches in Eastern Bloc countries!

This workout should be done twice each week for the last month of the fitness phase.

Jumping movements will now be included in circuit and weight workouts but once weekly, maximum standing long and vertical jumps should be done and records kept of results.

Here is another circuit for twice-weekly practice at this phase of training:

Cheating curl
Seated press
Harvard steps
Jack knife
Squat jumps
Downward pulls with expander (or pullups or pulldowns) 

10-12 repetitions each. Really go for time improvement over the three times through the circuit. Finally, your weightlifting workout.

Knowing lifters as I do I am sure they will want to try some heavy lifting even during the fitness phase. I think these wishes must be accommodated; even in Russia it has been known for lifters to break into the gym in order to try heavy weights when advised against it! We must be systematic about heavy work and I suggest t hat during the fitness phase you limit heavy attempts to four evenly spaced heavy workouts. In these workouts you can go high on three or four movements, e.g. the two Olympics and a high pull, or perhaps the main lifts plus a squat and a pull. All other work should be along the lines given below. Here is your final fitness routine with weights still working on the principles outlined before. Research shows that "fitness" is specific; you may be very "fit" in some ways but not for other things. We want lifting fitness and this schedule will give this quality.

Press and squat
High pulls
Snatch form hang
Snatch without splitting or squatting
Fast heel raises (donkey style)
Slow, round-back deadlifts

Do 20 repetitions of each exercise. Whilst they must be done continuously there is no need for excessive speed, although only the round-back deadlift should be done slowly. You will, perhaps, be surprised to find that fairly respectable weights can be handled for 20 reps in some of the exercises. Some of them, however, will have you gasping for breath even with light weights so just take it easy and work for the full 20 repetitions. Although we are still after efficiency of the heart and lungs, muscular endurance is the main object here, and by the end of the fitness phase we should have a lifter who is super-fit specifically for weightlifting and ready to build real strength and power on to his improved fitness level. Light weights and high repetitions like these are necessary from a physiological point of view to produce a chemical reaction in the muscles which makes the fast twitch muscle fibers take over from the slow twitch ones and this is vital for Olympic lifters. Assistance work can produce these beneficial physiological characteristics. This should not be applied to the two Olympic lifts themselves, as light weights produce different movement patterns; in any case, skill lessens with the onset of fatigue so you would not be improving technique. On the contrary, you could be damaging it.

In the final fitness phase, group balancing and elementary tumbling is still advocated; games-playing is also highly desirable. The standard of skill in these activities is not important; it is the physical effect that interests us. Those walks and sport with the family also useful so make a habit of them. You will be all the better physically, more relaxed mentally, and more popular with friends and family, too, for later when it comes to the heavier stuff you will have little time or energy for such activities.

The sort of sports you should consider for this dual purpose (physical and social) work include tennis, squash, cycling, swimming, badminton, walking, hill walking, and horse riding. I am not in favor of skiing because of the risk of injury and also warn against contact sports for similar reasons. Wrestling, boxing, rugby, judo, and American football are good examples of the sort of thing I think competitive lifters should avoid.

You will notice that I have given guidance not only on the type of work but also on the amount and how many times weekly it should be done, although, being quite specific, it will be easy for coaches and lifters to adapt if they feel it necessary; notice also how you can choose the distribution of your workouts. For example, you may wish to do circuit training in conjunction with your gym nights, or you may wish to make this a short home-training workout. All this is possible under the scheme and I can see no earthly reason why it should not be followed closely.

Fitness is the most neglected phase of training in most countries, particularly Britain and America, and it is the aspect in which Poland, Russia, Bulgaria, and other top weightlifting countries shine.

Take the hing and make this an integral part of your annual training plan.

Next: The Fitness and Strength Phase.

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