|The Programming and Organization of Training For Weightlifters|
The importance of correctly programming one's training cannot be overemphasized. Many times training advice is offered that is quantitative, very specific, and most often takes only a short term approach. As a result, one is often presented with a "one size fits all" training regimen that yields at best temporary gains and at worst leads to a fall in the standard of progress. The purpose of this article is to outline a more general approach. Five basic areas will be considered. They include:
1) Primary Aims in Programming Training
2) Models for Structuring Annual Training
3) Practical Principles of Programming
4) A Sequence for programming Annual Training
5) Managing the Training Process
Hopefully, the interested reader will come away with an enhanced view on how to more effective program either their own training or that of their students.
Primary Aims in Programming Training
1) The aim of exploiting the current adaptive reserves of the body, which is associated with the organization of loading based on the characteristics of adaptation to specialized training. Within the annual cycle, one plans the macrocycles, their specific objectives and the contents, volume, and organization of loading necessary to achieve these objectives. The macrocycles should be incorporated into the years training system so that the special work capacity peaks at the time of the athlete's most important competition. It is appropriate to fit at least two large macrocycles into the annual cycle, even in those sports which have one main competitive period and use mono-cyclic periodization.
2) The aim of preserving the training potential of the loading, which is associated with systematically increasing the intensity and specificity of the training influence, according to the rise in work capacity. This is achieved by applying the conjugate sequence system of organizing loading of different primary emphasis.
3) The aim of concentrated use of extensive, specialized, uni-directional loading to stimulate the body to significantly raise it's special physical preparedness. In order to promote steady, functional adaptation, the training influence should be of optimal intensity, frequency, and duration. The method of concentration may be applied to loading of any primary emphasis. It is particularly effective for special strength loading which can serve as a relatively independent block in the annual training scheme. It's purpose is to create a functional base for the subsequent special preparation associated with perfecting technical skills and developing speed or special endurance.
4) The aim of exploiting the delayed training effect of concentrated strength loading is primarily to determine systematic ways of regulating the general volume of loading in the annual cycle and effectively use specialized strength work to create favorable conditions for improving technique, speed, and competitive preparedness.
5) The aim of transcending the emphasis of Special Physical Preparedness, which stresses the key role of this training in improving the performance of highly qualified athletes. This aim is associated with organizing training where SPP precedes in-depth technique or speed work.
6) The aim of modeling competition activities is associated with reproducing training work that typifies competitive conditions, especially regarding the execution of sporting actions at the high intensity that is encountered in competition. This is a very effective form of special training, improving the athletes physical, psychological, technical-tactical, and competitive
These aims form the foundation for devising general strategies for organizing training and establishing a definitive method of programming training quantitatively. However, adherence to these aims will lead to success only if all the preceding preparation has been systematic and the athlete has achieved well balanced technical and special physical preparedness. To achieve these aims, one must institute measures that take into account actual conditions, the individual characteristics of the athlete,and the specifics of the sport.
Models for Structuring Annual Training
Two types of models are distinguished: qualitative and quantitative. The qualitative model describes the dynamics of the athletes state (the functional indicators) which can include but need not be limited to: maximal strength, power, explosive strength, muscular endurance, and aerobic capacity. And the most important parameters of the training means which can include but need not be limited to: average intensity level, tonnage, plyometrics, running (aerobic,anaerobic, and speed), circuit training with medicine ball, technique and the interconnections of the components of the training process (i.e. concentrated loading and the phasic structure of the mesocycles and microcycles). The quantitative model contains all numerical aspects of the composition and organization of training in microcycles, mesocycles, and macrocycles such as calculation of volume, intensity,and duration of stages and the loading distribution indifferent intensity zones.
1) The specific months of the year are not designated. Each model consists of about 11 months since, on average, one month is allotted for the final transition period.
2) Models of systems of training construction include two components for each sporting group: a model of the dynamics of the athletes state (functional indicators) and a model of the program of loading (training means). The scheme of training construction in each sporting group is based on that periodization regime of annual training which best characterizes it.
3) The model of the dynamics of the athletes fitness state includes the most important functional indicators which reflect special work capacity. One can use any method which enables the coach to measure the values of these indicators.
4) All models utilize the principle of concentrated special strength loading, which elicits the delayed training effect. The strength loading is represented by blocks which are timed to occupy specific stages of the annual cycle.
5) By describing the features of training organization, the models present the most desirable trend in the distribution in the volume of loading of different emphasis over the annual cycle and the variation of this loading over time. However, this variation is not precise. The use of blocks should not create the impression that the concentrated loads are applied suddenly at peak intensity according to some step function: the actual loading follows a concentrated wave pattern which gradually reaches a peak and then subsides in volume.
6) The boundaries of the stages and the dates of major competitions in the given model are based on the most typical schemes of events in each sport. However, if the actual calendar is taken into account, they can vary somewhat so as to fulfill the general principles of loading organization.
Practical Principles of Programming
1) Organization of training should provide favorable conditions for promoting functional adaptation of the body within the constraints of the competition calendar. The calendar should be coordinated with the periods and durations of the macrocycles. The contents of each of these stages is determined so as to enhance the current adaptive reserves (CAR) of the body.
2) The optimal period for enhancing the CAR is about 20 weeks for the efficient loading of highly qualified athletes. However, the period of enhancing the CAR can be increased or decreased over a small range, which requires an appropriate increase or decrease in the concentration of loading. It is important in this case not to exceed the optimal time limit, since excessive intensification of training can disrupt adaptation.
3) To determine the boundaries of the macrocycle, one should be guided only by the dates of the main competitors. This rule should not be broken for any reason, including the desire to demonstrate impressive results in the beginning of the season.
4) There is some difference between the contents of the two macrocycles in the annual cycle. The loading of the preparatory phase is more specialized and intense in the second macrocycle than the first.Therefore, the first macrocycle should always be considered as the foundation for the second. The interest of intermediate competitions should not alter this objective.
When planning the annual cycle one should be aware of the detrimental effect that competitive loading has on the athletes state, since it leads to serious exhaustion of nervous energy. Therefore, during the transition to the next macrocycle, it is necessary to include a recuperation period, the duration of which is determined individually, depending on the difficulty of the competitive stage.
A Sequence for Programming Annual Training
1) Determination of improvement in sporting results and their dates of achievement.
This is the primary objective of training: this refers to the prescription and sequencing of specific training loads of a particular intensity, volume, and duration to achieve a predicted performance goal in a given competition. Here, a multi-faceted objective assessment of the athletes potential and the competition calendar are the basis for making the calculation. One takes into consideration the progress of the athletes preparation during the preceding training stages and those changes which are realistically feasible in the current year at his level of mastery. The calculations rely on a predictive model of the dynamics of the sports results relative to the competition calendar.
2) Determination of the necessary changes in Special Physical Preparation and Technical-Tactical proficiency.
This is necessary for ensuring that the athlete achieves the desired performance goals in the given competitions. The calculations are based on an objective assesment of the athletes special preparedness, analysis of the rate of improvement in functional capabilities in the preceding stages and the identification of those capabilities that need to be enhanced. The calculation is expressed in the form of specific goals, relative to the functional indicators and the characteristics of technical proficiency which must be achieved in the most important competitions. Subjective ratings of perceived effort can be very useful in offering further guidance.
3) Formulation of qualitative models of the dynamics of the fitness state in the annual cycle.
The competition calendar, the level of special physical preparedness and the dates of the main competition form the basis for this calculation. The calculation is reflected in the trends important functional indicators so that these indicators peak at the main competitions.
4) Selection of the composition of the training means and methods.
This stipulates the required increase in special physical preparedness and technical-tactical proficiency during all stages of training. The determination is made by assessing the training potential of the means and methods, as well as the desired increase in special physical preparedness.
5) Calculation of the general volume of loading for all the training means.
This is necessary for meeting the objectives of the physical, technical-tactical, and competition preparation of athletes. The accumulated effect of the loading in all preceding stages and the chosen forms of loading organization of different primary emphasis form the basis for making this calculation.
6) Division of the annual cycle into macrocycles.
This is determined by the structure and strategic objectives of the periodization regime. The calculation is made by taking into account the competition calendar and the dates necessary for optimal increase in the body's current adaptive reserves.
7) Calculation of the distribution of loading over the annual cycle.
This involves all of the means used to achieve the desired dynamics of the fitness state of the athlete. The calculation is based on careful analysis of the preceding training stages, the general volume of loading in each stage, the principal model of training construction for the specific sport, and the major objectives of programming training. The calculation is expressed in terms of the quantitative dynamics of the loading imposed by the fundamental training means over the annual cycle.
8) Organization of training loads over the macrocycle.
The calculation is based on the principles of macrocycle construction, the characteristics of the delayed training effect of concentrated strength loading, and the forms of organization of loading of different primary emphasis. The calculation is expressed in the form of a detailed training program giving the specific distribution of loading during each of the mesocycles which constitute the macrocycle. Provision should always be made available for introducing contingency changes in programs necessitated by unforeseen incidents such as injuries, changes in competitive timetables, and personal trauma.
Managing the Training Process
1) One should first select the most informative fitness characteristics in order to assess special physical preparedness, technical proficiency, and psychological state of the athlete. These characteristics can be obtained by employing special lab methods, control exercises, or standardized field tests.
2) Control over the course of training can only be effective if one regularly analyzes the dynamics of the athlete's state. When doing this, (a) Testing should be done regularly once or twice a month, independent of the periodization of the structure of the training stages, (b) the testing procedure should not be excessively demanding on the time and energy of the athlete, (c) the testing conditions must be kept constant to exclude the possibility of random factors affecting the results, and (d) the testing must have functional relevance.
3) Management requires a systematic comparison (over monthly periods) of the actual results and the target goals of the training. If there is a discrepancy, it is necessary to carefully analyze the situation, determine the cause for such a discrepancy and revise the training program.
One should consider yet another important aspect of managing training, namely the keeping of meticulous training records. The documentation records all of the parameters of training and should provide clear and accessible application of its material, especially the principal strategic features of training construction.
1) A principal model of the annual training.
The model should clearly and concisely reflect the general strategy and the principal organization of the training.Therefore, it should be constructed in diagrammatic form. The principal model provides a good school for the coach's professional thinking and at the same time the graphic form of the model makes it easy for the coach to convey his ideas to pupils. The extent to which they understand his ideas will largely determine the success of the training. The recording of training loads and the calculation of loading intensity, volume, and distribution of loads in different intensity zones should follow a precise format.
2) A quantitative model of the training scheme.
This is calculated for the individual or the group on the basis of the principal model and includes the computation of the dynamics of the most important indicators of special physical preparedness relative to the competition calender. It stipulates the general annual volume of loading for all of the training means and its distribution by months, with the aim of achieving the planned dynamics of special preparedness reflected by the model. The annual cycle of training known to be successful with qualified athletes can serve as a model of the necessary training structure.
3) A program for the macrocycle of preparation.
This is worked out on the basis of weekly and monthly cycles in the organization of the loading. The chosen mesocyclic distribution of means of different primary emphasis takes into account the objectives of the macrocycle and the individual characteristics of the athlete's preparation. These are the fundamental working documents which the coach uses organize and control the training.
4) The individualized long term chart.
This describes the long term dynamics (volume, intensity, and duration) of the training load executed with the fundamental means, as well as the corresponding changes in the functional indicators which reflect the athlete's fitness state and sporting results. The composition of the chart is an important condition for the control and management of training, and chiefly for the analysis of its effectiveness and for making recommendations for future planning.
It is important not only to record the quantitative indicators of the athletic state, but also the athlete's own perceptions of how he feels daily in executing the prescribed training exercises, alongside observations of general state of health and motivation. Often, the onset of a cold, loss of appetite, mood changes, or altered sleep patterns may be more informative than mathematical calculations in detecting over-training in a timely manner. Finally, the chart would always make provisions for contingency training to cope with the unexpected or unplanned, such as soreness, injury or illness.
(This article was written by the late Jim O'Malley)
Fight until your very last breath!
Sean Waxman is the owner of Waxman’s Gym. It’s an Olympic Weightlifting And Sports Performance gym located in Southern California near the Los Angeles airport. Its the only gym in Southern California dedicated to all things Olympic Weightlifting!