Archive for “Weightlifting” Tag

Loading For High School Weight Training

By Wil Fleming

Much of the time spent in the weightroom will be dedicated to the coaching of athletes on the proper movements, positions, and providing general technical info needed to safely complete the movements with maximal return on the time invested. The other portion of the time of the strength coach will be spent on determining and helping to select the weights that athletes use.

The beginning stages of the high school athletes‘ career in the weightroom should be spent teaching athletes the right way to lift and train, cueing the right movements, and ensuring technical proficiency. Building these foundations with minimal external loading is extremely important.

Movements, and more importantly, proper movements form the foundation of a good program. Gyms and weightrooms with individuals moving poorly, will limit athletes from getting stronger and staying healthy.

high school athletes

Once the movements have been taught, drilled and perfected, it will be time to load the movements to create more strength. I will outline two effective strategies to do just that. One will be quite intuitive and allow for novice lifters to get great benefit from your program. The second is based on the athletes’ 1RM and require careful planning on your part.

The work up method

The work up method is one that can be used for any athlete for whom you do not know their current 1 RM. This method allows for great freedom in the weights used on any given day, but will always dial in to the perfect weight on a given day.

There are no specific percentages at which an athlete should be working when using the work up method. Instead it uses the ability of an athlete on a given day to reach the proper level of difficulty.

First, work up to your best set of the given reps on any day you are training. Some days will be better than others, but athletes should always work up to the best set that day with perfect form. Counting their sets backwards and count any set within 10% of your best as a work set. So for instance, let’s say snatch was prescribed for 4 sets of 3 reps and the athlete snatched the following sets:

40k x3 
50k x3 
60k x3 
70k x3 
80k x3 
85k x3  92% 
85k x3  
90k x3  
92k x3  100%

On this day you would count the highlighted sets. Each of these sets falls within 10% of the highest load on the snatch that day.

If for instance an athlete did the following sets on a snatch workout you may have to add another set below your highest weight to get the right number of work sets in.

40k x3 
60k x3 
70k x3 
80k x3 86% (do not count) 
90k x3 
92k x3 100%

Because only 2 sets were within 10% of your best on that day you could do the following to get the appropriate number of work sets.

85k x3 
85k x3

The work up method allows for high intensity training at the best level an athlete can reach on any given day. For large groups of athletes with varying levels of confidence and competence in the strength training this is an ideal method to use.

This method of loading is similar to the idea of rate of perceived exertion (RPE), or the Borg scale, that is typically used for aerobic training. While the Borg scale uses values from 6-20 (correlating roughly to heart rate when multiplied by 10), an RPE scale for strength training can be used in a 1-10 range (correlating to percentage used when multiplied by 10).

An RPE scale for strength training based on 1-10 would look something like the following.

Interesting Image

Modified from Tuchscherer, Michael (2008). The Reactive training manual.

For training in the work up method using weights on a given day that are between 9 and 10 will ensure the maximum training effect. Lifts in the 9-10 zone for a given rep scheme, will challenge athletes no matter the day.

In line with our need to promote recovery, on some weeks it will be important to coach athletes to train with the work up method, in the 6-7 zone. This will ensure complete recovery prior to a more difficult week of training.

The percentage method

The percentage method is most commonly used with higher level athletes. This method uses known 1 repetition maximums and specific percentages to prescribe training loads.

In a given training period the goals for the completion of the training cycle should be known. That is, what numbers would the coach and athlete like to hit by the end of the cycle. From these numbers all weights will be based.

The model for both linear periodization and undulating periodization that I used earlier both use percentages to estimate the appropriate load to be used on a given day. In that way the percentage (%) method is the most studied and established way of determining loads.

Prilepin’s table, designed by former Soviet weightlifting coach A.S. Prilepin can be used to closely predict the sets and reps used at differing levels of intensity.

Interesting Image

These two methods of loading can be used to accommodate nearly all high school athletes in your gym.

Selecting the Right Starting Position for Olympic Lifts (Part 1)

 

Athletes Options For Olympic Lifts

 

By Wil Fleming

 

Coaches everywhere, and a great percentage of coaches at that, choose to use some type of Olympic lift in their training of athletes. Typically this Olympic lift is a power clean, starting from the floor. While this is appropriate for plenty of athletes, there are multiple variations in the starting position, that it can be hard to determine which is the right place to start.

 

So lets take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of some of the variations in start position.

 

Floor Start Position

 

This is the typical start position and the one used in weightlifting competitions. This position is the one that as coaches we see high school athletes using most often in their high school training program.

 

In this position the athlete starts with the bar at rest on the floor, and the bar should be close (~1-2 inches) from the shins. Athletes starting in this position should slowly, and under control lift the from the floor, ultimately passing the knees.

 

Pros: This position is the position from which the most weight has ever been cleaned or snatched, has been lifted. This is due to the momentum gained from the correct pull off the floor. Using the floor start position requires the athlete to increase hip range of motion due to the low starting position.

 

Cons: This position requires great hip mobility, and therefore, if an athlete is lacking in hip mobility they will typically gain this lower start position through an increase in lumbar flexion. Lumbar flexion with loads in front of the spine have been attributed to greater shear forces on the spine and a corresponding higher incidence of back injury. The typical floor start position also requires athletes to move the bar by the knees. This area of movement is one that requires great technique and for many athletes means that their technical problems occur in this area. More lifts are missed due to the first pull moving around the knee than in any other area of the lift. Poor lifts will have an S pull where the bar will move forward to travel pass the knee.

 

Block Start Position

 

The block start position is used often in the technical training of competition weightlifters.

 

The actual start position can be adjusted in height to meet the goals of the training session, but typically the athlete will start from a static stance somewhere above the knee.

 

Pros: Block starts are a great teaching tool. Coaches can specify the exact starting position that the athlete must achieve. This position is usually close to the 2nd pull (the rapid acceleration of the bar), and requires very little thought from the athlete once the bar is in place. Cueing the pull from a block position is fairly easy for the coach, typically aggressiveness and explosiveness are the only thing needed. The block start position is great for starting strength, no momentum is used and the stretch shortening cycle is eliminated. Starting strength is great quality to develop for nearly any athlete.

 

Cons: Situating the athlete in the correct start position can be hard for the uninitiated coach, differing starting heights require differing positions that are sometimes very dissimilar. Blocks can also be expensive to purchase or difficult to assemble, and therefore many weight rooms or facilities do not allow for the possibility of coaching athletes from a block starting position.

 

There are even more possibilities for Olympic lift start positions stay tuned for Part 2 to learn about 2 of my favorite start positions for young athletes.

 

 

olymic lifts young athletes
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