Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Gainer's Gourmet, Part One

We may live without poetry, music and art,
We may live without conscience, and live without heart;
We may live without friends, we may live without books,
But civilized men cannot live without cooks.
- E.R. Bulwer-Lytton

[This book is a collection of recipes aimed at providing lifters looking to gain weight with a simple and highly effective means of doing just that. You might consider this a starting point for the budding cook/lifter, and later it could be looked at as a jumping off point when designing and cooking meals of slightly higher intricacy. I know it served me very well at exactly the time I needed it!] 

Introduction: Eating Big

Dietary advice and information have become incredibly general in our present time. Although certain dietary guidelines have been established and deemed healthy and appropriate by a few, this does not mean they should be accepted by all. This book goes against the general theories and the way they tend to be applied to all people regardless of their metabolism or lifestyle.

Diet is a very personal thing. People who are aspiring to gain weight, not maintain it, and especially those individuals who bodybuild and/or lift, do not fit into the neat package of John Q. Public. Why would someone who wants to be above average physically subscribe to an average diet?

Harder gainers are, of course, different. I know. I am one and have the metabolism to prove it. If you personally understand what I just said, this is a book for you. No-nonsense, common sense nutrition for gaining weight. 

Welcome to the world of food! It's going to make a lot more impact on your body and strength than the latest supplement fad ever could. 

I believe strongly that luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

Good luck to all!

Faith Walker (1992) 

Servings Defined

You will notice that with each recipe comes an approximate serving count listing the calories, protein, carbohydrate and fat breakdown for each serving. I figured those out as a courtesy to people who are tabulating those for their own use in structuring their diet. It is somewhat ironic, though, listing them at all, simply because most people who are actually counting out specific grams wouldn't touch my recipes with a ten foot pole because of the high fat content. Most ectomorphs needn't bother themselves with caloric breakdowns when trying to gain. Some of you, though, may wish to gather an  approximate idea of calories and categories, to keep a general plan of protein, carbs, and fat intake.

One definite reason why my breakdowns look bigger than most (in all categories) is that when I say three servings, for example, I mean three hearty platefuls of food. If you've been reading labels, then you've probably become accustomed to the misleading practice of listing many servings. A big can of tuna, for example, lists 6.3 servings. This might suffice for small children, but for two people who exercise regularly, tend to be thin, and have hearty, healthy appetites, one 12.5 oz. can of tuna would not contain that many servings. By making the servings higher, the fat content looks much lower. What it boils down to is that it is what you eat that counts, not what you read. Although the breakdowns may look excessive, they are realistic, just like what you see in the mirror. 


Liver With Rice

Beef Liver
1 Onion, chopped
3 Tb. Butter
1 cup Rice
28 Oz. can of seasoned tomatoes

1) Cook rice - you can prepare the rest of the recipe while this is going on.
2) Brown onions in butter.
3) Cook chopped liver (bite-sized pieces) in butter until done. Don't overcook and toughen the liver. Remember, it's still going to cook in the oven a while.
4) Layer the ingredients in a casserole dish. First the onions, then the liver, then the rice, and then top it off with the tomatoes.
5) Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

4 servings, each containing about:
Calories - 400
Protein - 22
Carb - 43
Fat - 12

Liver and Onions

4 slices Bacon
1 Onion, chopped
1/2 pound Beef Liver

1) Cook bacon.
2) Saute onion until brown, remove from pan.
3) Cook liver, don't overcook.
4) Cut liver in half, top each piece with onions and bacon strips.

2 servings, each with about:
Calories - 349
Protein - 35
Carbs - 15
Fat - 25


2 lbs. Ground Beef
2 Eggs
1 chopped Onion
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup Oats
2 Tb. Ketchup
1 Tsp. Worchester
1 Tsp Cumin powder

1) Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together.
2) Put into loaf pan.
3)Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Four servings, each with about:
Calories - 435
Protein - 32
Carbs - 13
Fat - 28

Mexican Meatloaf

1 lb. Ground Beef
1 Onion, chopped
1 Bell Pepper, chopped
1 cup Peas
1 Egg
1 cup Bread Crumbs (3 slices of stale bread in a food processor)
1 tsp. Chili powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 14.5 oz. can S&W style Stewed Tomatoes

1) Mix everything but tomatoes and pat into a casserole.
2) Pour tomatoes over the top.
3) Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.

Five servings, each with about:
Calories - 292
Protein - 26
Carbs - 16
Fat - 14

Beefy Burritos

1 lb. Ground Beef
1 Onion, chopped
1 packet Taco seasoning
1/4 cup Sour Cream (approx.)
1 cup shredded Jack Cheese
5 large flour Tortillas

1) Brown beef and onions, drain
2) Add taco seasoning, cook according to directions
3) Warm tortilla on both sides in a skillet
4) Put a large spoonful of beef down the middle, sprinkle with cheese, add approx. 1 tbsp. sour cream.
5) Fold ends up to beef, fold one long side over and roll up.
6) Keep in warm oven until all are done.

Per Burrito:

Calories - 496
Protein - 36
Carbs - 31
Fat - 25

Tortilla Pie

1 lb. Ground Beef
1 Onion, chopped
2 tbsp. Chili powder
2 tbsp. Butter
5 whole wheat Tortillas
1 four oz. can diced Green Chilis
1.5 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
1 10.75 oz. can of Cream of Mushroom soup
1/2 cup Salsa

1) Brown beef and onions in a skillet.
2) Drain off fat, remove to a bowl and stir in chili powder.
3) Melt butter in clean skillet.
4) Heat tortillas on both sides, one at a time.
5) Layer tortillas, chilies, beef, then cheese until out of ingredients (a round casserole dish works best)
6) Pour soup over top, then salsa on top of  that.
7) Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes.

6 servings, each with about:

Calories - 613
Protein - 40
Carbs - 27
Fat - 36

Beef Lasagna

28 oz. can peeled Tomatoes (I like Italian style)
1/4 lb. sliced Mushrooms (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup Red Wine
1/4 cup Red Wine
1/4 cup Red Wine
1/4 cup Red Wine
1/4 cup Red Wine
1/4 cup Red Wine
1/4 cup Red Wine
1/4 cup Red Wine
 eventually 1/4 cup of it will make it to the pan
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 can Black Olives, sliced
1 lb. Ground Beef
1 Onion, chopped
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
15 oz. container Ricotta Cheese
10 oz. frozen Spinach, thawed and drained
16 oz. package Lasagna noodles
16 oz. Mozzarella Cheese, in thin slices
3 tbsp. grated Parmesan Cheese

1) Rough-chop the tomatoes, add the first four ingredients together (making sure to check that the red wine is fine for use). You can do this ahead of time to let the flavors blend.
2) Saute the beef, onion and garlic, drain.
3) Mix the Ricotta and spinach together in a bowl.
4) Cook the noodles in a very large pot of water (or they'll stick together), drain, then rinse with cold water and drain again.
5) Starting with the sauce, layer noodles, spinach mix, beef, and finally Mozzarella, until reaching the top of a glass oblong pan.
6) Top with the Parmesan cheese.
7) Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 45 minutes.

8 servings, each with about:

Calories - 673
Protein - 45
Carbs - 55
Fat - 30

Hamburger Gruel and Brown Rice

1 lb. Ground Beef
1 Onion, chopped
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 can of Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can Milk (use soup can)
2 cups cooked brown Rice

1) Put the rice on first; by the time it's done the gravy will be ready.
2) Brown Beef with onions and garlic, drain.
3) Add soup, slowly stir in milk.
4) Simmer about 10 minutes.
5) Pour over rice and serve.

4 servings, each with about:

Calories - 524
Protein - 38
Carbs - 38
Fat - 23

Beef and Potatoes

1 lb. Ground Beef      
1 Onion, sliced
Salt, Pepper, Garlic powder, and Oregano
1 large bell Pepper, sliced
3 small Potatoes, sliced (no need to peel)
1 14.5 oz. cna Tomatoes

1) Brown beef and onions, drain.
2) Sprinkle generously with seasonings and stir well.
3) Layer beef, potatoes and bell peppers in a casserole dish, ending with beef.
4) Top with can of tomatoes.
5) Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
Good with corn on the cob!

4 servings, each with about:

Calories - 445
Protein - 35
Carbs - 34
Fat - 20

Sloppy Spuds

1 lb. Ground Beef
1 Onion, chopped
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 four oz. can Tomato paste
1 cup water
1 cup water
1 cup water
1 cup water 
must be thirsty from all that red wine
1 four oz. can sliced black Olives
1 1/2 tsp. Cumin
4 Potatoes
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, grated

1) Bake the potatoes in a 375 degree oven for approx. one hour or until they give when you squeeze them. Sticking a fork in one to check softness will prevent you from burning your hands, unless, of course, you feel the need for a little endorphin release without much physical effort.
2) Brown the beef, onions, and garlic, drain.
3) Add the tomato paste, water, cumin, olives and stir, keeping the burner on simmer.
4) Continue to simmer for about 20 minutes.
5) Beat the potatoes by banging them against a hard surface, slice them down the middle once and across several times. That'll learn 'em not ta burn ya.
6) Spoon the tomato mixture over the potatoes and top with cheddar cheese.

4 servings, each with about:

Calories - 635
Protein - 41
Carbs - 59
Fat - 26

Reminds me of my safari in deepest, darkest Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water. - W.C. Fields

Barbell Beans

2 lbs. Ground Beef
2 tbsp. Oil
1 large Onion, chopped
1 Bell Pepper, chopped
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp. Chili powder
1 tsp. cayenne Pepper
1 tsp. ground Cumin
20 oz. can Tomatoes, chopped
1/2 can black Olives, chopped
1 can kidney Beans, drained
1 can pinto Beans, drained
Sour Cream

1) Brown the beef, drain and set aside.
2) Saute the onion, bell pepper and garlic in oil until limp.
3) Put the beef and veggies in a large pot and add the rest.
4) Cover and cook for about 30 minutes.
5) Top each serving with sour cream.

8 servings, each with about:

Calories - 533
Protein - 43
Carbs - 33
Fat - 28

Chili Pork Stir Fry

4 tbsp. Oil
1 tbsp. red wine Vinegar
1 tbsp. Chili powder
1/4 tsp. Cumin
1 Onion, sliced
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 red bell Pepper, thinly sliced
4 Pork Chops, cut from bone or bought boneless
1 can French Onion Soup
Brown Rice (1/2 of soup amount)

1) Stir rice into hot soup, cover, and cook approx. 1 hour.
2) Heat oil, vinegar, chili powder and cumin in a large skillet.
3) Add onions and garlic, saute until onion is slightly wilted.
4) Add bell pepper and saute for about 30 more seconds.
5) Push veggies aside and add pork. Cook for approx. 4 minutes, flip, and cook until done. Try not to overcook, cut pieces in half to check for pinkness.
6) Top with veggies and sauce, serve with the rice.

2 servings, each with about:

[breakdown doesn't include rice]
Calories - 889
Protein - 66
Carbs - 13
Fat - 63



Monday, July 29, 2013

Planning a Training Program, Part Six

 by David Horne

Revised edition released by popular demand as a PDF document. Now with almost 1500 entries. Invaluable guide for researchers and collectors. 21,719 words, 97 pages.

Phase 3: Strength and Skill

As before there is an overlapping of the phases. There was some lifting in the fitness phase, some fitness work in the strength phase. We saw that the Olympic lifts figured in Schedules C and D of the strength phase and you will find that there is still a lot of assistance work in the skill phase. 

It should be noted, however, that there are some vital differences plus a change of emphasis. The Olympic lifts in Schedules C and D involved sets of 3 to 5 repetitions. This is not particularly good for developing movement patterns and good technique, so as training moves into a more advanced stage repetitions are decreased and there are many doubles and singles. Once again the pyramid figures in our scheme of work. Within our overall pyramid we now have a little pyramid of repetitions - 4/3/2/1 is a common training concept.

This of course means that during this phase there will be a decrease in the total tonnage but an increase in the intensity. The tonnage will still be fairly high but as you move towards the peak the total work volume must take second place to intensity. In other words low reps must be arrived at, even if there is a decrease in total work. We must consider that the total is made up of only two lifts, the best snatch and best clean & jerk. The winner may not be the one with the best average on the six attempts, in fact his average may be very poor. We are, in the final analysis concerned only with two maximum intensity efforts.  

To reach this, a fantastic volume of training must be done. All my studies on the subject seem to indicate that a plan which makes a progressive development from a wide basis of fitness to a very narrow basis of intensity is the most productive system and if we use this as a guide in every phase, it results in a logical system which gives the necessary stamina, speed, strength and finally skill.

The skill and strength phase is one of the most critical, not only from a physical point of view but mentally too. The strength phase is extremely important and probably the one which will make the greatest difference in totals from year to year. For this reason instead of a clear cut division between the skill and strength phases we prefer a very 'blurred' border where there is still a lot of strength work being done but with a shifting of emphasis. The coach should now be stressing the more correct path of movement in assistance work. I am not insinuating that pulls, etc., should be done as skill training but the lifter must try to see that instead of building power alone he aims for correct application of this power. For example, in pulling exercises he will set his knees under the bar and try to sweep the hips slightly forward and upwards instead of 'counter-balancing' by moving the shoulders and back around the hips which stay in the same place. In the front squat the feet will be placed exactly as they would be in rising from the clean; snatch balance exercises are ideal at this stage of training as they include an element of related skill as well as strength.

It is all a question of keeping priorities in mind by shifting the  emphasis. New training patterns emerge although the schedule may not be greatly altered. The actual competitive lifts must be the most important exercises here, and they must all be practiced intensively each week in addition to the numerous power movements. This means that in the early stages you may have three different workouts to be done each week. The clean & jerk may in this case be treated as two lifts. A different competitive lift should have priority each session.

Excellent results have been achieved by the following regime in this final phase of training.

A) 3 days training/1 day rest/2 days training.
B) 2 days training/1 day rest/2 days training.
C) Alternate days training.
D) Tapering off period.

If you are working on a two-cycle plan this will result in A, B, C, and D being divided roughly as follows - 14 days, 12 days, 13 days, and 6 days. In a single-cycle plan A would take approximately five weeks, B - 4 weeks, C - 3 weeks of alternate day training, and D - tapering off and contest - 5 days, then one week's rest.

Next: More on the necessity of heavier weights.   

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Not Just Pumping Iron, Part Twenty-Two

More on the Internal Dialogue, and
Psychological Levels of Training

Louder Than Words: 
The New Science of How the Mind Makes Meaning
by Benjamin K. Bergen

Imagine only the correct and desired action. Never rehearse what you do not want to do. If you rehearse what you do not want to do or see happen, often and strongly enough, that will surely be yours.

More specifically, it is how you do your successful performance that is to be rehearsed. This means careful attention to every detail of the desired performance. The same neurological pathways are excited by imagery as by the actual performance. Earlier, when I was discussing Edmund Jacobson's work with "progressive relaxation" I spoke of the effect of relaxation thoughts on the muscles themselves. The reverse is also true. In his research, Jacobson demonstrated that when one images an activity there are "micro-movements" in the muscles that are involved in that activity. These muscular micro-movements show that one is practicing the performance by exciting the neurological pathways that will be involved in the overt performance, even when one appears relaxed and motionless to the observer.

By repeatedly practicing the desired performance through imagery, one is "overlearning" the action. Overlearning means practice beyond the point at which one has learned to do something correctly one time. A performance which is overlearned is less likely to be forgotten. It becomes so familiar that even under pressure it is well remembered and will tend to come to one automatically. How much one needs to practice imagery for optimal effect depends on many individual and situational factors. So, it is best to experiment with it oneself and find through one's own experience what works best. Just to give you some orientation for starting your own experimentation, there is some consensus among sports psychologists that five to 10 minutes of imagery, twice a day is optimal for most athletes. What is best for you may vary from this guideline.

In actual practice, sometimes visual imagery and kinesthetic imagery can be combined. One may wish to visualize himself in impeccable performance while at the same time creating strong kinesthetic feeling of that performance. My suggestion, however, is that you perfect the techniques of visual imagery and kinesthetic imagery first. Otherwise, the two techniques may interfere with each other, splitting your attention and thereby reducing the vividness of your images. Less vivid images would, of course, diminish the impact of the methods.

An interesting adjunct to the basic methods of visual and kinesthetic imagery which I have presented is the use of a metaphorical image. A powerlifter working on perfecting his form in the deadlift might "see" or "feel" himself as a huge, powerful bull pulling a heavy boulder. On Olympic lifter might liken his jerk to a space shuttle rocket taking off, "seeing" himself as that rocket or "feeling" like that rocket. A bodybuilder wanting a smoother, more fluid transition from one pose to another might pick a slowly flowing river as his metaphor. The useful metaphors are endless. Again, only one's lack of creativity limits this. The idea is to pick a metaphor for what one wants to learn or polish or accomplish. Then, through one's visual and kinesthetic imagery, explore the metaphor, experience it, be it. By doing so, one can activate unconscious knowledge, bring into awareness potential experiences which enhance one's intentional performance. Let yourself go with this technique. Use your intuition in finding metaphors, and live them out in visual and kinesthetic imagery. In doing so you will inevitably tap into archetypal images, bringing that power into your activity.

It is now well accepted by sports psychologists that mental imagery is a powerful tool for improving athletic performance. Much careful research backs up this acceptance. And, a large number of successful athletes report the importance of mental imagery in their training programs. Note that for the lifter, mental imagery is not a substitute for actual lifting. It is a way of helping overlearn the coordination and timing of actual movements, of activating muscles at will, and of infusing one's actual performance with a spark of inspiration. In addition, mental imagery can be put to good use when one is unable to lift because of injury or environmental circumstances.

Mental imagery certainly has an important place in one's training. I want to put it in perspective in terms of the psychological levels at which one can train. I will do this by means of a model of psychological levels of training which I have developed.

The first level of training involves only thinking and talking. So, this is an abstract level of training. It is a left-brain activity, one in which verbal symbols are used. The Thinking level involves such activities as planning one's training program and workout, thinking about what exercises, what sequences, what weights, what number of sets, and what number of repetitions to use, and with what frequency to do this. So this level is concerned with what to do; it is the level of planning. In addition, this level involves the use of the techniques presented earlier in this section for quieting mental chatter, quieting the internal critic and using self-talk as a positive force. So, all the methods of quieting negative talk, be it distracting chatter or demoralizing criticism, and of bringing forth encouragement and support through positive self-talk belong to this first level of training. It involves the abstract -- the use of words or the quieting of words. At this level of training there is no activation of the skeletal muscles, except, of course, the muscles involved in speech. There is no activating neuro-muscular involvement of the "lifting muscles."

The second level of training is the Fantasy level. This involves the use of imagery, visual imagery and kinesthetic imagery. Therefore, this level, just as the Thinking level before it, is an abstract level. But, unlike the Thinking level, it involves neuro-muscular activation, albeit in the form of muscular micro-movements. The use of fantasy is, as we have seen, for the purpose of rehearsal.

With the third level, Enacted Fantasy, we move into the realm of concrete activity. Not only is there neuro-muscular activation, but the actual physical actions are taken. The muscular movements are now macro-movements, but with very light resistance. A light weight is used, the actual movements are enacted, but with the fantasy of the actual event. For example, when I was competing in Olympic lifting I would sometimes enact fantasies of contests. I would imagine I was stepping onto the lifting platform as I took an actual step or two. I would see the crowd, the judges, and the loaded bar in my mind's eye. Then I would address an actual empty bar, or on occasion a broomstick, in the way I addressed the actual bar in competition. (In a succeeding chapter I will discuss the "addressing of the bar.") I would then perform a press, or snatch, or clean & jerk with the empty bar or broomstick. As I did so I would "feel" the strain of the lift, "see" the head judge make his thumbs-up gesture, "hear" the announcer excitedly shout "The lift is good!" and "hear" the crowd cheer. Sometimes, when a workout is dragging, I enact a mini-fantasy, imagining that whatever exercise I am about to do is a record attempt in an important contest. Try that the next time you need a boost to get through a tough set.

The fourth level of training is Literal Activity. Here, again, we are in the realm of concrete activity with muscular macro-movements, but heavy resistance. This is the actual, literal, practice of lifting.

In explaining these four levels, I have used lifting as the content. Clearly, though, one can look at posing through these levels. There is the planning of a posing routine (Thinking), deciding what poses in what sequence for what period of time to what music, if any. Then, there is the Fantasy work of "seeing" the routine and "feeling" the routine through visual and kinesthetic imagery, respectively. Next comes the enactment of this fantasy, the pretending to be on the posing dais and "hearing" the applause as one enacts parts of the routine and at various tempos. Finally comes the Literal Activity, the actual posing, done just as in a contest with one's coach or friends offering their critiques.

If the first level of training, Thinking, focuses on what to do, as discussed above, the second, third, and fourth levels, Fantasy, Enacted Fantasy, and Literal Activity, focus on how to to it. In moving through the four levels we progress from the abstract to the concrete, from no neuro-muscular involvement through muscular micro-movements to muscular macro-movements of light and then heavy resistance. There is a logic in this progression. I submit that optimal are obtained only when the lifter gives adequate attention to all four levels. By doing so, the lifter honors his holistic nature, involving mind (both as left- and right-brain manifestation) and body planes of being.

Centering, Charging,
Grounding, Discharging. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Planning a Training Program, Part Five

"The Olympic Games and the Secret Cold War:
The U.S. Government and the Propaganda Campaign Against Communist Sport (1950-1960)"
Toby Charles Rider

 Rider, Toby C., "The Olympic Games and the Secret Cold War: The U.S. Government and the Propaganda Campaign Against Communist Sport, 1950-1960" (2011). University of Western Ontario - Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. Paper 210.


After the basic conditioning schedules have been done, he lifter should move on to the strength phase. Remember that in a single pyramid year this strengthening period will last for about three months and in a double pyramid program the strength phases will last about six weeks, but be repeated twice annually. 

This is a very important part of the training. I have seen unfit men win weightlifting competitions. I have seen lifters win with very poor technique, but I have yet to see anyone win a weightlifting event without GREAT STRENGTH. This is one department where there is always room for improvement.

Probably the greatest strides in strength development in the post-war years were made by the Hungarians. From being a nation of nonentities in the weightlifting world, they suddenly became prominent and in a couple of years produced greats like 

Géza Tóth

Győző Veres

Imre Földi

Árpád Nemessanyi, Károly Ecser, Ecser, Nagy, Huska . . . I could go on and on. These men had two things in common: they had tremendous strength, and they became champions in spite of their technique rather than because of it. I always found their style abominable yet I was forced to admit they got good totals -- all because of strength and power. Just imaging how great they would have been had they had good technique too! Nemessanyi made his jerks without even splitting; Huska made every mistake in the book yet gave the world champions great competition. 

Two men seem to have been the main masterminds behind the Hungarian system, Veres and Bakos. I do not mean to indicate they worked together, indeed I think they were rivals in the field.  Veres' schedule was well tried in other countries and produced excellent results. It did, however, tend to make several top lifters put on extra weight -- a consideration which must be kept in mind. Veres himself went up from middleweight to mid-heavy, although he lifted mostly in the light-heavies. An adaptation of this schedule, used by Toth (who took over the mid-heavyweight world title in 1966) was made popular in Germany through the medium of Wolfgang Peter, the German coach. It is because of its success that strength recommendations based on Hungarian principles became popular. 

The exercises and workouts can, of course, be varied, but the key factors should remain unaltered. In strength and power training really heavy weights are used in exercises such as squatting, high pulls with both clean and snatch grips, heave jerks, power cleans, etc. These are all movements where technique is not so important as sheer hard work and constant effort. The number of workouts during the week will be changed from time to time, but in the really intensive period 5, and is some cases even 6 days work are required each week. 

For example, in a 6 workout week it would be something like this:

3 days lifting
1 day fitness (road work, etc.)
2 days lifting
1 day rest

In a 5 workout week it would be:

work 3 days/rest 1 day/work 2 days/rest 1 day

This is the way to progress:

In the first month the poundages work up to 70-80% of the maximums, in the second month 80-90%, and in the third month 90-100%.

Under the Hungarian system this is repeated four times during the year so that there are 4 easy months, 4 medium months, and 4 months of very hard workouts -- all spaced well apart of course. I would have thought one could get very stale with the same or very similar workouts during the year, but I assure you this is what the information from Hungary shows. We advocate that this sort of workout be done during the strength phase only so that it becomes a part of our system -- not a whole system of its own.

Here are examples of training distribution during the strength phase --
5 training day weekly.


Monday - Schedule A (schedules to follow)
Tuesday - Rest
Wednesday - Schedule B
Thursday - Walking or running or swimming, etc.
Friday - Schedule A
Saturday - Schedule B
Sunday - Rest


Monday - Walk, swim, run, etc.
Tuesday - Schedule A
Wednesday -Rest
Thursday - Schedule B
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Schedule A
Sunday - Schedule B

We believe Example 1 gives better, more evenly spread training and also Sunday with the family. Example 2 gives good hard weekend workouts which many lifters like and leaves Friday, a popular night out, free. The social side is pandered to a little here but to get anywhere lifters must be dedicated. The suggestions made will not detract from our aims. 


Heave jerks - 
4 sets, 5 reps

Snatch pulls - 
3 pulls then 1 to arms' length with dips
Repeat 3 sets of this

Jerks from racks - 
Work to top training poundage with jumps of 10 kg, 7 kg, 5 kg, 5 kg. Reps as follows: 4/3/2/1 (top training poundage should be around 90% of top competitive best)

Halting deadlifts - 
Hold for 4-6 seconds then pull as high and fast as possible
4 sets of 3

Hyperextensions - 
3 sets of 10


Wide grip press behind neck - 
3 sets of 3
2 sets of 2
3 singles

Snatch balance exercise - 
4 sets of 5

Squat cleans - 
4 sets of 5

Hang snatch - 
3 sets of 6

Front squat or lunge squat - 
3 sets of 6


Heave jerks
1st month - 100x5/120x5/140x5
2nd month - 115x3/135/3/160x3
3rd month - 130x3/155x3/175x3

Power snatch
1st month - 60x3/85x3/95x3/75x3
2nd month - 65x3/85x3/105x3/85x3
3rd month - 75x3/95x3/115x3/95x3

Clean & jerk (one jerk only)
1st month - 110x3/130x3/150x3/120x3
2nd month - 130x2/150x2/170x2/130x2
3rd month - 150x2/170x2/190x2/170x2

High pulls (clean grip)
1st month - 110x3/130x3/150x3/120x3
2nd month - 130x2/150x2/170x2/130x2
3rd month - 150x2/170x2/190x2/170x2

Front squat (each workout)
1st month - 5 light
2nd month - 5 medium
3rd month - 5 heavy

Body bending exercise -
done slowly, light and medium resistance only
2 sets of 8


Press behind neck - 
1st month - 120x5/95x5/90x5/100x5
2nd month - 140x3/115x3/95x3/115x3
3rd month - 145x3/120x3/110x3/135x3

Snatch - 
1st month - 80x3/100x3/120x3/90x3
2nd month - 95x3/115x3/135x3/105x3
3rd month - 105x3/125x3/145x3/115x3

Power clean -
1st month - 100x3/120x3/140x3/115x3
2nd month - 115x3/135x3/160x3/125x3
3rd month - 130x3/155x3/175x3/140x3

High pull (snatch grip) - 
1st month - 60x3/85x3/95x3 . . . ***
2nd month - 65x3/85x3/105x3 . . . ***
3rd month - 75x3/95x3/115x3 . . . ***

***Half page of book missing here. . .

. . . It is during the strength phases that you should aim at correcting weaknesses. If your pull needs improving, this is the time to work on it. Perhaps your overhead work is weak -- if so, emphasize exercises to correct it.

This is the period when you will use racks, overhead chains for supporting and so on. Stress overload. 

If you wish to increase pulling power, some exercises and suggested percentages of your best clean are given below. All pulls should be done with straps.

High pulls - 
70% x 5
80% x 4
90% x 4
95% x 3
100% x 2
100% x 1

Power cleans - 
60% of best clean x 5,5
70% x 5,5
80%x 5,5
85% x 1,1 

Halting deadlift - 
Hold for 4-6 seconds then pull as high and fast as possible
100% of best clean x 1,1
110-115% x 1,1

Isometric pulls - 
Bar at knee height x one 8 second pull
Bar at mid-thigh x one 8 second pull
Bar at top of pull - bar halfway between crotch and belt height, body fully extended x one 8 second pull

Next: Phase 3 -- Strength and Skill

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.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Planning a Training Program, Part Three

Click Pics to ENLARGE

Intermediate Fitness Work

Having followed the previous routine for some four weeks (in a single pyramid scheme) you are now ready for some tougher training on the Fartlek system. For this it is better to get out into the country, in amongst the woods and the fields, but if you are in the center of a city do not let this stop you; there will always be a football field, track, or even some waste ground where you can run. I advocate rough country so that you have to vary your stride and occasionally dodge and jump obstacles, which avoids a boring, mechanical rhythm. One of the most enjoyable periods of my own training days was when I trained on Sunday mornings with Highland Games athletes at the Bay of Nigg. We would go running along the cliffs, descend over rough boulders, run in the shingle; sand is also great to run in, it is tough and builds up stamina. We would climb and clamber, walk and run, swing over obstacles and finally swim in the sea. The sessions would finish off with about 10-15 sprints, ranging from 30-70 meters each.

The Bishop's Walk, near to Nigg

These sprints were done like proper races. Someone would give the starts and we would really try to win over the distance, then have a slow walk back to the start and begin all over again. This is the sort of program I would recommend, but I suggest you try to adjust this according to your circumstances and if can do something like our Sunday sessions, you are on a real winner because it's great fun. We did this is summer and most of the winter. I have even been training on 1 January after a really hectic Scottish New Year. Don't let the weather put you off. Get wrapped up in a tracksuit and sweater and you'll be all right.

The following are guides to the sort of thing you should aim at:

10 minutes slow jogging, break for free exercises covering all parts of the body (say 7 or 8 minutes), 10 minutes medium jogging, slow down to a walk then gradually build up to a really tough pace for 5 minutes and slow down for a 5 minute walk. Total time around 45 minutes at the most.

This should be followed by 2 all-out sprints at 50 meters and 2 very fast 100-meter sprints.

Throwing practice. Get a medicine ball of a small boulder. Practice double-handed under-arm swing throws (4 half-efforts then 3 all out), then 3 all out back over the head throws, also with two hands. If you have a special interest in any proper throwing events, this is the time to practice these.

Finally, some jumping should be done. If a pit is available do 3 long jumps and 3 hop, step and jumps with maximum speed run-ups. If there is no pit available try 3 maximum hops on each leg plus 3 maximum hop, step and jumps from the standing position. Watch that the heels do not become bruised. Well-padded insoles are advisable here.

This sort of routine should be done at least twice a week during this phase and I would suggest two outdoor workouts and two indoor workouts.

Circuit Training

Circuit training may be included in the indoor sessions; here is a circuit suitable for our purposes. We should make full use of weightlifting apparatus as this will be readily available.

1) Power clean
2) Heave jerks, no split
3) Hyperextensions
4) Burpee jumps
5) Situps, to touch knees only
6) Squats

Exercises 3, 4, and 5 are done without weights. The lifting exercises should be done with weights half your maximum single for the same movement. The exercises should be done 10 consecutive times in each set. You work from exercise 1 to 6, then back to 1 again and repeat the whole sequence. It is then done a third time so that the total is 3 complete circuits. The whole routine is timed and progress not by adding weight or increasing the repetitions, but by reducing the time taken to perform the circuit.

Circuit training like this can be done three times weekly on alternate days. This is only part of your training -- a component if you wish. Weight training now begins to play a more important part but it is still with very light weights. The idea of the next routine is to build endurance, so that the working muscles recover quickly from their tasks and the work capacity is increased. this will stand the trainee in good stead when he comes on to the strength, power, and finally competitive period. 

These exercises should all be done for 2 sets of 25 repetitions and gradually increased to 30 repetitions. When 2 sets of 30 reps can be done with the poundage initially used, change to 3 sets of 25 and gradually work to 3 sets of 30. Keep the rest pause between groups as short as possible. 

1) Dumbbell press
2) Hang cleans
3) Deadlift - 
alternate sets of regular deadlifts and stiff-legged
4) Bench press
5) Leg press, alternate sets with
6) Pullovers at arms' length
Sequence training***
7) Lateral raise
8) Leg raise
9) Heel raise
10) Abdominal raise 
*** Do one set of each exercise non-stop if possible (if not possible, then with the minimum of delay) then repeat sequence again, i.e., Exercise 7,8,9,10,7,8,,9,10.

The state of your breathing provides a good guide. Although you will be breathless immediately after each set this will not last and your breathing should return to normal after two minutes. If still very short of breath, delay the start of the set. If should never be more than three minutes between sets; one and a half or two minutes is much better. The sequence of 7,8,9,10 should be done with little or no pause between sets. If you are using a 3-month fitness phase you will now be ready for a real hard final bash.

Next: Advanced Fitness Work 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Planning a Training Program, Part Two

Click Pic to ENLARGE

As the season progresses and the major competitions approach, you will wish to increase the intensity of your workouts by adding more weight and using heavier poundages, even if it means cutting down on tonnage. The Intensity Progression Program is slanted towards this aim, and yet maintaining a balance of work to hold the gains you have already made. 

Intensity Progression Program (in kg)
Initial Maximum - 110 kg.

Starting Point
72.5x3/82.5x3/92.5x3/97.5x2/102.5x2/105x1/107.5x1 + 1
Progression 1
75x3/82.5x3/92.5x3/97.5x2/102.5x2/105x1/107.5x1 + 1
Progression 2
75x3/85x3/92.5x3/97.5x2/102.5x2/105x1/107.5x1 + 1
Progression 3
75x3/85x3/95x3/97.5x2/102.5x2/105x1/107.5x1 + 1
Progression 4
75x3/85x3/95x3/100x2/102.5x2/105x1/107.5x1 + 1
Progression 5
75x3/85x3/95x3/100x2/105x2/105x2/107.5x1 + 1
Progression 6
75x3/85x3/95x3/100x2/105x2 + 2/105x1/107.5x1 + 1
Progression 7
75x3/85x3/95x3/100x2/105x2/105x1/107.5x1/110x1 + 1

The main increase is in intensity.

 Phased Training
(Part One - Fitness)

It can be seen that in this book the wide view, the overall approach, is used because I strongly believe the novice should be taught good technique from the start and that long-term planning is absolutely essential for all lifters. Most of the principles and methods outlined are as applicable to the weightlifting "rabbit" as they are to the "tigers" of the platform but the degree of work varies considerably. Weightlifters can expect a long competitive life, unlike the little swimming or gymnastic girls who are world champions while they are still at school and over the hill by the time they are old enough to vote! This long competitive life calls for a special approach: a competitor will normally only carry on whilst he is still making progress, and yet as a man reaches maturity many external factors tend to impede progress. This selection aims at prolonging improvement in competition results. It is a fine sport that can boast of having world class competitors from the ages of 13 to 40-plus, with fathers and sons competing together.

The fact that in many cases progress slows or halts after 10 or 20 years' hard training is caused not so much by age as by the fact that the body has adjusted itself almost fully to the work placed before it. One of the basic requirements for mature lifters, therefore, is a change of routine in a shorter period than would normally be the case. Changes of intensity are advocated as well as changes of exercise and tempo. The advanced weightlifter should do a considerable number of sets using 5 to 6 repetitions, particularly if trying to gain muscle mass in the right places for weightlifting results. There is also a place in the routine for some isometric work. As lifters reach their thirties and even forties there should be a decreasing of work, but do not assume that "older" necessarily means "advanced". Nowadays we get some very advanced young lifters.

There should not be more than 7 different exercises in a routine and there may well be as few as 3 if these lifts are being done thoroughly. The total repetitions for a 7 exercise schedule should not exceed 100 and a full week's repetitions should not normally exceed 230.

In the snatch and the clean & jerk there will probably be 8 to 16 lifts in a workout with 5 to 6 additions of weights, but remember, variety in the volume of training is very important to advanced lifters. Falameev of the USSR recommends that the optimum training weight in the snatch and clean & jerk should be 67-77% of maximum and weights of this caliber should be used in more than half of all lifts. This fine coach also recommended the following optimum training weights for assistance exercises (the percentage applying to the snatch or clean & jerk as appropriate):

Power snatch with dip (from hang, blocks, or platform)
62-72% of snatch.

Power snatch without dip
57-67% of snatch.

Dead lift, wide grip
85-167% of snatch.

Power pull, wide grip
80-95% of snatch.

Stiff legged dead lift, wide grip
85-100% of snatch.

Power clean with dip
62-72% of clean.

Power jerk
62-72% of jerk.

Dead lift, normal grip
80-92% of clean.

Power pull (blocks), normal grip
85-100% of clean.

75-110% of best clean & jerk weight.

It is very seldom that weights of over 100% are used nowadays as it has been found that although there are gains of strength, speed diminishes.

With the various guidelines given, it should now be a simple matter to compile result-producing schedules and the good thing about this approach is that there is great scope for personal choice. This inbuilt flexibility gives coaches and lifters lots of freedom for individual preferences, which I am sure will be welcomed by all advanced and experienced performers. One final word of warning: you will prefer the work which you do best, but if you want continued progress, concentrate on your weaknesses.

Phase 1 - Fitness

A whole thesis could be written on why fitness is necessary and in fact this very problem  was tackled by my great friend, the late John P. Jesse of California who reviewed most of the good existing literature on the subject and proved conclusively that lifters expect higher totals if they make fitness work an integral part of their scheme.

Click Pic to ENLARGE  
Wrestling Physical Conditioning Encyclopedia 
by John Jesse

John P. Jesse showed that that heart and lung efficiency will allow the performer to train harder, recover quicker and perform better under competition conditions -- whether it is a short competition with only a single warm-up or a lengthy contest, like major championships with large entries, requiring the contestants to warm up for individual lifts.

The psychological side of this type of work is beyond our scope here, so I will confine myself to recommending workouts and basic principles to produce maximum fitness. Fartlek training and interval running are among the most popular means of producing cardiovascular fitness, but I believe that this should be approached slowly by those without at least some athletic background. Building to a peak must be a gradual process; build up progressively so that discomfort is kept to a minimum and, where possible, enjoyment is maximal. The best way to start then is with a routine something like this:

Early Fitness Work - 
Heart and lung work
1) Walk 50 yards, run 100 yards.
2) Walk 50 yards, run 150 yards.
3) Walk 50 yards, run 200 yards.
4) Walk 100 yards, run 250 yards.
5) Walk 100 yards, run 300 yards.
6) Walk 100 yards, run 350 yards.
7) Walk 100 yards, run 400 yards.

You will see that if you are doing this on a quarter-mile track you have not at any time run even one full lap. Surely nobody can object to a program like this! The total work, however, has built up well, and this is only a start. You must gradually increase the runs without increasing the walks and the runs must get faster too. If you are doing it in the gym you may prefer to calculate in paces instead of yards, e.g., you walk 50 paces and then run 100 paces, and so on.

This should be done 3 times weekly and should be followed by a free exercise flexibility routine designed to work all the muscles and joints through their full range. Arm, shoulder and chest exercises for four minutes, e.g., backward arm circles, alternate arm swings as far forward and back as possible, forward circles, and press-ups.

Waist and hip work -
Situps in sets of 20
Trunk circling, 12 reps each way for 2 continuous minutes
Jack-knife, 2 sets, 12 reps
Leg raises, 12 reps
Back, hip raises, 15 reps

Leg work - Ankle stretching, ankle circling
Standing long jumps, 4 max efforts
Consecutive long jumps, 3 close-footed jumps, repeat 3 times
Vertical jump, 3 max efforts in test style
Fast squats, 25 reps, increase eventually to 70 reps

Finish off with supplementary recreational work, e.g., at home you should do some simple forward rolls or hand and head balancing; in the gym or outdoors, partner hand-balancing, agilities such as hand springs, etc. and whenever possible a proper game. In order of priority I would recommend volleyball, basketball, baseball, minor team games and football. Avoid contact sports and anything with high injury potential. You can also play around with light weights but play and light are the operative words.

On other days more work must be done. One should be reserved for a fairly long walk, cycle, or swim. The advantage of these activities is that you can make them social occasions with family or friends and at the same time get the active yet relaxing type of activity we are after.

The other day should be reserved for a weight workout using fairly light weights, e.g. -
1) Skipping, 3 minutes 
2) Snatch, 10 reps, 2 sets
3) Seated press, 10 reps, 3 sets
4) Snatch without split or squat, 15 reps x 2 sets
6) Jerks, use barbell equal to bodyweight, 2 sets of 6 reps less than maximum weight for a single group plus one or two "tinkering" exercises of your choice.

Click Pic to ENLARGE

Next: Intermediate Fitness

Monday, July 15, 2013

Planning a Training Program - David Webster

How to Construct a Training Plan
for Olympic Weightlifting

Many people making up schedules merely string together a few exercises without giving much thought to the character of the various movements or any thought whatever to the order of the exercises. This of course is entirely wrong. Certain points must be observed if the schedule is to give maximum benefits and also to be as "acceptable" as possible. I almost used the word "enjoyable" in place of acceptable, but I had better not say too much about that or I may put off some novices with world championship aspirations! A schedule should be enjoyable, particularly at the elementary stages, and certain things can help in this respect. Remember, though, that the principles outlined here are intended to give best results in every possible way.

The first thing is that ALL parts of the body should be worked. Avoid missing out squats, for example, because you are not keen on leg work. Even at the very top level, the champions all insist that all-round work is included in their schedules.

Secondly, unless there are physical deficiencies, it is undesirable to overemphasize one particular muscle group. This is not only because such specialization often causes lopsided development or unbalanced strength, but it does sometimes destroy techniques, particularly in those with little experience. There is an old saying that goes, "Strength is the ally of the experienced but the enemy of the novice." In other words, the novice sometimes uses strength instead of technique and gets into bad lifting habits, and I have noticed that where a man is strong in one direction, he tends to use this strength to the exclusion of other parts which have a good contribution to make.

A gradual "curve of effort" should be observed in arranging the order of the exercises. The movements should be listed so that during the workout they become progressively harder in intensity until a peak is reached approximately two-thirds of the way through the routine, and after these harder exercises, there is a gradual tapering off. Let us elaborate on this a little.

You must start easy in order to limber up, get the blood coursing through the veins, increasing efficiency and decreasing the danger of injury. Only fools take advice, which I have sometimes seen given in magazines and books, to go into the gym and do the hardest exercises first to get them out of the way while you are still fresh. What absolute rubbish! Some physiologists maintain that warming up is not necessary and they say this is only a psychological desire. This is just not true. Perhaps some people do too much warming up, but I defy anyone to do top lifts without loosening up, and furthermore, I wish somebody had told my muscles that warming up was unnecessary; my most severe injuries occurred when I had neglected this aspect of training through varius unforeseen circumstances.

In practice, this "curve of effort" works out well. First there should be a  mobilizing exercises, getting the joints working freely and gently stretching the muscles to their maximum so that there are no inhibitions and the minimum of unwanted reflex actions when the real hard work begins. Next you have the lighter resistance exercises, then the hardest ones and finally, the least important ones which are done when your energy may be at a lower ebb. What could be more logical?

One rather fine point: technique work must be done before tiredness sets in. When there is fatigue, the skill element is one of the first to suffer. 

There is one last major factor in compiling schedules and this concerns the primary and secondary effects of the exercises. In most exercises more than one muscle group is worked. The main aim of the exercise we call the primary effect, and the second group of muscles is involved in what we call the secondary effect. For example, it may at first appear in order to do a curl for the arm flexors, rowing motion for the latissimus muscles, and then upright rowing for the shoulders. Closer scrutiny, however, reveals all three work the arm flexors so the secondary effects of the three consecutive exercises clash, and if three sets of each were done then there would have been nice sets all working this same muscle group. This does not mean to say that secondary effects must never be the same in the schedule but does suggest that secondary effects are more important primary effects should not clash in consecutive exercises.

You should try to strike a balance in the type of exercise. There should be some fast, dynamic movements as well as the slow grinding type of work. Different pieces of apparatus, such as racks, benches and blocks, may be introduced for effect and variety.

Work on a long term plan -- that is the aim of this book -- so you can see exactly where you are going and what is ahead. When you are a beginner there are so many exercises which are new to you and most of these will do a lot of good. As you become more specialized and graduate to Olympic lifting, you are trying to improve mainly on two lifts and you can concentrate on these. You must use other exercises to assist you in this aim, but your repertoire is considerably reduced so you must phase your work to do the correct thing at the right time. More will be said about this later.

Theoretically it may be better that the schedule be changed gradually and become progressively harder week by week and change to a new schedule in stages, rather  than have a completely new workout all at one time. This would prevent quite a lot of aches and pains on changing to a new routine and would be more scientific, but in practice, an enthusiast gets a great fillip [something that acts as a stimulus or boost to an activity] from a new schedule and the very aches and pains mentioned are proof to him that he is working out in a different way which should improve him still further. There will undoubtedly be numerous questions on compiling schedules running through your mind after this brief introduction to the subject, and I hope that the answers to many of these will be covered in the rest of this section.

Keeping Records

It is absolutely essential that training be properly recorded if it is to be successful. Notes on all workouts should be kept in training diaries, log books, etc. These show which methods produce the best results and allow future programs to be made up accordingly. Involvement in serious competitive lifting means that you must not only keep notes of all workouts, but you should record every workout lift by lift. All the great champions do this, and it is amazing how useful these notes can be. I have frequently referred back to previous competitions to see how lifters tapered off, how their weight reduced, etc.; all these little notes help you with preparation.

The best clubs have a card system filed in proper drawers; members get their card on entry to the gym and it is filed as they leave after the workout. Others have a rack onto which the lifters pin their workouts. A proper controlled system is to be highly recommended and I strongly suggest keeping a training record book. 

Split Workouts

Split routines are for the truly dedicated enthusiast whether he is a weightlifter, powerlifter or bodybuilder, and I will go as far as to say that few men will reach the top of their sphere nowadays unless they use split workouts of one kind or another. The reason for this is not hard to find. The conventional three-days-a-week with a rest day in between is fine for most folks, but to get to the top of your abilities, five, six or even more times weekly training is very necessary. Success is built on the overload principle, that training must always get progressively harder, but the body must have a certain amount rest in between, and to work the same muscle groups in the same ways each day and on consecutive days is just asking for staleness and with it a termination of progress. To get around this, split routines are introduced so that very hard work is done on one part of the body in one workout and the next one a completely different area is attacked. So although there is no conventional "rest period" individual body parts are being rested. This is an oversimplification of the theory, but it certainly points to the principle.

It is a suitable system for the man who can only spare three nights a week to train in club but wishes to do some extra work at home. In this case he should do most of the heavy work in the gym and on the other days work out on lighter exercises. A weekly program could be as follows:

Schedule 1
(this is the main workout)

Schedule 2


Very often lifters are afraid to decrease the volume of training during the month of the competition, thinking they will not be in good form. This is wrong; work must be tapered off in volume before major competitions, but it is equally wrong to taper off for minor competitions.   


I am often asked about staleness, its effects, and the remedy for it. This is not an easy subject; many coaches feel it is a psychological as much as a physical matter, but I will give my personal views, based on experience and study over the years.

Staleness is usually thought of as the phenomenon evident when progress slows down and halts and performance sometimes even worsens. The lifter invariably demonstrates lethargy and a lack of enthusiasm.

There are several reasons for staleness but it is most common when the lifter tries to gain too quickly, works too hard, and maintains a peak for too long. This does not mean the solution is to take it easy. On the contrary, the lifter must work very hard, but it must be the right kind of work at the right time. He must resist the natural  tendency to continually try to surpass his previous best; staleness results when mental demands exceed physical capabilities.

Excess efforts lead to aimless, or non-productive muscular contractions which override the coordination and reflex actions necessary for smooth performances.

There is also a danger of staleness when skill training is continued for too long. Acquisition of skill allows work to be performed with less effort, so a gain in skill without a corresponding increase in intensity or volume of work eventually results in poorer physical condition.

The Symptoms

Apart from a loss of form, there may also be a disinclination to train, diminished appetite, and insomnia. Weight tends to fluctuate. Usually, there are only one or two of these symptoms, depending on the degree of staleness.

The Remedy

A change of work is the best remedy, but the "butterfly complex" (constant schedule change) should be avoided. I firmly believe that the best way to avoid staleness is long-term planning with phased training covering fitness, strength, and technique on the lines advocated in this material. This gives controlled and calculated variety. It allows for a seasonal dropping off from peak form, well away from the important competitions.

By varying the nature of your work in this way, by varying poundages in terms of intensity and volume in accordance with a long-term plan, staleness should become a rarity.

A Soviet Viewpoint

The Russians maintain, and I agree with them, that you will not achieve maximum results unless there is a good decrease of volume as the major contest approaches. Likewise, frequent tapering off will lead to a repeating of the same results in each contest instead of a big total at the major one. The Soviet coaches believe that essentials for good planning of volumes and intensity are systematic medical supervision and the good health of the weightlifter.

In annual training, physical preparation other than weightlifting is necessary. This means morning exercises must be done for approximately 20 minutes each day or 120 hours annually. There must also be swimming, skipping, light athletics, etc. (depending on the seasons), 1 hour, three times weekly (12 hours monthly) in the second period. This is approximately 125 hours in the year. If we add to these a common physical preparation, then 350 hours must be done annually. (We take this to mean weightlifting exercises.) For special physical preparation, 520 hours must be done annually, which is about 40% of training.

Long-term Planning

If lifters are to reach their full potential, long-term planning is absolutely essential. Many coaches and performers never look beyond their current schedule. In the very highest circles of the sport, at top international level, some coaches claim they have 14-year plans, but a great many have 2-year schemes of work and nearly all good coaches suggest that at least 1-year plans are followed. This means that the schedules for a whole year should be considered right from the beginning of the year and the major competition should be the end product of the 12-month period of training. For some lifters, this will only be an area championship, but for great competitors, it will be the world championships, and with these top men, their own national championships, international matches, etc. In Olympic years, even a Continental championship -- such as the European championships -- must take second place because in these circumstances it is not the highest peak of the year. It can be readily understood that it is virtually impossible for someone of world class to do top totals several times a year and still continue to progress each time.

How to Make and Record an Annual Plan

First of all, you must decide if two peaks or one peak is to be the aim. I consider the ideal to be one principal peak and one subsidiary peak, thus the annual plan consists of two cycles of training. These are similar in character but with the second (and main cycle) being more intensive.

The first stage of planning is a systematic review of the situation. How much can be attained in view of the person's age, amount and nature of previous training, amount of time at present available, other commitments such as business and family, how much motivation there is, level of opposition, etc., etc. All these must influence decisions. You must then look at past and current results. Are there any particular weaknesses? Can a record be set in any lift? Even an area or national record would help promote motivation and assist training for top performers. Schedules can be composed with these special weaknesses and/or strengths in mind. Many sportsmen I meet in clubs just use standard schedules without any adaptations for these and other factors. The schedules which will be outlined are for average, fairly well balanced enthusiasts, but schedules should be adjusted, as outlined above.

While competition results provide the ultimate test of training methods, it is necessary to look wider than this to see if overall progress is being made. The strength lifts, the fundamental exercises and athletic training will give a first class indication of results providing good records are kept. If training shows little or no progress, then there is something lacking in the training plan or its application in the gym. In the training log book, there should be a note of the results. Keep an eye on these records over a long period and you will be surprised at how revealing they can be.

A comparison of strength-type lifts with the best snatch and jerk is also worthwhile. Philip Guenov, the Bulgarian coach, told me of some very systematic research done to discover the interdependence between assistance exercises and the three Olympic lifts. The results of this experiment and research enable us to estimate whether more pure strength work should be done, or whether speed and technique exercises would be more beneficial. A good balance is essential and the reasons for this will be obvious to any clear-thinking coach. The figures suggested in the following guide are based on the lengthy and the methodical research mentioned earlier. They will show where assistance is NOT required.

Back Squat - good balance, equal to 35 kg or more than clean. If 25 kg or less than clean then strength rather than technique training is needed.

Front Squat - good balance, equal to 15 kg or more than clean. If only 10 kg or less than clean, then work on strength. If 20 kg more than clean, then technique work on clean is required.

Obviously with training you can squat with fantastic poundages compared with what you can pull in for the clean, but providing you can do a squat (with feet in the same position as you would rise from in a clean) with 42.5 kg (say 95 lb) more than you can pull in, then you have an adequate reserve of leg strength. Where the squat is much more, you could profitably spend time on other types of work. The reverse also holds true.

A systematic review of plans and weaknesses is just the starting point. The next step is to make out a systematic phased program. This is what I would consider a first-class phased program. I call the pyramid training because  it first builds for the lifter a broad base of fitness and then leads him upwards to the peak of physical perfection and top totals Obviously, mental conditioning is also necessary but this will be discussed separately.

Pyramid Training

Fitness is, of course very specific.

Many champion lifters are not "fit" in the widely accepted athletic meaning. Certainly they are very strong, but in many cases there is room for considerable improvement in efficiency of heart, lungs, coordination, etc. They may be well above average compared with most men, but if maximum potential is desired, something more is called for and a lifter should have a phase of training where real fitness is built. Not only does this give a welcome change of routine, which does physical good, it is also psychologically sound and alleviates staleness. It gives a real solid base for continued progress and helps the body recover faster from effort.

Your training year may be divided into one or two pyramids, depending on your competitive program and how far apart you intend to make your peaks.

Many sports have two major competitions annually so two peaks are desirable, but if you have a preliminary selection followed by just one major competition one pyramid would be more suitable. The length of each phase will be determined by whether there are one or two pyramids. If there is one pyramid the phasing will be roughly as follow:

Phase 1 - (fitness) - 3 months
Phase 2 - (fitness and strength) - 3 months
Phase 3 - (strength and skill) - 3 months
Phase 4 (skill, tapering off, competitions and short rest) - 3 months

If it is a double pyramid the this is the build-up:

Phase 1 - 6 weeks
Phase 2 - 6 weeks
Phase 3 - 8 weeks
Phase 4 - 6 weeks (mainly skill, two weeks tapering off and contest, one week rest)

Bulgarian research indicates that intensity of training is more important than simply tonnage (volume). In the long term, better results will be obtained by increasing tonnage via increased intensity. In fact, Abadejev increased his team's tonnage by 50% in six years. General tonnage is easily improved by spending more time lifting and the Bulgarians often lift twice daily, three times weekly, and once only on the other two days. The Bulgarian lifters work much harder than those in other countries. They often train with weights five to six times a week and more. They use a greater volume and intensity than is the case in other countries; perhaps because they have better conditions and less problems in earning a living. They use about 10% higher intensity in pulls and squats than the Soviet lifters and at an International Training Conference in Sofia it was revealed that the Bulgarians trained as much as 25 hours a week, with a weekly volume of up to 96 tonnes and a monthly volume of 360-370 tonnes, e.g.

How Much Training?

Good lifting technique is extremely important but the lifter's physical fitness and training background play an equally important role. We are fortunate in our sport that we can keep very precise records and adopt a very methodical approach where progression is measurable and apparent. Unfortunately not enough attention is given to an organized program or sound planning.

In lifting we can measure the weight lifted in a single lift, in a competition total, calculate numbers of lifts and training loads which can be indicated in pounds, foot-pounds, or tons. Clearly, the effect of lifting 250 kg. once is very different from lifting 50 kg. five times: the first has a much higher intensity. Among knowledgeable lifters and coaches, there is now a fairly widely accepted approach and this can be explained basically as follows:

Volume (sometimes called total training load or tonnage)

We usually specify training loads in kilos or tonnes and this shows how much the lifter totals in a training session, week, month, or year. You simply add together every lift regardless of which kind of movement it represents. Obviously there is a difference between a "short" movement (heel raise or shrug) and a "large" movement such as a snatch, so if you want to be really precise you can measure foot pounds, i.e. you can multiply the weight in each lift by the height lifted. However, in practice most coaches are agreed that it is sufficient simply to work in total tonnage by obtaining the sum total of all weights in all repetitions.


This is calculated by taking the total training load in a workout, week, month, etc. and dividing it by the total number of repetitions during the same period. You can also use this to calculate the intensity of a single exercise e.g. if in a snatching workout you do
the calculations are as follows
140x3 = 420
150x3 = 450
for at total of 2,440 over 15 repetitions
2,440 divided by 15 = 163 approx.
This is the average intensity. You should also take note of the number of lifts done in the snatch or clean & jerk with over 90% of the present best competition numbers. All this, even the failures (with a stroke through the weight) should be recorded in your logbook.

Light, Medium, and Heavy Training

Training is classed as heavy if 9 or more tonnes are lifted in a session (although obviously the lifter's bodyweight has a bearing on the subject). With this range, the higher the intensity the heavier the workout. Training is also heavy if there is a large number of lifts with 90% or over in the workout.

A medium workout would be 6 to 9 tonnes and a light workout would be 4.5 to 6 tonnes.

Heavy training gets the best results, but it takes the body a week or 10 days to fully recover from a heavy workout and to gain the quickest results one must train with medium and light loads during the recovery period.

Soviet champions, with their fantastic medical back-up to properly monitor recuperation and guard against overtraining, sometimes do two or even three heavy workouts in a row to get maximum effect and then taper off with three or four lighter workouts.  

Novices and lighter weights train alternately on snatch and clean doing only one of these in each workout. In the heavier classed they often do these lifts only once a week and not in the same workout. An interesting point, demonstrating the importance of keeping a balanced view of the subject, is put forward by Dr. Mikhailov, USSR weightlifting physiologist: "To improve results in the snatch you must reduce intensities in all movements, even in assistance work; but improvement of clean & jerk results requires heavy training weights."

Length of Workout

The more experienced the lifter the longer the workout may be. An hour is too much for the complete novice but after a very short time one to one-and-a-half hours is correct. The heaviest, most experienced men man go to three hours on occasion but that depends on whether or not they do physical work to earn a living.

Systemic Improvement

Everybody knows that weightlifting is the most progressive form of training, for in nearly every workout the trainee tries to increase either the poundage handled or the number of repetitions or sets. We are great advocates of such progression. The Soviet coaches have shown us another way to estimate the amount of work. Never let it be said that we have a system which is all our own work -- certainly we may have a unique system, but it is unique only insofar as we have tried to take from other training schemes and adapt them to our own.

The concept I present now is the theory of total work output. The further you progress up the ladder towards world-class performance the more useful the theory becomes but even the least experienced will find it useful to see how much work they are doing compared with others. It is not always the man who lifts the heaviest weights who does the most work!

The Russians call it the load volume, although sometimes they speak of the load or the volume. We talk about the tonnage and mean the same thing as load volume. The load volume, however, is not the only thing which must be considered or else the man in our sample schedule could do numerous repetitions with light weights and get the same end tonnage. The intensity must be carefully graded. Most novices want to keep increasing the poundage of their maximum training lifts and this will often ruin technique, hinder progress, cause staleness and even result in injury. The wise coach will gradually increase the volume by adding a repetition here and sticking on weight there -- thus the tyro is still progressing yet hardly notices the extra work. In your training log you should always keep an eye on the tonnage and intensity. Keep in mind that the "light" squat or dead lifts can add to tonnage without being intensive so must not fool yourself with such poundages. Label your exercises light, medium, or heavy. 80% or more of your maximum can be classed as heavy. Around 75% is medium. I would class light weights as about 50% of maximum. The next question likely to be asked is, "What total tonnage should be used?" The answer is not easy but briefly it depends on the length of time you have been training and, secondly, on which stage of training you are at -- how near you are to a contest. The tonnage will be greatest in the strength and power training period of  a phased program. It will also be high in the middle of the phase where you are concentrating on the Olympic lifts themselves, but then, as you increase intensity (by virtue of the higher poundages in single or low repetitions) the tonnage will begin to decrease. When you are tapering off, your tonnage is still lower.

This should provide a good general guide; more specifically, here are some figures on tonnage, or total work output.

Vorobiev, the Soviets' chief National Coach, says that their top lifters rarely handle more than 115 tonnes in a month. [1 tonne = 1,000 kg. or 2204.6 lbs.] Knowing the Russian system very well and knowing how and when they train, we can say this would include about 27 sessions of which 5 would be very heavy.

Going from the sublime to the ridiculous I can see now that although I was considered to be a hard worker in my own competitive days, I actually did not train hard enough. I did not lift enough tonnes in a workout to reach my true potential. My heaviest Olympic workouts were around 3.6 tonnes and this included a tonne of squats. I probably used heavier workouts in powerlifting competitions! Of course it is quite in order for your tonnage to drop as a contest approaches owing to the change of workouts. Your tonnage will drop by around 25-35%. This is because you are dropping many of the heavy assistance exercises and increasing the intensity of the snatch and jerk. In the tapering off phase it will drop even more. You will reach your heaviest workout about two weeks before the event, then your tonnage takes about a 25% drop with the taper-off so it will seem very low in comparison with your top tonnages in the strengthening phase. This is in order because intensity is high but you must also now start to build up a reserve of energy even with these high intensity workouts. Be sure that at the end of every session you enter in your training log the tonnage you use. It will only take a few minutes to calculate it and then you will see immediately if you are improving and if and when you change your routines you will not be so likely to make mistakes.

In the following tonnage progression program you will see that the lifter is working up to approximately 90% of maximum. This has little increase in intensity but the tonnage has increased from 775 kg. to 1,222.5 kg. [Initial Maximum - 110 kg.]

Tonnage Progression Program (in kilos)

Starting point
Progression 1
Progression 2
Progression 3  
Progression 4  
Progression 5  

From this stage you may wish to continue adding tonnage but also increase intensity. For this purpose, I have devised another schedule -- a dual tonnage and intensity progression schedule. There is a danger of changing the nature of the schedule if numerous sets of 4 repetitions are introduced; adjustments have to be made to retain the main characteristics.

Dual Tonnage & Intensity Progression Program

Starting point
70x3/80x3/90x3/95x2/100x2/102.5x1+1 = 1314.5 kg.
Progression 1
Progression 2
Progression 3
Progression 4
Progression 5
Progression 6
Progression 7
Progression 8
Progression 9
Progression 10
Progression 11
72.5x4/82.5x3/92.5x3/97.5x2/102.5x2/105x1/107.5x1+1 = 1527 kg.

 This program must not be in any way rushed. The very subtle increase of work is hardly noticeable, but you will see by the tonnage that there has been a considerable increase during the period. This is not by any means overambitious, for although there are about 18 increases detailed over the two previous schedules you are not once asked to lift more than your initial maximum, i.e. 110 kg. Of course, this 110 kg. will no longer be your maximum. These schedules will have increased it and you still have not been working at maximum intensity.

Adding more weight and using heavier poundages with the Intensity Progression Program.
Phased Training, pt. 1 - Fitness.


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