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The Mastery Method: A Deep Dive into the Evolution of a Weightlifter
Anyone who has performed a given task repeatedly over the years will develop a method or process for completing that task. Most people who have committed extensive time and conscious thought to that task will refine, modify, and innovate that process. It may not be identical to the process employed by other practitioners of that task, but is probably somewhat similar.
In this piece, I want to explain the process I have developed over teaching thousands of weightlifters over a 53-year coaching career. It’s probably not that much different from the practices of other coaches. Still, by defining the process, I hope it will help new coaches and lifters understand the road ahead and perhaps provoke some thoughts about the procedures.
I’ve divided the process into three phases—beginner, intermediate and advanced. Each has slightly different outcomes and expectations, but they should allow the athlete to become the best weightlifter he or she can be. That is the most one can hope for.
Since weightlifting is an international sport, all figures will be expressed in kilograms.
WEIGHTLIFTING BEGINNER PHASE
A woman whose body weight is in the first column and has not exceeded the two-lift total in the corresponding second column can be considered a beginner. Anyone who has never learned to perform the snatch and clean & jerk is also a beginner.
A man whose body weight is in the first column and has not exceeded the two-lift total in the corresponding second column can be considered a beginner. Anyone who has never learned to perform the snatch and clean & jerk is also a beginner.
The list of goals for beginners can be quite lengthy if the newcomer has never been an athlete and needs to learn the lifestyle changes that will facilitate the achievement of success in the sport.
Determining appropriate training weights
There are no hard and fast rules for selecting training weights for beginners. The athlete in question should select weights that enable the lift to be performed speedily but are not so light that they are performed as a mime might be. If the weight is so heavy that good technique is compromised, then the weight should be reduced.
Moving toward ideal goal weight ratios
The ultimate goal that the athlete should be attempting to achieve is a snatch that is 80% of the clean & jerk.
Learn and master appropriate auxiliary exercises
There is a considerable range of auxiliary exercises that will help the novice to correct problems and help to balance the physical development. Again, a competent coach can greatly assist in selecting and performing these movements.
Any novice lacking in athletic ability must participate in activities that will improve kinesthetic sense and explosiveness.
Learn the athlete's lifestyle
If the novice has never been an athlete, then some attention must be given over to developing a daily regimen that will accommodate training and recovery.
Enter mock or novice competitions and/or develop performance skills
Mock competitions will enable new lifters to learn the lifting mechanics in competition. Any activity performed in front of an audience will aid in developing performance skills. Many newcomers may enter the sport having already mastered performance skills.
WEIGHTLIFTING INTERMEDIATE PHASE
A woman whose body weight is in the first column and has not exceeded the two-lift total in the corresponding second column can be considered an intermediate lifter.
A man whose body weight is in the first column and has not exceeded the two-lift total in the corresponding second column can be considered an intermediate lifter.
The primary focus of the intermediate lifter is to improve further the skills initiated during the beginner phase and to place more emphasis on the competitive aspects.
The technique developed during the beginner phase will not suffice for intermediates. The technique must become more precise, consistent, and with more explosiveness and speed.
Refine exercise menu
Some exercises learned during the beginner phase have already served their purpose and must be discarded or employed sporadically as when returning from an injury.
Improving training recovery ability and habits
Training sessions will become more frequent and heavily loaded. This will require greater recovery and more attention to recovery habits and modalities.
Develop strength and explosiveness
These are the primary factors that will bring about some skilled performance improvements.
Develop more advanced lifestyle habits
The daily regimen will become more critical in the development of athletic qualities.
100% selection skills
The ability to more accurately select 100% figures will improve.
Understanding further refinement of training cycling
As the athlete trains more regularly with well-designed training programs, the better the understanding of how cycling works.
Improve competitive skills
The intermediate athlete should develop the ability to perform personal records in competition with regularity. The competitive environment should enable the athlete to lift heavier weights than in training.
Master the skills involved in traveling to local meets
Traveling to local meets is a learning experience that can only be mastered through participation.
WEIGHTLIFTING ADVANCED PHASE
Advanced athletes should become skilled at lifting in national and international competitions. This will entail understanding longer macrocycles and a greater dedication to the athlete's lifestyle. One needs to remember that what got you to this point will have to be enhanced if you are to advance.
Athletes who have exceeded the totals listed in the previous section should consider themselves advanced. A lack of talent may be the deciding factor.
Further refinement of technique
This means the percentage of successful attempts in competition will increase.
Refine exercise menu
The number of exercises employed will decrease.
Improve training recovery
The body should adapt better to recovery from heavier and more frequent training volumes.
Improve strength and explosiveness
It should be perceptively improved during competitive efforts.
Develop greater training capacity
Longer sessions with higher intensity will be performed more frequently.
A more stringent lifestyle regimen
Serious athletes at this level will have learned to organize their lifestyle to more adequately accommodate more rigorous training.
Improve the competitive mindset
This is more abstract than other areas, but it will involve many aspects of the athlete’s lifestyle and approach to the competition cycle.
Learn national and international travel skills
WEIGHTLIFTING ELITELIFTS PRO PLAN
This is my program for developing training programs to accommodate many of the goals of the Mastery Method. It has been developed over a 50-year coaching career developing athletes, many of them up to the international level. It is based on a review of a wide range of training articles by noted practitioners, conferences and conversations with acknowledged authorities and coaches, and countless hours coaching athletes in the gym and competitions from local to the Olympic Games.
Starting this month, I will post the training programs for all three phases on the Takano Weightlifting Coaching Membership Site.
This is an exceptional value for lifters and coaches needing the most effective, time-tested training programs. Each week will feature a different weekly training program for each phase. My athletes have used these programs as they moved steadily from one phase to another on their weightlifting journeys. These programs and the quality of programming are not available anywhere else. Watch the video at the accompanying link and sign up for all the training information you’ll ever need.