Weightlifting Training: Organizing The Beginner's Weekly Regimen
Starting a raw beginner can be daunting as the ability levels of newcomers coming into training can be extremely diverse. Some have a history as athletes, while others may not know what weightlifting training can entail. Unless these novices have been pre-selected and filtered for talent, no one-size-fits-all approach will work universally.
The Diagnostic Session: Tailoring Training to the Individual
Before commencing the first week of training, there should be a diagnostic session during which the coach can determine the areas needing remediation. Mobility issues, strength imbalances, and athletic proficiencies should be diagnosed, and this information can lead the coach to determine which exercises are to be incorporated into the early training.
Drafting a Basic Weekly Plan: Structure is Key
The basic plan should be composed of 3 evenly spaced sessions, Monday-Wednesday-Friday being the most popular. Each session should involve barbell exercises with the main two goals being to remediate weaknesses and to learn the techniques of the snatch and clean & jerk.
Addressing Weaknesses: Targeted Movements for Optimal Growth
The first exercise should be directed at remediating the area that most greatly inhibits the proper performance of the classic movements. It could be strength, overhead stability, or mobility. Whatever the problem, the first exercise should address the most severe one.
The second movement should be directed at improving speed and/or technique, which most need improvement. It will probably not be a full snatch or full clean & jerk, but more likely a power snatch or power clean.
The third movement should be associated with the development of pulling mechanics. This will probably not be a conventional high pull performed correctly but might be a deadlift to the knees or upright rowing.
The fourth movement should be directed toward the development of leg strength.
This can be followed by movements that will generally improve lifting ability.
Flexibility in Training: Adjusting to the Athlete's Needs
This same format can be followed daily, but the exercises may not always be the same. For example, let’s say that a given lifter has problems performing an overhead squat. When the athlete goes all the way into the squat, the shoulders reach the limit of their mobility, and the barbell may be lost forward. We might have the athlete start on Monday by only squatting halfway down in the overhead squat. We may have to repeat this on Wednesday and Friday. The shoulders' mobility or stability might improve by the second week, and a full overhead squat is possible. When this stage is achieved, we might lessen the number of sets or place the exercise at the end of the session.
Enhancing Fitness on Off-Days
On Tuesdays and Thursdays (the in-between days), exercises to improve general fitness and athleticism can be programmed. These days are not mandatory but will speed up the athlete's development.
The Fluidity of Beginner Programming
As one can surmise from the foregoing, programming for the beginner is definitely a moving target. Different qualities improve at varying rates; the training must reflect those changes. Once a problem area is remediated, the same exercise(s) may be used with less frequency or for fewer sets or reps to function in a maintenance state. Coaching beginners can actually be a coaching specialty as so much of it is highly empirically based. As time passes, new athletes will participate, each bringing new challenges and strengths that progress at varying rates.
If you want more information about this process of coaching beginners, my TAKANO WEIGHTLIFTING COACHING membership site includes the bonus video THE FIRST 8 WEEKS which includes sample training programs over an 8-week program. It also includes videos of each exercise so there is no ambiguity about the performance. This video is just one small part of the overall membership site that includes plenty of sample training programs for advanced lifters and instructional videos about other aspects of the training of weightlifters. You can sign up for the low monthly rate (soon to go up) at https://takanoweightliftingcoaching.net/vsl-order-formeicq33md .
This site is strictly dedicated to providing training information for weightlifting sport based on a 53 year coaching career!