by Jim O’MalleyResearch of the criteria and parameters of theloading in the multi-year dynamics of a weightlifter'straining has produced the following basicrecommendations which are necessary to take intoaccount when structuring multi-year training inweightlifting.1) The number of lifts (NL), as a criterion of thevolume, is a more objective assessment of the volumeof the loading than the tonnage. To see why, considerthis: two athletes execute a load of 100 metric tons forthe month in the preparation period. The averagetraining weight for one of them is 80kg, while for theother it is 100kg. This means that the first athlete did1250 lifts (100/.08) and the second 1000 lifts(100/.10). So, the athletes executed a different amountof work and spent a different amount of time doing it.One executed more lifts but with less weight ; theother did fewer lifts with more weight. The NL does notdepend on the weight class, age, or height of theathlete. It depends on the lifters qualification and, likethe tonnage, is very specific. The introduction of theNL as the criterion of the volume into the planning oftraining facilitates the switch to programming oftraining.2) Functional indicators rise along with the increasedvolume and intensity in the first four stages of training(beginner, low class, qualified, and master of sport).However, once the athlete reaches master of sportinternational, the most favorable conditions for furtherimprovement constitute a moderate drop in the annualvolume while continuing to increase the intensity level.3) The annual volume is also a function of the athlete'sskill level and the following NL are recommended forthe various levels of qualification ;beginner ~ 10,000low class ~ 12,000qualified ~ 15,000master of sport ~ 18,000master of sport international ~ 16,200The lower three skill level lifters normally perform3 to 6 training sessions per week while the upper twomay perform as many as 9 to 10. This is accomplishedby implementing twice a day training when the masterof sport level is reached.4) The monthly volume follows a similar pattern (i.e. itis also a function of the athlete's skill level). Thefollowing volumes are recommended for the variousqualification levels and represent the average NLperformed in the preparation and competition cycles.The actual number of lifts can be lesser or greater.Preparation CompetitionBeginner 1100900Low Class 1250 900Qualified 1650 1200Master of Sport 2100 1500MSIC 1880 13625) Planning becomes increasingly complex as oneproceeds from the top on downward. That is to saythat forecasting results over a multi-year time frame(i.e. on a macro level) can only be realistically viewedas a very rough approximation but one which can bequickly and fairly easily ascertained. However, at theother end of the spectrum (i.e. the micro level) whichinvolves planning the individual workouts, is verydifficult and is much more art than science due to thefact that many different combinations andpermutations can be used and a fair amount of trialand error is practically inevitable in discovering themost appropriate combinations and orderings for anyparticular athlete.So the top-down process starts with a multi-yearevaluation and then proceeds to form an annual plan,followed by monthly worksheets, then weekly plans,and finally planning the individual sessions.Recommendations are available for methodicallyplanning the weekly cycles. The beginner basicallytrains three times per week with medium, heavy, andlight volumes (usually in that order but not always).The planning for the low class and qualified lifters ismore concrete. Both groups train from 3 to 6 timed perweek. Normally, about 135 lifts would be the maximumfor any single session. A more specific breakdown isas follows ;3 days per week (28% 48% 24%)4 days per week (22% 35% 15% 28%)5 days per week (27% 15% 13% 15% 30%)6 days per week (16% 20% 13% 16% 22% 13%)These orderings are usually employed but can(and should) vary from time to time.You can determine how many individual sessionsto perform each week in the following manner ; sincethe max number of lifts in any one session is 135, thenfor three training sessions (where 48% of total areperformed on the heaviest day) you should train 3times per week up to a weekly volume of 280 lifts(135/.48 ~ 280). In a similar fashion, 4 sessions perweek can be performed up to a weekly volume ofmore than 280 lifts but less than or equal to 385 lifts(135/.35 ~ 385). Five sessions would be used whenthe weekly volume exceeds 385 but is less than orequal to 450 (135/.30 ~ 450). Six sessions areplanned when the volume exceeds 450 lifts. Weeklyplanning for the master of sport and MSIC is morecomplicated because at this level twice a day trainingis regularly employed. Up to 200 lifts per day can beplanned in the prep cycle and 180 in the comp period.The interested reader can refer to my related article"Twice a Day Training" for more details. The overallvolume distributions are approximately normallydistributed. That is to say that there are fewer light andheavy weeks and more light-medium and mediumheavyweeks.6) The intensity of the loading is the magnitude of theapplied effort. This is defined by ;a) the average training weightb) the coefficient of intensityc) the quantity of 90% + lifts performedd) the distribution of the NL by zones of intensitya) The average training weight is highly correlated withthe sports results of qualified athletes (r = .904).However, a strong caveat exists. The intensity of theload in each exercise, expressed in kilograms,conceals the content of training and does notrepresent the amount of weight the athlete actuallytrained with. For example, if the average weight over4 sets of snatches is 80kg, this does not mean that theathlete executed all of the lifts with this weight. Hecould have lifted 70kg twice and 90kg twice or 100kgonce, 80kg once, and 70kg twice (and so forth). Hereis another example ; one can do five snatch pulls with80kg and five with 110kg. The average weight of theten lifts (assuming a max snatch of 100kg) wouldconform to the optimal weight for perfecting snatchtechnique --- 95kg ; however, in actuality this is farfrom true. The 80kg does not elicit sufficient musculartension and the 110kg distorts greatly all of the optimalspatial and temporal parameters found throughout thephasic structure of the lift. So, the aforementioned wayof planning a lifter's intensity of loading has a numberof deficiencies, and is therefore seldom used inpractice. One needs a simpler, more accessible and atthe same time a more precise method of planning theintensity of the loading. A " rational " distribution will beoffered in section " d ".b) An increase in the average weight relative to thebiathlon total ---- 38 +/- 2% produces an increase insports results. This is referred to as the coefficient ofintensity (k) and it is equal to avg. training weight x100 / biathlon total (for example if the average weightis 100kg and the biathlon total is 120+150 = 270kg,then k= 100 x 100 / 270 ~ 37). The stability of k isindividualized. An increase of 4kg in the averagetraining weight can produce 10kg of improvement inthe biathlon results (i.e. if k = 40). For example, if theaverage weight is 100kg and increases to 104kg then100 x 100/ 40 = 250kg and 104 x 100 / 40 = 260kg.Naturally, from the discussion above, the readershould realize that this is also premised on the factthat the volume is rationally distributed among thevarious exercises and that the intensity is rationallydistributed within the various exercises.Research of the dynamics of the absolute and therelative intensity in the snatch and the clean and jerkexercises has revealed that progress in the sport ofweightlifting comes about through an increase in theabsolute intensity (i.e. the average weight) while therelative intensity in each lift remains relatively stable ;an average of 75% starting with class II athletes.Class III and beginner athletes train with a meanweight (in each exercise) of 69%. Testing theorystates that the consistency of a test is the measure ofits reliability (i.e. this kind of test can be an objectivecriterion of quality.c) The submaximum and maximum (90 to 100%) liftsin the snatch and the clean and jerk. Research in thisarea has shown that the quantity of these lifts islimited (from 10 to 60 each month), strictlyindividualized, and depends on the stage of training ;20-30 lifts in the prep period and 40-60 in thecompetition period and 300-600 lifts annually (65%performed with 90-92.5%, 20% done with 95%, and15% with 97.5% and more).For example, an 85kg low class lifter (21 years old)would perform about 365 lifts with 90% and aboveannually while an 85kg master of sport lifter (also 21years old) would do approximately 660 each year.d) The distribution of the lifts by zones of intensity (i.e."rational" distributions).The distributions for the snatch and the cleanand jerk exercises is skewed toward the zones oflower intensity. For example, an 85kg master of sportlifter would distribute snatches ( in the 2,100 lift prepcycle ) as follows ;< 60% ~ 18%60-69% ~ 37%70-79% ~ 25%80-89% ~ 13%90% + ~ 7%Distributions vary somewhat among skill levels andwithin different weight classes in the same skill levelbut the underlying structure remains fairly steady.Squats are also skewed toward the zone of lowerintensity. 20% of all squats (both front and back) aredone with 70-79% of max C&J. 20% are performedwith 80-89% of max C&J, and 25% with 90-99% ofmax C&J. High intensity squats (100 to 125% of maxC&J vary both with regard to skill level and weightclass. The residual squats are done with <70% of maxC&J.Pulls (both snatch and clean) are skewed towardthe rising intensity zones. 50% of all clean pulls aredone in the 90-99% range of max C&J. 17% with 80-89% of max C&J. 100% weights and above vary withskill levels and weight classes. Residual clean pullsare done with < 80% of max C&J.45% of all snatch pulls are done with 90-99% of maxsnatch. 100% and more also vary with respect to theskill level and weight class. Residual snatch pulls aredone with < 90% of max snatch.7) "Rational" loading of the volume among exercisegroups.The distributions vary ( sometimes only in asubtle manner) as the skill level increases. Thefollowing are recommended distributions for prep andcomp months for the various skill levels (i.e. beginner,low class, qualified, master of sport, MSIC) :Beginner Prep = CompSnatch 11%Other Snatch 9%Clean 6%Other Clean 7%Jerk 6%Other Jerk 6%Squats 30%Other Squat 18%Pressing 7%Low Class Prep = CompSnatch 10%Other Snatch 10%Clean 7.5%Other Clean 9.5%Jerk 7.5%Other Jerk 3.5%Squats 27%Other Squat 15%Pressing 10%The beginner and low class athletes perform justthe basic exercises so "other" snatches, "other"cleans, and "other" jerks are simply power snatchesfrom the floor, power cleans from the floor, and pushjerks respectively. For the beginner, "other" squats areboth lunges and overhead squats and presses arebench presses done with either a wide or narrow grip.For the low class athlete, "other" squats are justoverhead squats and presses comprise both benchpresses (with a clean grip) and behind the neckpresses with a snatch grip. These "additional"exercises are often combined in a single movementsuch as power snatch + BNP + overhead squat.Qualified Prep CompSnatch 9% 9%Other Snatch 11% 12%Clean 6% 6%Other Clean 9% 9%Jerk 7% 7%Other Jerk 5% 6%Squat 23% 23%Other Squat 6% 4%Snatch Pull 7% 5%Clean Pull 5% 6%Pressing 6% 10%Bendovers 6% 3%Master of Sport Prep CompSnatch 8% 8%Other Snatch 12% 13%Clean 5% 5%Other Clean 8% 8%Jerk 6% 6%Other Jerk 7% 8%Squats 20% 20%Other Squats 5% 4%Snatch Pull 8.5% 5%Clean Pull 10% 12%Pressing 5.5% 8%Bendovers 5% 3%Both the qualified lifter and the master of sport usea fairly wide array of exercises.They include (but arenot limited to) ;"other" snatches - power snatch (floor), power snatch(blocks), snatch (blocks), power snatch (hang), andsnatch (hang)"other" cleans - power clean (floor), power clean(blocks), clean (blocks), power clean (hang), andclean (hang)"other" jerks - push jerk (front or back), push press(front or back), jerk drives, jerk behind neck"other" squats - overhead squats, lungesbendovers - hyperextensions, good morningspresses - bench press, incline press, seated orstanding presses (front and back). Also, all pressingshould be done with a variety of grips includingnarrow, regular, and wide.The master of sport international volumedistributions can be derived as follows ; first, calculatethe NL in the mean prep month (2100 lifts) and themean comp month (1500 lifts) using the master ofsport percentage distribution. Then, reduce by onehalfthe number of "additional" (as opposed tofundamental) lifts. These are the snatch pulls,presses, bendovers, and "other" squats. Now you willhave a new set of numbers which you must convertback to percentages by dividing each number by thenew mean prep volume (1880 lifts) and the new compvolume (1362 lifts). Refer back to section 4 if you needto refresh your memory as to why these are the newtotal volume numbers to use.One final, but important, note. These distributionsare based on the premise that the athletes lifting iswell balanced. By that I mean that certain ratiosbetween the SPP and the classical lifts are met. Theratios change slightly as the skill level increases so Iwill use just one example (that being the qualified lifter[i.e. the class I - CMS athlete]. The following ratiosshould be met by these athletes ; power snatch /snatch ~ 87-90%, power clean / clean ~ 87-90%, pushjerk / classical jerk ~ 92%, and squat / C&J ~ 128%.In the event that imbalances are discovered, thevolume distributions should be altered in such amanner so as to increase the focus on weak spots anddecrease the focus on strong areas.In my opinion, the key to success in OlympicLifting is to "train don't strain". Employing a rational,systemic approach is FAR superior to using what I call"brute force methods" which basically involves tryingto lift as much as you can as often as you can.Good luck to you !!!