Methods of Developing Leg Strength
A.A. Zeinalov, Grodno
Tiazhelaya Atletika
1976: 29 – 31
Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.
Sportivny Press©
2006
A weightlifter’s results in the snatch and the clean and jerk depend on the athlete’s strength development, in particular the strength of the legs which bear the brunt of the loading during the performance of these exercises. However, information in the special literature concerning the methods of developing leg strength is insufficient.
Our experiences over the past six years with a rather large contingent of athletes (105 guys) of various qualification (classified athletes, masters of sport and masters of sport international class), many of whom went on to become Byelorussian record holders and champions, champions and medalists of the USSR Armed Forces, USSR medalists, allows us to suggest an original method for developing leg strength.
It has been noted that it is not necessary to train with near – limit and limit weights all of the time in order to strengthen the legs. The majority of improvement is obtained with principally small (70%) and moderate (80%) weights. These weights should be used in tandem with large and limit weights; however, the portion of the loading with these weights should comprise only 16% of the total loading in squats.
It has been established as well that a noticeable increase in squat results can be obtained after six weeks of special training. One is able to train relatively safely when one employs primarily small and moderate weights in squats; a necessity for systematic training.
What are the particulars of our method?
First, we should say that it is designed for the preparatory period. The six week training cycle is divided into two stages. The volume of loading rises in the first stage with a relatively constant average barbell weight. The volume is reduced in the second stage and the intensity of the loading is increased. Each stage consists of three weekly cycles.
The weights used in the first stage are 70 – 80% of the best result in the back squat. The weights employed in the second stage are 85 – 105%.
The rising volume of loading in the first stage as well as the reduction of the same in the second is accompanied by a constant loading. This constant loading is designed for active rest. Squats are done three times per week, every other day.
The six week cycle begins with the constant loading (see table 1). In the first stage the number of repetitions per set with the fundamental weight increases by one repetition on the even workouts. The number of repetitions per set remains the same in the odd workouts.
Table 1. The distribution of loading in squats for the first stage.
Week |
Workout |
Warmup |
Fund. Wt. |
# lifts |
Avg. Wt. |
1^{st} |
1^{st} |
70/2; 75/2 |
80/2 x 6 |
16 |
78.1 |
1^{st} |
2^{nd} |
70/2; 75/2 |
80/3 x 6 |
22 |
78.6 |
1^{st} |
3^{rd} |
70/2; 75/2 |
80/2 x 6 |
16 |
78.1 |
2^{nd} |
4^{th} |
70/2; 75/2 |
80/4 x 6 |
28 |
78.9 |
2^{nd} |
5^{th} |
70/2; 75/2 |
80/2 x 6 |
16 |
78.1 |
2^{nd} |
6^{th} |
70/2; 75/2 |
80/5 x 6 |
34 |
79.1 |
3^{rd} |
7^{th} |
70/2; 75/2 |
80/2 x 6 |
16 |
78.1 |
3^{rd} |
8^{th} |
70/2; 75/2 |
80/6 x 6 |
40 |
79.2 |
3^{rd} |
9^{th} |
70/2; 75/2 |
80/2 x 6 |
16 |
78.1 |
Table 2. The distribution of the loading in squats in the second stage.
Week |
Workout |
Warmup |
Fund. Wt. |
# lifts |
Avg. Wt. |
4^{th} |
10^{th} |
70/2; 75/2 |
85/5 x 5 |
29 |
83.3 |
4^{th} |
11^{th} |
70/2; 75/2 |
80/2 x 6 |
16 |
78.1 |
4^{th} |
12^{th} |
70/2; 75/2 |
90/4 x 4 |
20 |
86.5 |
5^{th} |
13^{th} |
70/2; 75/2 |
80/2 x 6 |
16 |
78.1 |
5^{th} |
14^{th} |
70/2; 75/2 |
95/3 x 3 |
13 |
88.1 |
5^{th} |
15^{th} |
70/2; 75/2 |
80/2 x 6 |
16 |
78.1 |
6^{th} |
16^{th} |
70/2; 75/2 |
100/2 x 2 |
8 |
86.2 |
6^{th} |
17^{th} |
70/2; 75/2 |
80/2 x 6 |
16 |
78.1 |
6^{th} |
18^{th*} |
70/2; 75/2 |
105/1 x 1 |
5 |
79 |
*The warm – up and build up to the maximum result in the squat can be different than planned for the 18^{th} workout, with the addition of more warm – up sets and maximum lifts.
The general volume of squats is 204 lifts in the first stage, with an average weight of 78.7% of the maximum.
The sportsman trains with small and moderate weights during the first stage but by the first workout of the second stage the weight is 85%. Then after each constant workout the training weight is increased by 5% and the number of sets and repetitions per set is reduced by one (see table 2). The athlete is usually able to squat with 105% of his limit in the 18^{th} workout at the end of the second stage. Of course this does not exclude the possibility of an even higher result.
The athlete does 343 lifts over the six week training cycle; the average weight is 80%. This would represent a volume of 23% in squats if the athlete does 1000 – 1100 lifts in the preparatory period (over a four week cycle), which meets the modern requirements of training.
The athlete uses his best result from the previous training cycle to determine his new maximum result in the final workout.
If the athlete is unable to cope with the loading in the second half of the first stage of training, for instance, he cannot squat the assigned number of repetitions in all six sets of the 6^{th} and 8^{th} workouts; it will be necessary for him to repeat the loading planned for weeks two and three. Then he can proceed to the second stage.
You can alter the squatting for the constant loading in subsequent cycles. For example, in the first constant loading day do back squats; in the second workout overhead squats (55 – 65%); in the third lunges with the barbell on the chest; in the fourth front squats.
If the athlete returns to training after a break, when his maximum squat will naturally be lower, he should use a weight of 70% of the best squat from the last training stage for the fundamental loading workouts in the first stage. The weights used for the warm up should be 60 and 65%. The second stage of the program should be followed as before.
The athlete should do some running, sprints, vertical jumps, standing and running long jumps and play sport games to improve joint mobility, muscle and tendon elasticity.
Squat results should comprise an average of 134% of the clean and jerk results. The volume of squats can be increased up to 30% of the general volume of loading if the squat results are lagging.