More Attention to Olympic Reserves

Observations on the contents of the Prilepin article.

/ the first observation the coach made that the team placing in the Junior World chps. of 1975  was especially noteworthy: the top three teams were rank ordered according to the success rate of attempts;

/ the conclusion their athletes were weak in certain muscle groups under the assumption the top team from Bulgaria was evidently not;

/ no explanation offered why Russians needed to strength the lumbar area of the back without some observation as to what the Bulgarians did for this; if they had similar problems or if they did not – why not;

/ the need to include more 90 – 100% lifts in the classic exercises as well as a lot of low intensity exercises that Alexseyev popularized; this even though the Bulgarians did not practice all these other movements and apparently did not have the Russian weaknesses in individual muscle groups;

/ the recognition of the psychological tuning and stability which comes from practicing more 90 – 100% lifts;  

/ the inclusion of jumps to alleviate and strengthen sore knees without explanation what would be an underlying cause of sore knees such as too many power snatch and power cleans;

/ the listing of the number of specialized weightlifting centers in the Soviet union which were obviously far more than in a tiny country like Bulgaria without the money or poulation of the USSR.

More Attention to Olympic Reserves

A.S. Prilepin, Head Weightlifting Coach

Tiiazhelaya Atletika Yezhegodnik :1977:8-11

Contemporary results in weightlifting require the search for talented sportsmen of various ages. Without a doubt the elimination of the press opened the door for young athletes with considerable potential to achieve high results. The records established by weightlifters from different countries (Bulgaria, USSR, Poland, Cuba and so forth) at competitions of various level are a direct indication of a rejuvenation trend in weightlifting.  

The first junior world weightlifting championships took place in Marseille, France in July 1975 created enormous interest and exceeded all expectations. Relative to the number of participants it was comparable to a competition for seniors lifters. On hundred forty two lifters from 31 countries took part. All five continents were represented. The following countries entered full (9 lifters) teams: USSR, Bulgaria, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Iran, Canada, GDR. While the following countries entered eight athletes: Japan, USA, France.

Even a superficial analysis of the technical results showed the teams of Bulgaria, USSR and Poland were the best prepared. The team prize was decided on the final day when two Bulgarian athletes in the 110 kg class took 1st and 3rd; raising their point total to 90. The USSR placed 2nd with 82 points and the Polish team 3rd with 62 points. V. Khristov (BUL) set three senior world records. All the Bulgarian athletes won medals; four of which were gold. Our lifters won three gold.

An analysis of the preparation for and the outcomes of the championships revealed weak aspects of the technical, physical and psychological preparedness of our young athletes.

An indication of technical preparedness was in our view the rate of successful attempts of snatch and clean and jerk in the competition between the Soviet, Bulgarian and Polish athletes. For example, the first place Bulgarian team made 72% of their attempts; 81% in the snatch; 70% in the clean and jerk. The second place USSR team succeeded with 65% of their attempts: 78% of snatches and 60% of clean and jerk. The Polish weightlifters took third place with 55, 60, and 54% of attempts. So, there you have it, the teams were rank ordered by their success rate.

Our sportsmen were lacking in the strength of some very important muscle groups. It was because of this they were very weak; uncertain in their performance of the clean and especially the snatch which naturally has a negative bearing on the squat under and fixation of the barbell.

The psychological preparedness of our lifters was insufficient.  This was due to two factors: first, a lack of international experience; not to mention a competition of such scale; second, a very small number of lifts of 90 to 100% in the classic exercises. The Bulgarian team has a lot of experience in international competitions. For us, the coaches, the high intensity preparation of the Bulgarian juniors is no secret.

Immediately following the first championships in Marseille, the coaches worked out a training plan for the next competition which would solve the enumerated problems facing our young athletes.

It is interesting to note the plan was organized along the lines of team concept which was developed to prepare sportsmen not just for this year; but the next 2 – 3 years. Throughout the following period of preparation for the world championships the athletes repeatedly competed in international competitions. This enabled the coaches to create a more stable team composition. Our young athletes won the unofficial team event of the international friendship competition of socialist countries.

The first thing to establish is a single unified training loading; because the athletes are close in age, preparedness and stage of training and so forth. If an athlete encountered difficulty recuperating after a certain session it was due to his genetic potential. To eliminate technique insufficiencies in the classic exercises each sportsman would receive individual recommendations at the end of the workouts and assigned special assistance exercises.

We used electronic devices to aid improving technique.

In order to perfect technique and strengthen the necessary muscle groups we expanded the range of special assistance exercises; close in structure to the snatch and the clean and jerk. For the snatch we included muscle snatches with close hand spacing from a starting position of almost straight legs, slowly lifting the barbell then dropping fast into the squat; muscle snatches with various hand spacings for the clean.

It is assumed that one needs to include a large number of pressing exercises to develop the muscles of the shoulder girdle and arms. Of course they should be a part of the arsenal of assistance exercises; but one should not get carried away with them as they have a different structure in comparison with the snatch and jerk exercises.

We recommend all exercises to be performed without straps encompassing a sequencing of grasping: thumb-less, simple and hook grips to strengthen the grip and forearms.

Special attention was devoted to strengthening the knee and ankle joints. For this, we performed jumping exercises daily such as jumping over a vaulting horse or several hurdles; depth jumps from heights of 90 – 120 cm to a firm support surface.

To strengthen the back, especially the lumbar area we performed hyperextensions daily over a horse with a weight on the shoulders.   

The majority of the exercises have become very widespread in the training of weightlifters in recent times as popularized by V. Alexseyev.

The value of these exercises was borne out in subsequent competitions. For example, half – heavyweight G. Klimenchukov hurt his shoulder (a dislocation) and was unable to train at full capacity. Pain in the shoulder prevented him from training. Klimenchukov’s results in July 1975 were snatch 135 kg and jerk 165 kg. He was able to strengthen his shoulder girdle with a large volume of the aforementioned special assistance exercises over a period of ten months; followed by increased the intensity in the classic exercises. Consequently, he snatched 160 kg and jerked 205 kg at the world championships in 1976. Klimenchukov placed first in the first heavyweight (100 kg) at a bodyweight of 93 kg.

Another example: Y. Vardanyan was unable to make improvement over a prolonged period because he suffered from knee pain. An increase in the volume of jumping eliminated the pain. Subsequently, the sportsman sharply increased the volume of his training; set records and became world champion.

The training load varies depending on the aims at various stages of the preparation. For example, here are three sequential stages of training.

So, in February the training volume fluctuated from 1,300 to 1,500 lifts (from 160 to 200 tons); 24 workouts; general physical training comprised 40 hours. Twice a day workouts were included; or, two workouts with the barbell; or, one workout with barbell and one with special general physical training.  

March was the competition period where the athletes were readied for the USSR championships. The monthly volume was 900 – 1100 lifts (100 – 140 tons); 22 workouts; general physical training was excluded. Two workouts in a day were also included.

At the third pre – competition stage leading up to the world championships in April, the volume was once again increased. This volume fluctuated from 1,200 to 1,500 lifts (150 to 190 tons). There were 20 sessions of general physical training and the number of workouts was 32.

The loading was reduced in the next period from May to June leading up to the world championships.

We devoted considerable attention to 90 – 100% lifts in the classic exercises as well as in the special assistance exercises. The number of 90 – 100% lifts was 30 – 40 in February; 50 – 70 in March and 40 – 50 in April. These lifts were performed in the first workouts of the day. In April the 90 – 100% lifts were planned for once a day in the early evening, i.e., against a backdrop of fatigue. Raising the number of maximum lifts accelerates the athlete’s progress, while enhancing psychological preparedness.

Medical controls were implemented constantly during all stages of training employing such means of restoration as sauna, massage, vitamins and so forth. The creative approach of our coaches working with members and candidates enabled us to avoid serious injury of shoulder, elbows and knees; as well as an very small number of incidences of lumbar pain.

Our team placed first at the 1976 world championships with six gold medals, two silvers; but perhaps, the main achievement was results of the juniors were on par with the seniors.

Some of the old time specialists thought that it was not possible for 17 – 18 year old lifters to achieve high results. For instance, many sports including weightlifting have already shown that it is possible for the youthful organism to accommodate a large loading. It is quite natural that the young athlete has the great potential to improve sport results. Therefore, we need to structure training such that a 17 – 18 year old can reach high results.

It is necessary to turn more attention to the Olympic reserves. A the present time the youth teams of have achieved such that it is appropriate to speak of the weightlifting provinces of Zhdanov, Grozny, Leninakan, Klaipeda, Krasnokamsk, Sverdlovsk Voroshiovgrad regions. We anticipate a good return from such key support bases as Moscow, Lennigrad, Kiev, Minsk, Donyetsk, Voroshilovgrad, Rostov – Na – Donu, Yerevan with their specialized weightlifting halls. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough coac

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