The Training of Vladimir Belayev

The Training of Vladimir Belayev

Y.R. Krinitsky

Tiiazhelaya Atletika Yezhegodnik

18-30:1971, FiS, Moscow

Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.

Sportivny Press®

Back-round Information for  “The Training of Vladimir Belayev”

Although the content of the this article has long since been ancient history; having been published in 1971. The article has some timeless knowledge; especially at the present time; with an abundance of digitally transmitted misinformation about weightlifting training and biomechanics. Vladimir Belayev was a world record holder at 75 and at 82.5 kg; world champion in 1966 and Olympic silver medalist in 1968. His coach Y.R. Krinitsky who worked with him from a young age outlines his early training; included are special exercises and methods to teach Belayev the skills to perform the classic exercises.

Belayev was extolled for his skills in the snatch and the clean and jerk. For instance, Alexander Lukashev one of the top weightlifting biomechanists of the USSR spoke of Belayev’s technique in glowing terms. It is of practical interest today to hear of how Belayev developed the skill to snatch record weights.

Although the George (Pete and Jim) brothers of the USA are widely acknowledged for convincing the weightlifting world the squat style of lifting was superior to the split style; it was Belayev who showed coaches and athletes alike; a lifter can develop the skill to lift and balance the athlete/barbell system in the low squat with a high level of reliability. As Krinitsky points out in the article, many lifters of the 1950s and 1960s zeroed in the snatch; a lack of balance being the primary culprit. A lifter who made three good lifts using the squat style stood out. An exceptionally skilled lifter like Belayev stood out all the more so.

For instance, Tommy Kono witnessed Belayev’s warmups at the 1967 little Olympics in Mexico city. After opening with 140 kg in the snatch Belayev did several snatches with 130 kg; while waiting his turn to attempt a world record 147.5 kg. Vladimir sat in the low squat with each of these lifts in order to hop forward and backward a few times before standing. Needless to say he lifted the world record 147.5 kg  with no problem.

I have included a few pictures which were taken by Tommy Suggs for Strength and Magazine; not to take credit; but for educational purposes. If there is a problem with this I will gladly take them down.  One in particular of Belayev doing a good morning exercise with 60 kg. He is bending with heels together; knees straight; back rounding with bar resting at the back of his neck.

Figures 1 – 3: Vladimir Belayev doing good mornings at the 1967 pre – Olmpic tournament in Mexico City circa 1967. The other two photos of him jerking in the classic Soviet technique with perfect form (photos Tommy Suggs).

This atypical method of performing good mornings is good for stretching the back muscles and hamstrings and even the gastrocnemius muscles (because knees are straight) and would be considered more of a rehab exercise to alleviate stiffness in the lower back during the age of the Olympic press. In my own experiences with this exercise over many years I was able to do 5 sets of 6 with 100 kg; with no back problems in performance of the exercise or in other training exercises.

The Training of Vladimir Belayev

Y.R. Krinitsky

For us to discuss the training of Vladimir Belayev at the present time, I think that it is interesting to point out that his best results of 1966 (snatch 150 kg and clean and jerk 190 kg) are still competitive at the present time. His results were significantly higher than the middleweights at that time and yes, even now. The best results of today’s middleweights exceeding 500 kg (primarily by means of the press) are not that high. Their results in the tempo exercises can be significantly higher. But it will be necessary to improve the technique of these exercises, especially the squat snatch where the sportsman has to possess not only strength but great joint mobility and balance.

Vladimir Belayev began weightlifting training in the fall of 1955 with a group of novices. He was 15 years old. He spent a lot of time at the beginning with other sports. He did standing long jumps, vertical jumps, hand stand press ups, tossing kettle bells, sprints (30 – 40 m), swimming and sport games. The variety of non – barbell exercises he performed increased his interest in training and assisted the development of those qualities without which he would be unable to perform the squat snatch and the squat clean and jerk.

Vladimir quickly stood out from his peers. By 1956 he already had mastered the technique of all three classic exercises, especially the snatch. His best results in competition at 60 kg were: press 60 kg, snatch 65 kg, clean and jerk 85 kg.

At this stage of his career he trained three times per week for 1.5 hours. His improvement and his technique lead us to believe he would become a good lifter although such prognosis’ are not reliable.

Belayev competed at the Kiev championships in th fall of 1957 and made a result of 315 kg as a lightweight (press 90 kg, snatch 102.5 kg and C&J 122.5 kg). By this time Vladimir was training 2 – 2.5 hours per workout three times per week. He did primarily barbell exercises with weights which for him were light and some 20 – 30 kg below his competition weights. He included new movements in his training: hops in the low squat position forward, to the side and backward, jumps into the squat position while holding a barbell with small weights overhead, overhead squats (with a gradually narrowing of the hand spacing). At this time the squat snatch was still considered to be a very complex exercise.

Many sportsmen zeroed in this exercise. Vladimir Belayev showed that one could successfully “fight” in such a difficult position.

Vladimir continued to devote considerable attention to general physical training (his best result in jumping up onto a vaulting horse was 150 cm; standing long jump 315 cm).

Belayev achieved the master of sport results of 350 kg  (102.5 + 107.5 + 140 kg) in the lightweight class in the fall of 1958 ate the Kiev regional championships. It became difficult for him to remain in the lightweight class because he had to reduce bodyweight. By now he was already a medalist in the USSR (Ukrainian, Ed.) championships, republic junior champion in the lightweight class and Kiev champion with for him very good results (112.5 kg snatch and 147.5 kg C&J). However, the results in the middleweight class were significantly higher than his so he did not want to switch weight classes.

Let’s stop for a moment to look at this situation. Many young athletes at the present time cut weight for two to three years delaying the switch to the new and for them proper weight class; which inhibits the development of the young organism and limits their maximum potential.

Practical experience shows that the switch to the new weight class results in very rapid progress and makes it possible for the sportsman to achieve no worse and often better results than in the previous weight division.

Let’s look at our example. Beginning in the fall of 1958 Vladimir began competing in the middleweight class and after five months achieved a result of 390 kg (at a bodyweight of 72 kg).

We can name many Soviet and foreign athletes whom achieved good results with the switch to the new weight class: Y. Katsura, B. Selitsky, Y. Miyake, M. Ouchi, K. Kangasniemi, Y. Talts, V. Kolotov, D. Rigert and others.

Belayev continued training three times per week. A sample of his training at this time is presented below.

1st Week

Monday

  1. Power clean: 70/3, 80/2 x 3* *(first number is percent of maximum denominator is the number of repetitions and the multiplier is the number of sets)
  2. Power snatch: 70/2 x 3
  3. Snatch: 80/2, 90/1 x 4
  4. Snatch pull: 100/2 x 5
  5. Squats: 80/3 x 2, 90/2 x 3

Good mornings: 20/4 x 3

Wednesday

  1. Power clean: 80/2 x 3
  2. Power snatch (speed): 70/2 x4
  3. Clean and Jerk: 70/2 x 2, 80/2, 90/1 x 4
  4. Clean pull: 80/3 x 2, 100/2 x 3
  5. Bench press (speed): 70/3 x 5
  6. Squats (slow): 80/3 x 5

Hyperextensions: 10/4 x 4

Friday

  1. Power clean: 80/3, 90/2 x 2, 100/1 x 2
  2. Power Snatch: 80/3, 90/2 x 2, 100/1 x 2
  3. Press: 70/3 x 2, 80/2 x 2, 90/1 x 3
  4. Snatch pull (medium hand spacing): 80/3, 100/2 x 4

Dips on parallel bars with weight: 25/4 x 5

  1. Front squat: 80/3 x 5
  2. Good mornings: 50/4 x 1, 60/4 x 2

2nd week

Monday

  1. Push jerk: 80/2 x3
  2. Power snatch (speed): 70/3 x 3
  3. Snatch 80/2 x 2, 90/1 x 2, 100/1 x 2
  4. Snatch pull 90 x 3 x5
  5. Press (alternating narrow and wide hand spacing: 80/3 x 6
  6. Squats (slow): 80/3 x 5
  7. Walking and leaping with a barbell in the squat position:50/10 x 4

Wednesday

  1. Push press (speed): 80/2 x 4
  2. Power snatch: 70/3; 80/2 x 2, 90/1 x2
  3. C & J: 80/2 x 2; 90/1 x 4
  4. Clean pull: 100/3 x 2; 110/2 x 4
  5. Squats: 80/3 x 2, 90/2/ x 2, 100/1 x 2, 85/3 x 2
  6. Hyperextension: 10/4 x 4

Friday

  1. Power clean: 80/2 x 3
  2. Power snatch: 80/2 x3
  3. Press: 80/3 x 2, 90/2 x 2, 100/1 x 2, 85/2 x 2
  4. Snatch pull: 90/2 x 2, 100/2 x 2, 110/1 x 2
  5. Parallel bar dips: 25/3 x 5
  6. Front squats: 80/3 x 2, 90/2 x 2, 100/2 x 2
  7. Good Mornings: 60/3 x 4

So, you can see that the fundamental weights with the barbell comprised 0 – 90% of maximum. He performed 45 – lifts. He devoted considerable time to general physical training: 30 – 40 minutes of jogging, slow runs of 400 m, standing long and vertical jumps, tossing sand bags or kettlebells backwards over his head or forward.

Each classic exercise was performed once a week and no more than 6 – 8 sets per workout, but crisp and in good form. Even if lifts were missed there was no increase in the number of attempts.  This is how Vladimir learned to perform the classic exercises with limit weights.

This was Belayev’s training up to 1962. He made a total of 41.5 at the 1962 USSR championships and placed second in the 75 kg class. It was at this competition that he set his first world record in the snatch with 137.5 kg. A slew of records in the snatch and the clean and jerk would follow. However, we have to point out that Belayev was competing at this time in the 75 kg class but his height was 167 cm which conforms to the norm for the 82.5 kg class. Reducing a significant amount of bodyweight inhibits progress in weightlifting. So, his results increased by 32 kg over a three (1959 – 1962) year period (390 – 422.5 kg), but only by 22.5 kg (422.5 – 445 kg) in the subsequent three years (1963 – 1965).

Table The contents of V. Belayev’s training for the month of July 20 – August 19, 1968.    

Exerc #lifts/mo # lifts % ≥70% 70-75% 80-85% 90-95% 100% 105-110% 115-120%
Gen. # lifts/mo 654                
Class Press 85     44 28 13      
Oth Presses 135   44 37 34 14 6 1  
Class Snatch 59     24 18 17      
Oth Snatch exer 36   15 21          
C&J 49     17 18 10 4    
Oth C&J exe 61   36 22 3        
Sn. Pull 64       6 38 10 10  
Cl. Pull 39       14 13 6 6  
Squats 125 19 26 3 19 47 13 13 4
Vol. of Lifts %of Gen. Vol     18 26 21 30   5  

 

We must also point out the too small volume of lifts slowed the rate of improvement. Starting in 1965 Vladimir Belayev began training 4 – days per week and in 1966 4- 5 times. The volume of his training increased.

The athlete switched to the 82.5 kg class in 1966 and achieved outstanding results.  He competed at the Friendship cup in March of that year and placed first with a result of 465 kg and set a world record in the snatch with 145 kg.

He was selected to the national team and competed at the world championships in October. He was the best athlete of the championships in Berlin. He succeeded with all nine attempts to make a total of 485 kg (press 147.5 kg, snatch 147.5 kg, C&J 190 kg) and become the world champion.

Belayev placed second at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968 with the same result (B. Selitsky placed first with the same result but weighed less). True Belayev’s preparation could have been significantly better had he repeated his best results in the individual exercises he had done in various competitions which would have resulted in a 500 kg total.

Depicted in figures 1 and 2 are graphics of Belayev’s year loading in the years 1966 and 1968 . You need to bear in mind that he did no training for two months of each year.

For instance, in 1966 Vladimir did not train from July to the first half of August; and then for two weeks (from October 20) after the world championships; in 1968 he did not train from the 18th of October (after the Olympic Games) until the middle of December. Since the athlete always had difficulty managing large training loads his preparation was planned with particular care.

The table depicts the final month of training leading up to the 1968 Baltic Cup, at which V. Belayaev made a total of 480 kg (155 + 147.5 + 177.5 kg). The athlete performed 40 lifts for the month with maximum weights (90% and higher) in the press, the snatch and the clean and jerk (13, 17 and 10 respectively).  The two week cycle for this competition was as follows:

July 29 (Monday)

  1. Push press: 120/3, 130/3, 140/2, 150/2, {160/1}
  2. Snatch: 105/2, 115/2, 125/1 {135/1} 135/1 x 2, {140/1}, 140/1 x2** (** means weight was missed)
  3. Power clean standing on raised platform: 130/2 x 3, 120/4 x 2
  4. Back Squat: 150/3 170/3, 190/3, 190/2, 170/3
  5. Military press: 100/3 110/3, 120/2, 130/2
  6. Clean and Jerk: 130/2 x 2, 150/1 x 5

July 31 (Wednesday)

  1. Power Snatch: 100/2 x 2, 110/1 x 2, 130/1
  2. Press: 100/3, 110/3, 120/2 x 2, 140/2, 140/1, 120/2
  3. Snatch pll: 140/3 x 3, 150/2 x 3
  4. Power clean from boxes: 110/3, 120/3 x 2
  5. Good Morning: 60/5, 70/5

August 2 (Friday)

Track and Field, Calisthenics

  1. Press: 100/3 x 2, 110/2 x 2
  2. Overhead squat (snatch grip): 100/2 x 2, 110/2 x 2, 120/1
  3. Hyperextension: 20/6 30/6

August 3 (Saturday)

  1. Muscle snatch: 90/2 x 2, 100/2 x 2
  2. Clean and Jerk: 130/3, 150/3, 170/2, {180/1}, 180/1, 170/1

(cleans only for first three sets)

  1. Snatch pull: 145/3 x 2, 155/2 x 2
  2. Seated press: 90/2 x 4
  3. Back Squat: 150/3, 180/2 x 2/ 190/2

August 5 (Monday)

  1. Power clean: 120/4, 130/3 x 2, 140/2 x 2
  2. Snatch: 105/2 x 2, 115/2 125/1, {135/1 x 3}
  3. Clean pull: 160/3 180/2 x 2, 190/2 x 2
  4. Military press: 100/3 110/3, 120/3, 130/2, 140/2
  5. Back Squat: 150/4, 175/4 x 3
  6. Clean and jerk: 130/1 x 2, 150/1 x 2

August 7 (Wednesday)

  1. Push Press: 120/3, 130/3 x 2, 140/2 x 2
  2. Vertical jumps with barbell on Shoulders: 90/3 x 3
  3. Good morning: 60/5 x 2
  4. Throw barbell overhead (Snatch grip): 50/3 x 3

August 9 (Friday)

Calisthenics

  1. Snatch: 100/2, 110/2, 120/1, 130/1 x 4
  2. Snatch pull standing on raised platform: 130/2 x 3, 120/2 x 3

August 10 (Saturday)

  1. Press: 100/3, 110/2, 120/2, 130/2 x 2
  2. Back Squat: 160/2 x 2 180/2, 200/2 210/2            
  3. Clean and Jerk: 130/1 x 2, 150/1 x 2, 160/1
  4. Good morning: 60/3, 70/3

In our opinion Vladimir Belayev was clearly successful in the big sport arena but he did not achieve his full potential. The Baltic cup championships took place on August 25.