Determining platform attempts in a Weightlifting competition

In the final days/weeks before a competition, athletes and coaches will generally discuss and make decisions about the athlete's "competition plan". This process can be quite simple or very elaborate depending on the importance of the competition, the level of experience of the athlete, and whether there is any need for tactics to respond to the athlete's competitors. Read More

A coach’s plea

To my athletes, I would like to take a moment of your time to explain how I might see things differently about training, your training.

Last night was a designated 'heavy' session. I know that you very much look forward to such sessions in the hope that you can push beyond your present personal bests. Last night, many of you were rewarded for your efforts. Well done!

But as we head towards the next competition, there are some things I want you to keep uppermost in your mind. Read More

Talent Identification In Weightlifting

Nature versus Nurture in Weightlifting

It is accepted theory in Weightlifting that genetics plays a substantial role in the ultimate performance of the individual (12, 33).  A typical belief is that Weightlifters of the highest performance levels have a greater ratio of fast-twitch to slow-twitch fibres (29). Similarly, a common opinion in the Weightlifting community is that certain anthropometric characteristics strongly influence success such as shoulder circumference (38) and shorter height and limb lengths (34). Furthermore, many researchers have found that Weightlifters as a group are amongst the most mesomorphic of all athletes (25).

How does Weightlifting sit in the nature v nurture paradigm

Figure 1: Relative contribution of nature (natural ability) and nurture (influence of environment) on success in Weightlifting

However, environmental factors also play a highly significant role in success in Weightlifting. These factors include the coach’s leadership skills (8), the coach’s knowledge and effectiveness (7), the culture within the training environment (22) and the degree to which the athlete develops a sense of belonging or relatedness to their sport and their training colleagues (30). These factors will affect the motivation of the athlete to pursue training over the many years of deliberate practise (10) at increasingly higher levels of commitment needed to attain high performance. Furthermore, environmental factors will impact on the athlete’s ability to cope with the psychological pressures of extreme heaviness in critical moments in competition and training.

For these reasons, success in Weightlifting should not be considered as predominantly dependent on genetics as is a popular view, but instead on a relatively equal contribution of genetics and environment as portrayed in Figure 1 above.

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Articles for Coaching Weightlifting

There are currently 44 in-depth articles current available on this website for coaches and athletes in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting. More articles are written on a weekly basis. The following table provides a listing of free and subscription required articles (SUBS).  A subscription may (a) One Month or (b) Full Membership.

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Article  Category  Free  Subs
A coach’s plea  Coaching  free article
Training principles  Coaching  free article
Coaching the youth beginner athlete  Coaching  free article
Determining platform attempts in a Weightlifting competition  Coaching  free article
 Writing training programs  Coaching  free article
 Teaching Weightlifting skills: 10 objectives  Coaching  free article
 Talent identification  High Performance  free article
 5 decisions for high performance in sport  High Performance  free article
 The path to high performance (part 1)  High Performance  free article
 The path to high performance (part 2)  High Performance  free article
 The path to high performance (part 3)  High Performance  free article
The affects of Weightlifting on the cardiovascular system Physiology  free article
 Homeostasis and adaptation Physiology  free article
Neural adaptation Physiology  free article
Muscle fibre types Physiology  free article
 Muscle anabolism  Physiology  free article
 Concurrent strength and endurance training  Physiology  free article
 Muscle co-activation and strength  Physiology  free article
 Proprioception  Physiology  free article
 Daily energy and energy efficiency  Physiology  free article
 Weight loss and making weight  Physiology  free article
 The hardest step  Psychology  free article
 The inner journey  Psychology  free article
 The mindset of the Weightlifter  Psychology  free article
 Snatch technique – key concepts explained  Technique  free article
 Learning the technique of the jerk – key objectives  Technique  free article
 Understanding the pull trajectory  Technique  free article
 Qualitative analysis of the snatch  Technique  free article
 Key issues in the jerk explained  Technique  free article
 The dip phase of the jerk  Technique  free article
 The jerk balance  Technique  free article
 The split squat  Technique  free article
 Conversations with athletes  Training Methodology  free article
 The 21-day training cycle  Training Methodology  free article
 Exercises for improving the snatch  Training Methodology  free article
 A comparison of different training scenarios on rate of improvement  Training Methodology  free article
 Russian squat programs – how well do they work  Training Methodology  free article
 Gold standards in Weightlifting  Training Methodology  free article
 The rest interval between sets  Training Methodology  free article
 Training intensity for pulls  Training Methodology  free article
 Do you train hard? Training Methodology  free article
Training Intensity Percentages as Used in Weightlifting Training Methodology free article

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Writing Weightlifting Programs – 5 Principles to Improve Results

Experienced Weightlifting coaches know the value of writing training programs for athletes. Yes, there are many limitations with a written program but if you want success as a coach, it is inevitable that you will spend many hours writing weightlifting programs. The task becomes particularly important when you have multiple athletes to look after, otherwise you will be faced with a constant stream of questions and you will find yourself making decisions on the spot that sometimes may be unwise. Therefore coaches need to demonstrate to their athletes that they have capability in the task of writing weightlifting programs.

Here are 5 principles to bear in mind when writing weightlifting programs:

Principle 1: Programs need to be athlete-centered

For best effect training programs need to be athlete-centered, that is focused on the actual needs of the individual athlete. While it is possible to develop and obtain some advantage from generic programs, in reality every athlete will present a unique situation for the coach. It is likely that, in any group of athletes, there will be a great many differences between individuals in terms of:

  • Strengths and weaknesses in physique
  • Technical development
  • Time available for training
  • Flexibility (range of movement)
  • Training and competition experience
  • Level of fitness / adaptation to training
  • In jury status
  • Goals and motivation

For these reasons the use of generic programs can lead to unsatisfying and possibly damaging results. Nevertheless, coaches will frequently make use of generic programs that are either developed by themselves, downloaded from the Internet or borrowed from other coaches. This is because it is far less time expensive to develop one generic program for use by several individuals than it is to develop a program specially tailored for each individual. Athletes tend not to understand or appreciate the amount of time involved in writing programs which, for some coaches, may amount to many hours per week.

Principle 2: Programs never convey sufficient information

Even well-documented training program will have gaps in the information it presents. For this reason, athletes need to be educated in how to interpret and use a program that has been developed for them.

For example, this athlete education might include:

  • Using the program as a rough guide rather than a rigid set of rules
  • How to make changes to the program if there are injury concerns
  • What to do if you miss a session
  • What happens when you suffer fatigue or soreness
  • What the athlete should be thinking about as they undertake a particular exercise
  • How the athlete should utilise lighter sets to work on technique, speed and flexibility
  • What course of action to take if technical errors creep into training

This athlete education makes all the difference. It is quite possible to give exactly the same program to two individuals who have very similar attributes and see complete different results. One athlete may thrive on a particular program while another will think it highly ineffective.  Therefore an important skill for coaches to acquire is to be able to constantly adapt training programs to the ever-changing situation of the athlete.

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The Weightlifting Bandwagon

Leo Isaac, Olympian, Weightlifting CoachIt seems to me, as a practitioner of 40 years, that there has never been a time in the history of Olympic Weightlifting when the sport was as popular as it is now. It's hard to estimate the participation growth but a figure of 10 times more people engaging in the sport than 40 years ago is probably very conservative.

In not only the capital cities of Australia but also in regional cities and towns, it is probable that you could find somewhere to pursue training in Olympic Weightlifting. For many Fitness centres, the inclusion of classes in which customers learn to Snatch and Clean & Jerk has become a standard element of the business model. It's an amazing sight to see significant amounts of floor space covered wall-to-wall with people performing Power Snatches or Power Cleans, or Overhead Squats, or some kind of strange looking Jerk. Read More

Training Principles

It is no easy thing to make progress towards higher levels of ability as an athlete in the sport of Weightlifting. The level of commitment to training is uncomfortably high and beyond the contemplation of most individuals who enter the sport. For the average athlete who lifts weights 3-4 sessions per week and who reach intermediate performance goals, the next step in the improvement process often involves not only increasing the training commitment to 5 sessions per week but also a quantum leap in understanding how to training effectively. The following article provides some advice on how to take thst quantum leap.

1. Listening to your body

In attempting to train on a highly frequent basis, and maintain high levels of effort, the athlete must take account of soreness, pain and feelings that something is not quite right. This means that the exercise schedule needs to be frequently altered to rest individual body parts or to reduce intensity to accommodate the need for extra recovery of individual body parts. For example if a wrist appears to have an issue, the wrist is rested that day, and some other exercise replaces the exercises that would have further stressed the wrist. Injury is the greatest cause of athletes failing to progress and injury is most likely to appear just after athletes have performed in training and competition at their very best. Buoyed by success, athletes and coaches very often make the mistake of trying to repeat high levels of performance rather than immediately adopt recovery measures. Athletes should expect that wonderful sessions are followed by recovery sessions to restore the body. Training is only as good as recovery.

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Weightlifting Coaching Services

High performance Weightlifting coaching services

Achieving high performance in the sport of Weightlifting requires not only a high level of motivation but also a number of important factors to be in place including (i) The opportunity to work with an experienced coach (ii) A training environment that supports the athlete (iii) A sensible training program which enables consistent quality work but avoids injury (iv) An understanding of the need for recovery between training sessions and maximising athlete well being and (v) Opportunities to compete at successively higher levels. In short athletes in the sport of Weightlifting need to avail themselves of expert Weightlifting coaching services, information and learning so that they can meet the challenges that they will undoubtedly face. The following services are provided to assist athletes attain high performance in Weightlifting:

  • Personal Coaching by Leo Isaac
  • Training Programs and Plans
  • Intensive Training Camps and Workshops
  • Video Analysis

Individual and Small Group Coaching

Personal weightlifting coaching by Leo Isaac is available if you live or wish to travel to Hobart, Tasmania. The venue for coaching is the Weightlifting Academy of Tasmania, 18 Knoll Street, Glenorchy, Tasmania. Glenorchy is a suburb of Hobart.

Personal coaching by Leo Isaac affords the opportunity to receive not only expert guidance on learning or improving your Olympic Weightlifting technique but also advice on programs, training methodology and performance psychology.

The rates for a one-off personal Weightlifting coaching session are as follows:

  • One-on-one coaching – $60 per hour
  • Group of 2 persons – $90 per hour ($45 each)
  • Group of 4 persons – $120 per hour ($30 each)

For a course of 5 one hour coaching sessions, the rates are as follows:

  • Single person (5 sessions course) – $250 ($50 per one-hour session)
  • Group of two (5 session course) – $350 ($35 per person per hour)
  • Group of 4 persons (5 session course)  – $500 ($25 per person per hour)

For inquiries please email:

Intensive Training Camps

Leo Isaac runs intensive training camps of 5 days duration at the Weightlifting Academy of Tasmania, Hobart. Intensive training camps include:

  • 2 training sessions per day of 90 minutes duration
  • A 1-hour lecture on topics such as injury prevention and management, performance psychology, concepts of weightlifting technique, nutrition, movement analysis and more
  • A 1-hour discussion group in which participants put questions on any matter related to training

Video Analysis of Lifts

Send a video file of yourself performing a snatch or a clean & jerk by email and receive an edited version back with illustrated feedback. Your video will be analysed in slow motion and detailed explanation and expert recommendations given on technical issues identified. Satisfaction is guaranteed or your money back.
Service Fee: $20 per lift analysed

Workshops at your gym!

Leo is always happy to provide workshops tailored to meet the needs of Weightlifting clubs, Crossfit boxes, Institutes of Sport, Academic Institutes and other community sport groups anywhere in Australia. Typically workshops are 3 – 6 hours in duration and provide hands-on tuition to 20 or so participants. You can choose the topic, the duration and the destination. Happy to travel!

The fee for workshops depends on air travel and accommodation costs. Please inquire –

Training Programs

This website provides Weightlifting training programs from beginners to advanced. These programs have been used by athletes of the Weightlifting Academy of Tasmania including national champions.

Go to: Training Programs