The Meaning of “Push”

In the context of Olympic Weightlifting, a well-designed training program will provide the athlete with guidance on how to structure training across the week and make suitable changes to this structure on a weekly basis in the lead up to a competition. A really neatly prepared and well thought out training program can have a positive effect on the athlete. It reduces the likelihood of common issues that occur when athletes follow very loose training guidelines or none at all. Here are a few of the issues that a well-designed training program should minimise:
  1. Spending far too much time on exercises preferred by the athlete, and little or no time on exercises not preferred but often most needed.
  2. Going too heavy too often, which results in loss of form and well-being, and the occurrence of injuries.
  3. Failing to vary the training load sufficiently from day to day
  4. Performing exercises in an unhelpful order
  5. Using time poorly during training sessions
But training programs also have significant limitations and without sufficient understanding of these limitations athletes can be disadvantaged. Pushing beyond planned percentages is an absolute necessity in the training processes but it must be done with a great deal of care and control. The training program, no matter how thoughtfully designed, can never predict the state of well-being of the athlete on any given day. For this reason, the work prescribed by the training program has to be subdued, respectful of the athlete's physical and emotional health and not too ambitious in its goals. The written training program with its specification of exercises, sets, reps and intensities can never be regarded as anything more than a broad framework for guiding the athlete. Read More

Continuous Improvement in the Training of the Athlete

The task for the athlete and the coach is to work together to continually improve the training process of the athlete over many years. It is highly probable that when this continuous improvement process comes to a halt, the athlete will no longer improve. From day 1 in the training process, the athlete learns how to train to develop good technique and athletic ability so as to improve results. Initially the learning is fast but as the months and years go by, the rate of learning slows as a result of fewer opportunities to learn something new, or perhaps incorrect assumptions that all the knowledge needed has been learned. To make further improvement then, the athlete and coach must work harder to find solutions to the perfection of the training problem. Read More

Training the Jerk

It has long been my view that the critical factor for developing a confident and reliably successful Jerk is that the athlete must attempt to mimic the conditions of a maximal Jerk all the way through their warm up to the moment when a maximal Jerk is actually achieved. This requires the athlete to have conceptual knowledge of what actually happens during a maximal jerk, and how a maximal jerk can be achieved if it is to be achieved at all.Receiving position for the jerk Read More

Rehabilitation and Recovery of Weightlifting Injuries

This article attempts to address one of the most serious errors that athletes frequently make in their training -  a failure in regard to rehabilitation and recovery of Weightlifting injuries that result from overloading.

Overloading is considered to be an essential aspect of training for performance improvement and for this reason we tend to talk about Progressive Overload Theory in coaching courses. It is not that overloading is something to be avoided but it is inevitable that the motivated athlete will at some time push too hard, too often, and will fail to adequately recover between sessions. The result is often the occurrence of worrisome pain, soreness and/or stiffness focused in a particular part of the body. An easy example in Weightlifting would be the situation where an athlete pushes hard on squats over several weeks only to succumb to patella tendon soreness in either one or both knees. Read More

Training Intensity Percentages as Used in Weightlifting

In Weightlifting, it is a common practice to use percentages (of best lifts) as a means to set the desired intensity of the athlete's training in any given day. Intensity is measure of how hard or how difficult the training is. The following table provides an example of how words like "heavy" or "light" can be quantified by using training intensity percentages:

Table of training intensity in Weightlifting

The  percentages in the left column are worked from the athlete's personal best lift. Thus, if following the percent bands in Figure 1 above, for an athlete who has a best Snatch of 100Kg, the very heavy range begins at 93Kg, the heavy range is 88-92Kg, and so on. The actual boundaries between each of these percent bands are arbitrary. By this I mean that other coaches will likely have different ideas as to where these boundaries lie. As always in the sport of Weightlifting, there is great delight among experienced coaches in finding some aspect of training methodology to debate, and certainly the above training intensity percentages will suffice in this regard! Read More

Conversation with athletes

Last night I had a pre-planned group conversation with athletes at the club after training. I am not entirely sure what was expected by the athletes but this session had been billed as an opportunity to discuss athlete responses to a club survey of opinions on training programs, coaching and factors that limit performance.

As the session proceeded, I attempted to probe the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of the athletes as represented by the survey. Here's an example of one of the survey questions: Read More

The 21 Day Cycle for Training Programs

Sport training programs are usually based on a 7-day microcycle. This is true in Weightlifting and it is probably true in most sports. It’s just part of the natural order of things that the weekly rhythm of life is difficult to escape. As a result, in Weightlifting, the heaviest training days in a build-up to a competition tend to occur once a week, that is 7 days apart.

The question is whether this 7 day cycle is suitable for advanced athletes who train very frequently and endure very considerable workloads. Could it be that the 7-day cycle does not allow for sufficient recovery between heaviest sessions? On the other hand, could it be that an advanced athlete can train ‘heavy’ more frequently than every 7 days?

In truth, no-one really knows the answer to these questions and it is probable that there are many factors that ensure that the optimal microcycle differs from one individual to the next, for example the definition of ‘heavy’, the training workload across the week and the athlete’s personal circumstances are some of the factors.

But here is a different approach to the usual 7-day cycle. This method utilises a 21 day (3 week) cycle consisting of two micro-cycles: 1st micro-cycle – 10 days. 2nd micro-cycle – 11 days. The stars indicate the relative level of intensity.

21 Day Micro Cycle

The above illustration indicates that in the 3 week cycle there are two sessions at 90% and two sessions at 95% (or more). These heaviest sessions are high in intensity and low in volume. It’s really problematic to use percentages as it creates all sorts of expectations and problems with athletes but nevertheless percentages are a necessary evil. These 4 heavy sessions in the 3 week period should not just be seen as pushing for maximum singles on Snatch or Clean & Jerk. Further away from the competition, these heavy days can be used to push for high results on any variation of the Olympic Lifts e.g. snatch from knee, power snatch, power clean & jerk, front squat, back squat, etc. Furthermore, it does not have to be all about singles either. The intention is simply to aim for high intensity using lower reps.

Immediately following heavy sessions are two very light sessions (65%) for recovery and there are a further three light sessions at 70%. All of these light sessions are incredibly important. There are also 3 days off in this scheme of things (6 days per week training) and this also aids in recovery.

There are also 9 training sessions between 75-85% intensity (medium intensity). This is where the bulk of the training occurs for strength, speed and technique and it is in these sessions that the greatest volume occurs in the cycle.

In a 12-13 week build-up to a competition, the 3 week (21 day) cycle outlined above allows the athlete to complete 4 cycles each and each cycle can have a slightly different stimulus. The first 2 cycles can have more emphasis on strength and power lifts, while the last 2 cycles can have more emphasis on full movements and pushing every 10 days for very high performance.

Gold Standards in Weightlifting

The purpose of “Gold Standards” is to help individuals to identify strengths and weaknesses and to target areas of performance for improvement. There are always differences between individuals due to anthropometry (body dimensions), flexibility, technical ability and quirks of nature.

The following table will help to identify your strengths and weaknesses.

  1. Snatch
    1. Power Snatch is 88% of PR Snatch
    2. Overhead squat is 100% of PR Snatch
    3. Snatch Balance is 105% of PR Snatch
    4. Snatch from Knee is 95% of PR Snatch
  2. Clean & Jerk
    1. Front squat for 3 reps is 100% of PR Clean & Jerk
    2. PR Clean & Jerk is 80% of PR Back Squat
    3. Power Clean is 88% of PR Clean & Jerk
    4. PR Jerk from Racks = PR Clean
    5. Good Morning for 3 reps is 70% of PR Clean & Jerk

These “Gold Standards” have been developed as a result of observation of athletes over the years by the author. In general, these standards are arbitrary and need further development.

The author would be pleased to receive feedback from athletes as to how they compare with the above standards so that they can be improved.

Training Methodology

The Training Methodology section provides a number of links that are accessible only to subscribers. The following links are available to non-subscribers:

Articles currently available in the Training Methodology section to subscribers only include:

  • Training Principles
  • Writing Training Programs
  • Talent Identification and Development
  • Gestalt and Temporal Spatial Approaches to Movement Analysis
  • The rest interval between sets
  • Training Intensity for Pulls

Weightlifting Training Programs highly detailed

At present, there are 32 Weightlifting Training Programs for immediate sale on this website (see below). These training programs have been prepared by Leo Isaac. Further programs are in preparation including an illustrated booklet for beginners. Each weightlifting training program consists of:

  1. Instructions on how to interpret and use the program
  2. A schedule of exercises and guidance on how heavy to perform exercises
  3. A chart the provides guidance on the amount of work to perform on each exercise

To be able to download the following programs, you must purchase the respective Training Program Bundle. After purchase additional links become available to you on the menu to enable you to download programs.

The following Training Program bundles are available:

  • Novice Training Program Bundle (8 programs)
  • Intermediate Training Program Bundle (13 programs)
  • Advanced Training Program Bundle (10 programs)

Please contact Leo Isaac on email: leo@trainingweightlifting.com if you need assistance.

Novice Weightlifting Training Programs Bundle

Weightlifting Programs for Complete Beginner Athletes (No Star)

  • 5 Session Preliminary Beginner Program
  • 20 Session Beginner Skill Development Program

Weightlifting Programs for Novice Athletes (1 Star)

  • Program 001: 4 Week Novice Weightlifting Program, 2 Days per Week
  • Program 002: 5 Week Novice Weightlifting Program, 2 Days per Week
  • Program 003: 6 Week Novice Weightlifting Program, 2 Days per Week
  • Program 004: 7 Week Novice Weightlifting Program, 2 Days per Week
  • Program 005: 8 Week Novice Weightlifting Program, 2 Days per Week
  • Program 006: 9 Week Novice Weightlifting Program, 2 Days per Week

To access these training programs, a drop-down link will become available on the main menu under “Weightlifting Training Programs” after you have purchased the Novice Training Program Bundle. There will also be a link “Novice Programs” in the SubMenu which appears on the right of your screen (large screens) or at the foot of the page (small screens – mobile or tablet).

Buy Novice Training Program Bundle Now


Intermediate Weightlifting Training Programs Bundle

Weightlifting Programs for Intermediate Athletes (2 Star)

  • Program 010: 4 Week Intermediate Weightlifting Program, 3 Days per Week
  • Program 011: 5 Week Intermediate Weightlifting Program, 3 Days per Week
  • Program 012: 6 Week Intermediate Weightlifting Program, 3 Days per Week
  • Program 013: 7 Week Intermediate Weightlifting Program, 3 Days per Week
  • Program 014: 8 Week Intermediate Weightlifting Program, 3 Days per Week
  • Program 018: 12 Week Intermediate Weightlifting Program, 3 Days per Week

Weightlifting Programs for Intermediate Athletes (3 Star)

  • Program 023: 5 Week Intermediate Weightlifting Program, 4 Days per Week
  • Program 024: 6 Week Intermediate Weightlifting Program, 4 Days per Week
  • Program 025: 7 Week Intermediate Weightlifting Program, 4 Days per Week
  • Program 026: 8 Week Intermediate Weightlifting Program, 4 Days per Week
  • Program 027: 9 Week Intermediate Weightlifting Program, 4 Days per Week
  • Program 028: 10 Week Intermediate Weightlifting Program, 4 Days per Week
  • Program 030: 12 Week Intermediate Weightlifting Program, 4 Days per Week

To access these training programs, a drop-down link will become available on the main menu under “Weightlifting Training Programs” after you have purchased the Intermediate Training Program Bundle. There will also be a link “Intermediate Programs” in the SubMenu which appears on the right of your screen (large screens) or at the foot of the page (small screens – mobile or tablet).

Buy Intermediate Training Program Bundle Now


Advanced Weightlifting Training Programs Bundle

Weightlifting Programs for Advanced Athletes (4 Star)

  • Program 034: 4 Week Advanced Weightlifting Program, 5 Days per Week  with Optional Double Day Training (PDF)
  • Program 035: 5 Week Advanced Weightlifting Program, 5 Days per Week
  • with Optional Double Day Training (PDF)
  • Program 037: 7 Week Advanced Weightlifting Program, 5 Days per Week with Optional Double Day Training (PDF)
  • Program 038: 8 Week Advanced Weightlifting Program, 5 Days per Week with Optional Double Day Training (PDF)
  • Program 039: 9 Week Advanced Weightlifting Program, 5 Days per Week with Optional Double Day Training (PDF)
  • Program 040: 10 Week Advanced Weightlifting Program, 5 Days per Week
  • Program 041: 11 Week Advanced Weightlifting Program, 5 Days per Week with Optional Double Day Training (PDF)
  • Program 042: 12 Week Advanced Weightlifting Program, 5 Days per Week
  • Program 044: 14 Week Advanced Weightlifting Program, 5 Days per Week (Excel)
  • Program 045: 15 Week Advanced Weightlifting Program, 5 Days per Week with Optional Double Day Training (PDF)
  • Program 062: Last 4 Weeks Training for High Performance Athletes Preparing for Major Competition
  • Program 090: 10 Week Advanced Training Program, 5 Days per Week with prescribed work on Flexibility. Agility, Balance and Stability (FABS).

To access these training programs, a drop-down link will become available on the main menu under “Weightlifting Training Programs” after you have purchased the Advanced Training Program Bundle. There will also be a link “Advanced Programs” in the SubMenu which appears on the right of your screen (large screens) or at the foot of the page (small screens – mobile or tablet).

Buy Advanced Training Program Bundle Now

satisfaction guarantee