by Jim O’MalleyPeculiarities in the Training of Weightlifters of Different Qualificationsby R. A. Roman and Y. Y. Rysin from "Theory and Practice in Physical Culture" July 1987edited by Jim O'Malleyeditors note : the purpose of the article is to explain (insomewhat general terms) what is often referred to asthe Path to the Attainment of Sports Mastery (PASM).Basically, it presents the general features of the fivetraining models (beginner - low class - qualified -master of sport - and master of sport international) thatlay out the training process as an evolutionary onewhere great emphasis is placed on laying the properfoundation of one training model before moving on tothe next in order to achieve long term success. It isakin to acquiring a fundamental grasp of algebra,trigonometry, and geometry before moving onto thestudy of calculus and eventually to mathematicalanalysis. For those interested in a far more detailedexplanation ( including access to empirical data thatpermit you to actually apply the various models inpractice ), I would refer you to Professor Roman'soutstanding text "The Training of the Weightlifter"(available from Sportivny Press).Stage 1The Beginning of Specialization.This is the training of beginners and low class(class 3 and class 2) athletes. This stage is 2.5 yearsin length, if the athlete begins training at age 15.5years (the average age for a beginner). The length ofthis stage increases somewhat if workouts havebegun at a younger age. The main objective of thebeginner is to learn the technique of the snatch andthe clean and jerk ; therefore, the beginner employs asmall range of weightlifting exercises -- the snatch, theC&J, the snatch and C&J exercises (i.e. power snatch,power clean, and push jerk Ed.), squats (front, back,and overhead), and a small quantity of presses --bench presses and standing press behind the neck w/snatch grip. The goal of the low class athlete is aimedat perfecting technical mastery (like the beginner)therefore, he uses the same exercises as thebeginner. The aforementioned exercises are quitesufficient to obtain the special-physical-preparedness(SPP) necessary for beginners and low class athletes.The use of other resistance exercises does not permitthem to master the technique of the snatch and theC&J. As a result, insufficient technique becomes aconstant inhibitor to the further increase in results. So,the formation of technical mastery is the fundamentaltask of the first stage. General-physical-preparation(GPP) is employed during the first stage as a meansof raising the functional possibilities of the organismand the expansion of the necessary motor habits andskills.Stage 2The In-Depth Specialization of the Base Training.This is the training of the class one and thecandidate for master of sport (CSM). The secondstage is an average of four years duration. This stagebegins when results reach the following :56kg 182.5kg62kg 205kg69kg 225kg77kg 242.5kg85kg 260kg94kg 277.5kg105kg 290kg105kg+ 300kgThe athlete has mastered technique toperfection, consequently, this period involves thetackling of new tasks. The main task of the secondstage is the expansion of the base of SPP and thecreation of the prerequisites for the achievement ofhigh results. The athletes now include SPP exercisesfrom the second group (i.e. snatch pulls, presses ofvarious types, overhead squats, and "bendovers" akahyperextensions and good mornings Ed.), the quantityof which is almost 25% greater than in the first stage.These are in addition to the SPP exercises from groupone (i.e. snatch, C&J, snatch and C&J exercises, frontand back squats, and clean pulls Ed.). So, the entirearsenal of SPP barbell exercises are employed duringthe second stage.The GPP is NOT unidirectional in nature (i.e. highbarbell loads in prep cycles are combined with lowGPP loads and lower barbell loads in comp cycles arecombined with larger GPP loads Ed.) because it doesnot determine the lifters success in his sportsspecialization. The means of raising the organismsfunctional potential are always employed at this stageof barbell exercises because one should be ready fordefinite, specific work with a barbell and not generalwork.Stage 3The Stage of High Sports Mastery and Maintenanceof Achieved Results.This stage begins when the lifters results arethe following :56kg 250kg62kg 277.5kg69kg 305kg77kg 330kg85kg 355kg94kg 377.5kg105kg 395kg105kg+ 407.5kgIt has an average length of 6.5 years.The resultsof MSIC (master of sport international class) areachieved after approximately 1.5 years at this stage ;then, after roughly three more years, maximum resultsare achieved. These results are maintained onaverage for the next two years. By the third stage theathlete has achieved a very high level of SPP ;therefore, it is not necessary to utilize a large volumeof loading of the SPP exercises from group two (afterthe first 1.5 years when MSIC results are achievedEd.) The volume of these exercises is reduced byapproximately 1/2 relative to both the second stageand the first 1.5 years of the third stage. The volumeof these exercises in the second group has a negativecorrelation with the biathlon total in the pre-competitivemonth during the third stage.One can single out the following mostcharacteristic features of the training whichaccompanies the achievement of high, record results.1) The increase in the volume of work on thecompetition exercises.2) The relative stabilization (in the first 1.5 years) andthen decrease in the volume of exercises from the firstgroup. That is to say the reduction of the number oflifts in the snatch, the C&J, the snatch and the C&Jexercises with 70 to 79% weights and a stabilization ofthe loading with 80 to 89% and 90% and moreweights. Also, a reduction in the number of lifts in theclean pulls and squats with weights equal to or inexcess of the maximum C&J.3) A significant reduction (about 1/2) of the volume ofexercises in the second group. A reduction in therelative intensity of these exercises.4) A reduction in the general volume of loading.Well then, the third stage of training becomes veryspecialized. At this time, GPP is a means of activerest. Athletes achieve high sports mastery when thetotal volume and intensity of the loading reachesmaximum. However, our data indicated that athletesachieve record results during a reduction in thevolume, and when they employ mainly the snatch andthe C&J and the SPP exercises of the first group ---the snatch and C&J exercises, clean pulls, andsquats; from which the results are directly dependent.