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I would like to examine what training for weightlifting really is. For the lifters that know their why, who have concrete goals whether to qualify for or win a national meet. There are many lifters and coaches in the U.S and some abroad who don’t understand the fundamental purpose of training especially for the first 2-3 years. Many lifters believe each training session is an opportunity to hit a PR of some kind or drive yourself to exhaustion. In this context you can substitute the term training for working out. This often leads to stagnant progress and injury.

On the other hand if a lifter thinks of training as developing specific skills for weightlifting then what training really means is practice. Each training session is planned to develop strength, technique and mobility. A specific amount of time is allotted to practice developing each skill. At the conclusion of each training session lifters no doubt feel fatigue in some way but they leave energy in the “tank” for he next practice. It is well known it takes years to develop the foundation to train on the level of a world or Olympic champion. Among all the International coaches I’ve spoken to from the former Soviet Union, Poland, Korea etc is that no matter what level lifters they coach when technique breaks down the lifter moves on. Bulgaria is the exception to that but this once dominant country is now on the ash heap of weightlifting history.

It’s time to define what training is. Especially for beginners and younger lifers. Training is planned practice not a workout. There is no word in Russian that means workout. To them it conjures up what Pavel Tsatsouline calls, “To where oneself completely out. To reduce yourself to a shivering, exhausted pile of vomit.” I’m not saying that kind of training doesn't have it’s place. It certainly does in the training of people in the military or Crossfit but it doesn’t belong in the training of a weightlifter.

Pavel explains training for specific skills.

Training is practice. Some practices are better than others but if you really think about it no practice has to be thought of as bad. So what if you miss a few snaches or cleans move on. Break the lift down, work on movement patterns where you’re inconsistent. Did you miss some snatches because you pulled too fast from the floor or knock the bar out front? Then move on to a variation of pulls which demands you be more controlled from the floor and keep the bar close to the body.

Chinese lifter practices footwork for the jerk.

It may not seem significant to change your way of thinking about training in such a simple way. It can be in the sense that practice is what you make of it. You will not always have the energy to train hard or follow the training program. You do have the ability to practice skills and movement patterns with lighter training loads. Every lifter wants to improve and see results but it takes time. It’s a process. You can better understand this and even perhaps ease the burden of lofty expectations by knowing that every day you train you practice and with every practice there is opportunity to improve.

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