In the Netherlands we face a problem in weightlifting that is not uncommon in many western countries where weightlifting is not sponsored by the state. In our country as well as in many western countries there is a shortage of highly qualified weightlifting coaches. This may sound like kicking in an open door, but that is not the case.

Let’s take an example of a lifter who is very talented and has a strong desire to perform within the top 8 in the World Championships. He is willing to train hard and make many sacrifices to reach the top.

The only problem is that in his weightlifting club there no high performance weightlifting coach. So our lifter now has actually three options:

  1. He can try to find a top coach somewhere else in the country
  2. Obtain a training plan from some top lifter
  3. He can try to plan his own training programs

Ad 1.
Let’s assume he knows someone who is a highly qualified coach and contacts him for help. Let’s assume the coach is willing to help and make a training plan for him, but the coach is not able to witness his training sessions because he lives too far away. Traveling costs would be too high and it would also be too time consuming and therefore not practical. Perhaps our lifter has a coach in his club that can survey his technique, but he cannot adjust the training plan if required.

Ad 2.
It sounds simple does not it. Of course the easiest way is perhaps to obtain a training plan from someone else and of course preferably from a top lifter. The only problem is that you won’t get this plan and if you do you will get the plan, or part of it in kilos. This means you must recalculate everything to percentages. You must also know if the percentages are based on current performance, or on future performance. Another problem is that this lifter is perhaps a professional and does not have to work and is using some form of chemicals to support his training. He will never admit to you that he is actually using doping to support his training and can only reach these high results because of the use of chemicals. The nervous system of an average lifter cannot sustain such high intensity training plans of top lifters. These kind of training plans almost never produce the desired results for our talented lifter who is seeking help.

Ad 3.
Our lifter decides to plan his own training. The problem he faces is that he does not have the special knowledge that is required to make a training plan for his current and future high performance levels. This special knowledge cannot be found in books etc. Training plans must be adjusted to age, performance level and personal circumstances. Perhaps our lifter must also work, or study and do his training in the evening in his spare time. Actually he would need to follow coaching education courses to obtain the special knowledge he needs and of course he must practice making training plans on all kinds of different levels to gain the required skills. To get a high performance coaching license in many countries takes about 5 -7 years. Our lifter does not have the time for that and is risking that his weightlifting career is over by the time he actually has acquired the necessary knowledge.

Why is the lifter his own worst enemy?
Because I often see it happen. The lifter trains on his own and decides himself if he follows the plan or not. Many times the lifter goes heavier than the training plan suggests because he feels good and other times he feels not so good and therefore he goes lighter, or he should actually have a light week but because he is feeling extremely well he skips the light week. He does not realize that feeling good is actually proof that the plan is working, because he recuperates quickly as he is supposed to. It is not only the training that makes you stronger, but it is the recuperation of the training the so called super compensation that does the job. If our lifter does not learn to recognize this he will never reach his potential despite all the effort and sacrifices.

Unfortunately this is what happens many times. Very, very few lifters can control themselves and actually plan the training and train the plan.

Remco Eenink