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One of the things that I deal with on a daily basis are the expectations of my athletes. Some athletes have unrealistically high expectations while others don’t have high enough. I prefer the unrealistically high because I hate when athletes set limits. My athletes in general expect great things out of their athletic careers whether weightlifters, Powerlifters, or Athletic Performance. I teach all of my athletes about goal setting and having proper mind sets. In this article, I want to talk about expectations from a 12 week block program, so all of my athletes can sleep better at night.
Training, at least my training, is designed to force the body to adapt. I loved the quote from Head USA Weightlifting Coach Zygmunt Smalcerz, “You will adapt to hard training or you will die!” So true! That doesn’t mean that you will PR every week because you are adapting, or that you will feel great week in and week out.
It means that your body will adapt by forcing its systems to keep up, rebuilding tissues, and perfecting the movement with better efficiency. There are aspects of a workout that are designed to crush athletes. During these blocks PRs are not meant to happen. Now some people are freaks, and they handle volume better than others. They might still PR, but that doesn’t mean that they are going to finish better. During these periods of training it is normal for the snatch, clean & jerk, squats, and your other lifts to slide backwards. This is the time to sleep extra, eat extra, and do everything possible to recover: Active Release Technique, Graston, Massage Therapy, Chiropractic, hot tubs, saunas, and all the other things available.
Workouts are designed to taper the athlete for maximum performance on the end date, not at the beginning. If you watch the Mash Mafia Videos on YouTube or Instagram, you will notice that none of our athletes PR every session. They can expect PRs and top performances at the competition, and so can you. There are periodic deloads for athletes to recover and hit big numbers, and there are periods of volume hell to force adaptation.
Expectations during high volume periods:
• Decreases in the amount of weight the athlete is able to lift
• Soreness in the muscles and joints
• Decreased energy
During the last six weeks of training athletes should expect to hit 90% or higher on their lifts at all times. This is when “minimums” and “maximums” in the amount lifted should be tracked. When you are performing 10RMs in the Squat and triples in the lifts, focus on the movement patterns and getting extra out of training recovery. Don’t expect to PR every week in the Olympic lifts. You should however try to push the squats, and increase general strength.
• PRing every week.
• Feeling great every week.
• Experiencing no aches and pains
Now this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to do your best, but also keep in mind where your training program is. Jon calls the high volume blues “Devil in the Red Dress”. You just can’t listen to your body, and you have to show your body that you are in control. I hope this helps you rookie lifters with coming to grips that weightlifting is a brutal sport.
The same thing goes for Powerlifters or my Athletic Performance Athletes. You should not expect to PR every week, just the weeks that it counts.
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