Some Athletes need more Hypertrophy than Others

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Some Athletes need more Hypertrophy than Others

I have noticed over the last several years that athletes in general are not alike at all. No two athletes are the same. There are so many variables to consider:

• Frequency
• Total volume
• Muscular balance
• Amount of focus on competitive lifts
• Amount of Hypertrophy

With USA Weightlifting Nationals coming up this month, I am making notes on all of my athletes. That’s the way to produce the best program for an individual. You write a program, and note the results. If the results are favorable, you are on the right track. If not, you probably want to try something totally different.

Today I am specifically talking about the amount of Hypertrophy training that an athlete should partake in. I have found that this aspect of programming is totally individual. Some athletes thrive during the hypertrophy phases and high volume phases. Other athletes just need a few weeks of hypertrophy, and then they are better off to focus on high intensity, high frequency, and low volume.

Here are the characteristics of my blocks of training:

Accumulation- moderate volume, low intensity, rep average 8-12 per set, mostly non-competitive movements

Hypertrophy- high volume, moderate intensity, rep average 6-10 per set, mostly different versions on complexes of competitive movements

Strength- high volume, high intensity, rep average on strength movements 5 per set, mostly competitive movements.

Absolute Strength- low volume, high intensity, rep average on strength movements 3 per set, and a focus on competitive movements.

I noticed during this cycle that a few of our girls excelled during the hypertrophy phase. Immediately after their hypertrophy cycle, most of the girls on our team crushed PRs for the next four weeks during their strength cycle. The strength cycle is designed to cause a lot of stress on the body forcing adaptation and compensation during the absolute strength block.

For most of the men and some of the women, this worked like a charm. There was a group that set all of their personal records during the strength phase. They basically held strong during the absolute phase. This worked out fine because at the end of the day the necessary gains were made. December Garcia set massive personal records in just about every movement that we test during the strength phase. She has maintained that level during the absolute strength phase.

So what am I going to do with this information? With December, Sarah, and a few of the other girls, I will design the program around hypertrophy and strength phases with a short absolute strength phase. Guys and gals this is the fun part of coaching. We are all in search of the perfect program that yields the maximum results. I maintain written notes on all of my athletes. The next week is when I will take the most notes.

Here are some points that coaches should be looking for during competition weeks:

• How did the athlete respond to training?
• During which block did they excel the most?
• How did they respond to the taper?
• W
• How did they handle cutting weight?
• How were they in the warm up room: nervous, overly excited, calm, or focused?
• How did that carry over to the platform?
• Where they prepared with meals after weigh-ins?
• Did they have Intra-Contest food?
• Did they have energy during the entire contest?

These are just a few of the variables that you should make note on during competition times. The goal is to better prepare for meets each and every time. I am so excited for this competition. Our team as a whole is the most prepared of any other time. Our Men and Women’s Team are both prepared to excel at this competition. We have 9-10 athletes that will be battling for International Teams. We have about 14 athletes that could potentially medal.

With that being said, a lot can go wrong, and that’s what makes weightlifting so exciting. You never know what can happen. All you can do is lay down your cards, and see how it all unfolds. I know that we are bringing a good hand this time, so we will just see what everyone else is bringing. You guys are going to want to watch the live stream this time for sure. As USA Weightlifting grows, so do the rivalries and the competitiveness. This makes the sport more exciting than ever.
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