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Some People Thrive with Volume
Some athletes are designed to thrive during the highest of volumes. Right now most of my athletes are performing blocks that are designed to promote hypertrophy. That means the volume is sky high with reps on the strength movements ranging from 8-15, and multiple sets of 3-5 in the Olympic lifts focusing on the eccentric contraction. I am not expecting PRs during this phase.
However I have certain athletes that are simply thriving right now. Jacky Bigger and Bryan Simeone are two of those athletes that are getting stronger by the day. As a coach it is important that you notice this, and then there are a few adjustments that need to be made.
I use to treat these athletes similar to everyone else meaning I would have them enter a peak phase that focused mainly on absolute strength with lower overall volume. A lot of my athletes that are volume junkies would actually stagnate, possible go backwards, and begin to feel achy and lethargic.
So instead of trying to make a round peg fit a square hole, I altered the plan to fit the athlete. The volume in their program never drops to that absolute strength realm especially in the strength components. The reps on squats and pulls never fall below an average of 4-6 reps. We will still test some 1 rep max squats, but that will be done in waves with the other days focused on higher repetitions and sets.
The Snatch and Clean & Jerk volume and frequency will go up during the final four weeks before a meet, but not as much as with other athletes. It’s the heavy pounding of the Olympic lifts at a higher frequency that makes these athletes start to feel beat up. It’s all about finding that happy medium between sore but not wrecked.
Here are a few suggestions for High Volume Athletes:
• Spend at least 50% of the meet preparation in the Hypertrophy Zone with strength movements averaging between 8-12 reps
• Keep the Snatch and Clean & Jerk workouts to no more than 3 times per week.
• During the first 4-6 weeks of a 16-week preparation you could lower the Snatch and Clean & Jerk workouts to twice per week.
• Focus on building quality muscle in a symmetrical way throughout the body.
• I suggest keeping an average of 4-6 repetitions on the strength movements even during the final four-week competition block.
• Squat 3-5 times per week
• Pull 2-3 times per week
• Presses and Rows 2-3 times per week
• Carries 1-2 times per week
I will leave you with one bit of concrete advice. If you taper these types of people too much, they will get weaker. That is one thing that I have become 100% certain on. I suggest keeping tabs on your athletes, and just because something works for one, doesn’t mean that it will work for the rest. Learning how to handle each of your athletes is a process. This is the art of coaching, and the aspect that I find most intriguing.
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