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Monthly Archives: September 2010

Training in China

From 08/11/2010 to 08/18/2010 I had the great opportunity to visit different teams in China and work with them. The first team I visited was the Beijing team where I saw very impressive lifters and even so there’s always the language barrier we spoke the International language of weightlifting. It’s amazing anywhere you go in the world  you’ll be able to communicate through weightlifting: Snatch and Clean & Jerk are international words that every body understands anywhere in the world.

Seeing an 85 kg lifter doing 160kg in Snatch and 200Kg in C&J is a very common thing in China.

I stayed at the hotel that hosts many athletes from different sports that are recruited to go to Beijing as resident athletes. This center equivalent to our OTC is called the Talent Retention Center and it’s one of the headquarters of the weightlifting national team. The part of the lifting team that lives there was in the south of China in a Training Camp and I thought for the upcoming worlds in Turkey. They told me they were focused in the Asian games…how so? I asked and I was explained that the importance of competitions is as follows:

1.- Olympic games

2.- Asian games

3.- Nationals

4.- Worlds

If a lifter wins the Nationals they receive a big prize ( a house) and if they win the worlds nothing.

All of these athletes are professional athletes and are treated as such.

The base of the national female team is the Army team where I Spent some time. These ladies (I’ve posted videos) are extremely disciplined and they are officers of the Chinese army , their coaches are high rank officers (colonels). I found out that  the voleyball coach was a general.

Words can’t describe how amazing seeing these training sessions were. All the ladies start with a long warm up and lots of strechting exercises. They start with the bar and progress with little jumps and lots of reps. When they reach 85% to 95% of the planned goal of the day and if they missed a lift, they go back to the bar and start again. Nobody talks and training is monitored by a head coach,an assistant coach, the team administrator and team manager.

I was informed that I was the first American coach ever to witness their program (don’t know if this is true), Wes Bartnett had visited them; but not witnessed their training. After the first part of the session I was very politely asked  to wait out because they had a meeting (as If understood what they were saying) and invited me to re-enter the gym after.

Since it was a weekend I noticed that a lot of relatives arrived to visit the athletes and a few were invited to see the training and most waited oustside.

I noticed that the manager of the team would smile at me a lot and was extremely nice. After workout the Coaches invited me to dinner (huge banquet) and through a translator they said I was their guest of honor. They asked me what I thought of their training and also what I would adviced them to improve their training!!!!!my answer was that I was there to learn and become a better coach.  They asked me If I could please tell them how we coach American Football Players strenght conditioning….this got me by surprise and I told them the general thing we do with College Players. They started asking lots of questions and taking notes ( I saw myself giving a presentation). The manager sitting next to me and still smiling said trough a translator that he remembers me from different international competitions in the 80′s and 90′s. I was also invited to the house of the head coach and met his very nice family. The head Coach was a very different person at home; a very loving father and husband. In Beijing real state is extremely high, but this coach owns a very fancy apartment that matches the car he drives.

Back at the Talent Retention Center I was still puzzled about the American Football thing. I ran into Mr. Al Biancani, a lengendary American Strenght and Conditioning coach who after retiring from the NBA started working in China with the National Women’s Basketball team, I told him about it and after talking a little we came to the conclusion that the weightlifting coaching staff will be in charge of coaching the Rugby teams when Rugby features at the Olympics again.

The next team I worked with was a university team and the first thing I noticed that mostly none were College Students, they did live and train at the university. their ages were from 15 or younger to 19 or early 20′s. They were recruited from all China to come and train with them. Very strong lifters and great technique. I saw a 69kg lifter doing 163kg in snatch. Some of these lifters have made the national team. My guess is that this is a step prior to the National Talent retention Center.

I was informed that the head coach was in the USA studying English (I believe) and a very qualified coach was in charge of the training program assisted by a former world level female lifter. Same thing here lots of technique, big weights and a lot of bodybuilding type of work.

They did a team warm up and strecht out as well as a brief meeting. After workout they worked in pair with some strechting exercises and massage.

When we talk about China and their great success in weightlifting we just marvel at how great weightlifting in this country has become, however there’s a not so nice side as well that I learned very sadly. For these athletes weightlifting is a way of life, they make their living out of it. A the university team a lot of prospects are sent home for not meeting expected totals, performance, not good and/or fast recovery from injuries, etc. These athletes have nothing besides weightlifting.

Statistics show that in China there are around 300,000.00 former star athletes living in extreme poverty and a lot are homeless. The good thing I herad is that the goverment is starting programs to help them.

This 75kg + lady showed great technique and speed.

Right.- Chart with PR’s in every lift of the female team.

Right.- 58kg lifter with 120kg C & J.

Left and Right.- University team.

Left.- WTF…???

Right.- The General Meng Yi back at home…..

The Colombian Program

In the last 15 – 20 years Colombia has become to be a very powerful and strong country in weightlifting. Winning a Gold medal in Sydney and Silver in Beijing in addition to have world medalists (Junior, Senior)and top ten finishers in any major competition.

How a country with so many problems due to drug traficking, a never ending guerrilla problem and taking hostages has become a profitable industry could have done it. In spite of all these problems the Olympic movement has grown a lot to a point it became a cultural thing. When visiting Colombia in March of this year for the south American games the taxi driver of the cab my family and I took told us that he was going home early because he was going to take his children to the weightlifting competition that afternoon and right after they were going to watch wrestling.

Our cab driver knew the names of most lifters from Colombia and their bios. The next days his schedule was to take his children to Fencing and Beach volley.

Now how can Colombian Weightlifting achieve this recognition from its people (in the USA common people as we know assume weightlifting is powerlifting). The government and it sports ministry has a lot to do with it. In March Colombia invested $ 140,000,000.00 (US Dollars) to benefit  Olympic sports and due to its success a lot of it was directed to weightlifting. The central government and local governments along with municipalities have different systems of taxation to get the money i.e. in Bogota (capital of the country)every telephone line (land line or cellular) pays a tax to benefit  sports.

They have hired Bulgarian coaches, Cuban coaches and also have a growing number of coaches who study 5 years to get a degree in Sports and/or weightlifting.

Weightlifting is coached in many public schools where kids train twice a day, if the do well they go to a local weightlifting school which is very well organized. They do get incetives: when they complete two weeks of training they are given a snack, after 1 or 2 months a little stipend to pay for their transportation, when they are ready to compete uniforms, shoes, etc. Keep in mind a lot of these athletes come from extreme poverty.

An under 15 year old lifter that does well and has competed internationally starts to get a monthly stipend of about $ 300.00 (US dollars) and it increases when the lifter improves. The national senior team is an all professional one. Its members make a living out of weightlifting.

They train 11 times a week and usually their loading is high.

Their system follows the following model (by age group):

Age        11-13                                       Basic instruction                                           Gymnastics, track and field ,etc

Age        13-16                                      Instruction-Sports schools

Age        17-20                                     Construction I                                                  Junior Competitions

Age        21-22                                     Construction II                                                 National medals

                                                                 Advance training                                             South American, central American, Pan American

                                                                 National team                                                    competition and medals.

                                                                 Elite                                                                       Olympic, world medals.   *****

There has been cases where a junior lifter has achieve the Elite level i.e. leydi Soliz.

Planning and loading management;

Their macrocycle is divided in 3 periods:

1.- General preparation 4/6/10 reps

2.- Special preparation 2 x 2, 2 x 3 reps

3.- Competitive preparation 2 x 1 reps

10 reps -30kgs of best lift, 6 reps -25 kgs of best lift, 4 reps -20kgs of best lift, 2×3 – 15 kgs of best lift, 2 x 2 – 10 kgs of best lift, 2 x 1 best lift

Weekly program

Monday

AM

Clean & Push Jerk

Hang Snatch

Power Jerk behind neck

Front Squat

Snatch Pull

PM

Snatch

Hang clean

Jerk behind neck

Back Squat

Clean Pull

TUESDAY

AM

Power snatch

C & J

Push jerk behind neck

Front squat

Snatch Pull

PM

Snatch

Power Clean

Jerk behind neck

Back squat

Clean Pull

WEDNESDAY

Clean & Push jerk

Snatch

Push jerk behind neck

Front squat

Snatch pull

PM

C & J

Hang Snatch

Jerk Behind neck

Back Squat

Hang clean pull

THURSDAY

AM

Clean & push jerk

Hang power snatch

Jerk behind neck

Front squat

Snatch Pull

PM

C & J

Hang Snatch + Pull

Push Jerk

Back Squat

Clean Pull

FRIDAY

Power Jerk & Push Jerk

Hang Power Snatch

Jerk behind neck

Front squat

Snatch Pull

PM  Max-out

Snatch

C & J

Push Jerk behind neck

Front squat

Clean Pull

SATURDAY

AM

Jerk from rack

Hang Snatch

Clean & Push Jerk

Back squat

Clean Pull

PM and Sunday rest

Now this is product of research, many interviews, translation of documents.

Ivan Rojas

 

 

 

 

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