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Thread: RTS and olympic weighlifting

  1. #1

    RTS and olympic weighlifting

    SimonCallander wrote:
    I only recently came across the reactive training system and a have been busy reading as much as i can,
    I am an olympic style weighlifter am very interested in applying RTS to my training. At the moment i am wrapping my head around the system wish to use this post to lay lay-out im thoughts here and gets some feed back.

    what i particulaly draws my attention is that RTS willl allow me a degree autonomosly in terms of volume and intensity.
    previoulsy most of my trianing is percentage based and waves in a roughly a up, up, up, down. fashion but the volume is prety constant over a block ( mostly 4-6weeks) and for the most part it this is doable, but not always. For me personlay i feel that sometimes i just need more practice at the competition lifts with greater loads lifts to improve my technique at limit weights... but how much is benifical without detracting from future training sessions? In this mannor fatigue drops and rep drops look particulary intersting.

    it is my opionion that n comparison to the power lifts, the olympic lifts are fast and as a result not as draining on the CNS. I expect this would mean i can probably base my programing at higher RPE's and even manage them more often. But on the flip side the speed and technical nature of the lifts greatly reduces the margin for error meaning and you cant grind the lifts... its fast or it doesn happen.

    im looking foward to some self experimenting.

    feel free to add any thoughts

  2. #2
    AlexH wrote:
    i'm no expert and in fact i am only now beginning to try and implement RTS principles into my own programming, however from the sounds of it you are on the right track.

    The main point i bear in mind whenever approaching programming is the specificity of the sport you are training for. Sprinting for example, is something of a power sport, so you would integrate training methods that increase power.

    For olympic lifting, your dealing with a sport that is actually very analogous to powerlifting - you get better at the lifts by performing the lifts, or variations of. Still i would break your programming down into shorter blocks leading up to competition, pretty much as laid out in the RTS manual.

    Working backwards, I would think you would be pretty much working singles @10 RPE for most of the realization block.

    Complexes or hang & high pull combos for triples @7-8 would be good during transmutation, for working on specific weak points in each pull, and weaknesses at a given joint angle (transition between 1st & 2nd pull for example).

    Counter intuitively, i would avoid general and general specific exercises during accumulation (apart from the squat) and instead focus on the contest moves @6-7 for no more than 4 reps and no less than 2, for building work capacity and technique. Gotta squat though, 3x a week.

    Depending on training age, shorter skills focused blocks which reinforce technique at a range of RPE's may also be a good idea.

    I'm just rapping off the top of my head here, this is how it could work in theory but honestly i've never coached the olympic lifts, most of the above suggestion is from observing the programming of olympic lifters and extrapolating from there.

  3. #3
    Mike Tuchscherer wrote:
    I don't know if you're familiar with the scope/rifle analogy, but I'll say it again just in case you haven't seen it yet.

    RTS fits onto a base training system the way a scope fits onto a rifle. It doesn't change any fundamental characteristics of the rifle, it just allows you to employ it more effectively. RTS is a modification. In the powerlifting world it can be used to modify a Westside "rifle", a Block Periodization "rifle", Bulgarian "rifle", etc. RTS + Westside will look and function vastly different from RTS + Block Periodization. But in my opinion, due to the autoregulatory structure that RTS provides, RTS + Block Periodization will be better than Block Periodization alone. Same goes for any other "rifle".

    So where this leaves you is that you need to find a rifle that you want to use, then figure out how RTS can be used to modify it. But since Weightlifting is very different than powerlifting, there are other modifications that will need to be made too. The first and biggest to come to mind is the organization of your RPE chart. For the Powerlifts, the "reps in the tank" method works very well and is very accessible. But it doesn't work so well for weightlifting. So I think that would be your first challenge. How do you reliably rate RPE without the reps in the tank method?

  4. #4
    SimonCallander wrote:
    Exactly what i have found so far, the RPE scale that relys on the principal of how many reps left doesnt really fit with the olympic lifts.
    for instance i could rate something as at 10 in that i could not get any more good fast reps reps at that weight, but i can go up 5 or 10kgs and still be just as fast and get good lifts, but at 15kgs and suddenly ive hit the wall its just too heavy and slows me down.

    maybe i should be thinking about the RPE in terms of speed
    10-terminal velocity (the weight is slowing me down. nothing left regardless if its a good lift or not)
    9- fastest (full speed, i cant get this lift any faster but i may have a few more kgs in me)
    8- faster (aproaching full speed, but light enough i can save it if its slopy)
    7- fast (easy lift, can definaly increase speed)
    6- whoa too fast (can get this with out trying for speed, i almost need to slow down)

    i think this will take some fine tuning, technique being slightly out can make a light weight feel slow. and will that make my speed rpe less reliable?
    obvioulsy this only really applys to the olympic lifts and their variants. squats and presses and other "slow" lifts would still be using the "reps in the tank" RPE

  5. #5
    AK73 wrote:
    I have an idea.

    You could use a "grid" in the background. (Maybe made out of a fairly large carboard layed/secured against the wall at the gym or something similar...?) This would provide you with a reference point in relation to what height you "rack" the bar in the clean position or at what height your elbows straighten/lock in the snatch. Basically videoing it and instantly replaying would provide you with an instant visual feedback that would show you how much or how little range you have to play with in order to get under the bar. Just think about a weight you can power snatch...

    Given a constant camera position, height, angle, platform etc you could develop your own RPE charts for full clean and snatches by looking at the hight of the bar in the catch positions.

    It would be certainly more of an objective measure than going for feel.

    Just an idea

    If anything you can always use an RTS overlay for your front, back squats, clean and snatch pulls. They are a size able portion of olympic lifting workload ... just my 2 cents. Good luck!

  6. #6
    AlexH wrote:
    I would have thought the problem there is that using speed as a metric for measuring effort doesnt neatly fit into ballistic movements like the olympic lifts.

    Bar speed for a powerlift can be an appropriate way to measure force applied to the bar, but for an olympic lift if enough force isnt applied the lift fails, "muscling up" only works with lighter weights iv observed. So although speed may change i dont know if it would directly correlate to force application.

    Speaking as someone who doesnt train the olympic lifts regularly though, so i may have overlooked some pretty fundamental mechanism here.

    EDIT - AK's idea is interesting, but this approach would be highly individual - if someone has a different anthropometry then the catch height would be different every time, heck even personal mobility on a given day would become a modifier (we all have days our ankles feel like they are set in concrete).

  7. #7
    AK73 wrote:
    I think having the chart/grid individualised to each person and each competition lift is actually an advantage.

    Mobility and a person's daily biological variance is an interesting point raised

    So instead of catch/rack height, one could just look at the height of the pull (how high the bar travels after acceleration, where it stops before it is overcome by gravity).

    Just throwing out some ideas

  8. #8
    AlexH wrote:
    Its a really interesting idea, i think perhaps combining it with a tendo would be the best approach. That way you could measure bar speed at different stages of the pull/catch.

  9. #9
    SimonCallander wrote:
    Thanks for the suggestions guys, the grid is a good idea, its also possible to rig up a squat stand with a broom stick above it so your pulls have a target and you can tell when they are getting too slow and hence not getting the height disired. for things like pulls and squats the RPE system works pretty well as it is. its when the lifts get technical that things get complicated. it stops becoming just a matter of slowing down and less force. but it gets harder to hit the right postition and then its all but impossible to finish with the right timing and the lift falls a apart and feels like a ton even if you do get it. on the ones where you absolutly nail the movement it almost feels weightless even at max effots. So i suppose what im really wanting to get from RTS is a way to quantify the technique and then allow that to auto regulate my volume.
    But as was said before its much eaiser to use it for squats presses and pulls, which am and will continue to do. "a max out" day also tends to sort out its self, go up untill you miss, then drop back down and get some quality. ill be playing with fatuge drops here as previously i would normaly do a max then drop to 80% and do two or three doubles. next time ill do singles and keep going untill the stop feeling as crisp. ill try 90% too.

  10. #10
    AlexH wrote:
    If you consider you ability to perform a lift with optimum technique (so even max efforts feel weightless like you said) is also a part of your bodies ability to express strength (intensity) then you can use the RPE scale as is i think.

    Maybe the easiest way to see if it works is to just implement a 4-6 week block using RPE's and fatigue percents and see if at the end your progression has been as expected, keeping a log of any pitfalls you found with the system will tell you more than brainstorming before the fact.

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