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Wave Loading for Olympic Weightlifting

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

If you want to see massive improvements in your Olympic lifts it is going to take a lot of high quality work. One way we accelerate learning is implementing wave loading.

What is wave loading?

Wave loading is essentially this. The athlete will have an exercise or complex to complete at a weight range from 30 to 85%. The athlete will attempt to complete a complex on an interval for a set amount of time, usually 8 to 15 minutes. Intervals can vary from 30 sec to 2 min. The athlete will then rest for 5 minutes and repeat. The athlete can go up or down in weight thus creating a wave like structure.

Why wave load?

Wave loading is important for out of season training. In wave loading you are giving the athlete time constraints and thus dense blocks of work. This is great for conditioning the athlete as well as getting large volumes of technical work done in short periods of time. If managed properly you can do all of this without placing a great load on the body. This produces a wonderful stimulus for optimal learning and physical growth.

Here is a sample wave; 1 power snatch+1 Hang snatch, for 10 min every min on the min, rest 5 minutes and repeat 1 more round.

In this scenario the athlete will perform 40 snatches in 25 total minutes! That is a ton of work, and because the complex has powers and hangs there is a good chance you are going to work out some of the athlete's technical limitations at lighter loads.

Everyone wants to talk about working in the 70% of maximal weight range for optimal changes in technique. Here you go! And remember optimal learning occurs at a slightly fatigued state.

The Physiology

We have posted a lot about physiology and how best to manipulate the human organism on this blog. Some of the pieces have been more controversial than others.

If we run with the notion that muscles just really are not that smart—then we can agree that they only respond simply to stimuli.

If we are performing the complexes and hitting 40 reps in 25 minutes that is 40 stimuli total. Compare that to if we were snatching 10 x 2 on the minute and that were it. That would only be a total of 20 stimuli. You can see how valuable dense blocks of work are.

Before you email me, keep this in mind. We are doing this is out of season. That is we are not close to peaking for a meet. If we were doing a peaking cycle, we would limit the amount of exercise and give the body a stimuli that were more representative to the demands of competition.

We need to stimulate the body to make more muscle, connect more neurons to motor units, and increase that mitochondrial density. We must demand our muscles grow in size and function.

Wave loading is an excellent tool to make this happen.

Dense volumes of work followed by adequate rest and recovery is a sure way to impart changes on our bodies.

If you would like to learn more about the complexes we use and how we can help you contact us HERE or schedule time below!

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