One of the things that intimidated the hell out of me back in the early 90’s was the huge amount of training systems available, and trying to choose between them. Bulgarian. Russian. Go to maximum every day if you want to progress. Going to max too often stunts progress. Pulls are key. Pulls are useless. The Hatch system. The Calpian system. The Greek system.
How do you choose? I mean even the most productive coaches argue endlessly about what is right and what is wrong, how in the world is a beginner to know?
I heard something from a Bulgarian lifter a few years back that really made me stop and think about this. He said “Why is everyone in the US always arguing about what training system is best? We all do the same system. We snatch, we clean and jerk, and we squat. The rest is just useless details.”
The more I thought about this the more it made sense, and it even made me smile a little bit. I mean, if you think about all the things people do in the weight room, we weightlifters do all train pretty similarly, don’t we?
If you put 3 weightlifters training their snatch in a group of 100 “regular guys” in a gym, will it be hard to spot the weightlifters? Will it matter if one of them is doing snatch pulls, or one is power snatching? Will it matter if one is going to maximum then dropping down to do some lighter doubles, and the other is working with percentages, starting with a series of doubles at 80 and 85 percent, then ending with singles at 90, 92.5, and 95 percent?
No, of course it won’t matter at all. One would instantly know who the weightlifters are. What they are doing is alike enough (and different enough from what all the “regular guys” are doing) to immediately know they are all doing the same sport, something different than the others.
Makes me think about how similar this situation is to playing the piano. Now, I don’t know anything about learning to play the piano. I have no musical instruction or talent whatsoever. But I know that the most important fact about learning to play the piano is that you will have to sit down at the piano and make an attempt to hit the right keys at the right time with the right fingers. Strumming a guitar won’t do it, running or lifting weights or perfecting your jump shot won’t do it, only sitting in front of that piano will do it. Sure there are good piano instructors and bad piano instructors, and I would imagine that there are a whole bunch of different methods and drills and theories about how to best learn to play. But isn’t the particular method or drill pretty irrelevant compared to the fact that you are sitting in front of a piano and hitting keys as opposed to outside working on your jump shot?
When you realize that the most important thing about the training of a weightlifter is that we train the snatch, the clean and jerk, and squat, and that the rest is just details (and it might not even matter how the details get filled in), the whole process gets a lot less intimidating.