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bushido_man96
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Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:08 pm    Post subject: Weight Training: The Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced Reply with quote

I've decided to start this thread based off some of the discussions that have been put forth in this thread, Training with Weights for Martial Artists?. The goal of this post is to explain what it means to be considered a Novice, Intermediate, or Advanced weight lifter, and to clear up any misconceptions these descriptions might lead to.

The most important aspect to understand about the descriptions of a lifter listed above have absolutely nothing to do with skill level, or "how good" someone is at doing a particular lift. It has to do with a trainee's progression, and how well they recover from training. With that out of the way, let's get into it.

The Novice

A novice trainee is "a trainee for whom the stress applied during a single workout and the recovery from that single stress is sufficient to cause an adaptation by the next workout." (Rippetoe, Practical Programming for Strength and Conditioning, Third Edition). The stress applied is the weight lifted, and recovery occurs during the rest time leading up to the next workout session, which is typically a 48 to 72 hour window (basically lifting three days a week, Monday/Wednesday/Friday). So the novice squats on Monday, then comes back on Wednesday and can add more weight to the bar, because he has recovered sufficiently enough to adapt to the previous stressor.

This means that the novice lifter is in a very important stage in his lifting lifetime; he/she will be able to add a significant amount of weight to the bar over the course of what is referred to as the Novice Linear Progression at a faster rate than he/she ever will in their lifting lifetime. This Linear Progression can last anywhere between three and nine months, depending on the lifter's genetic factors and if proper recovery can be maintained throughout the progression. The end of the Novice Linear Progression is signaled by a performance plateau, at which time the lifter is not able to add weight to the bar every workout and complete the required sets/reps prescribed. Once this happens, it's time to adjust the application of the training stress, because the body has gotten stronger to the point that more recovery is required, and the stress must be applied differently. It's also important to note that some lifts may move out of the novice phase before others do. Keeping a detailed workout log can help flesh out these differences.

The Intermediate

Once the Novice Linear Progression has been exhausted, the lifter is strong enough now and working closer to their physical potential to the point that recovery is affected differently by the stress. The stress that the lifter now needs to produce to induce an adaptation takes longer than the 48 to 72 hours to recover from in the initial Novice Progression. Now the lifter moves his programming into a weekly progression, one in which the training stress and recovery are spread out over the course of the training week. At this point in training, the lifter will alter the programming to include a heavy day that helps trigger the stressor, a light day that acts a form of "active recovery" in which lighter loads (perhaps 80% of the Monday loads) are used to keep the movement pattern fresh and help the body recover by not adding a significant stress to what took place on the heavy day, and then finishing the week off with a medium day with less volume but a higher intensity on the main lifts. Day three should demonstrate an increase in production, and the weight lifted on Day 3 sets up the Day 1 workout for the following week.

At this point in the training progression, the lifter will also begin to tailor the program to suit individual needs based on the lifter's other activities (for those of us reading this, most likely Martial Arts practice). Exercise selection and assistance movements can be more selective at this point in training.

It is very likely that most of the training population will advance beyond the intermediate training progression, and intermediate level training can be followed for quite some time, and most likely will be, especially if the trainee has another sport or physical activity that they participate in. The Advanced Lifter is entirely different animal.

The Advanced

The Advanced trainee is the lifter who has forsaken all other activities aside from lifting weights, and is a competitor in a strength sport: Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, or Strongman. For these competitors, weight training to them is much like what Martial Arts training is for us: IT IS WHAT THEY DO, IT IS WHO THEY ARE. They are working so close to their genetic potential, and have done so for so long, that they have exhausted the ability to create a stress significant enough to induce an adaptation, and this stress is great enough that recovery can't occur, in the one week period. They have moved on to more advanced periodization training, which is highly detailed, very specific, and fairly complex. These folks will train with their competitive schedule in mind, and organize their training so that they can peak by appointment at a meet or contest.

I hope that this article has helped to explain some of the concepts involved when I post about weight training, and how the terms Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced lifters are interpreted. Again, these terms do not refer to how well someone performs a lift technically, nor does it refer to how strong a lifter is; they refer to the lifter's ability to move through the Stress/Recovery/Adaptation cycle, and therefore how programming is affected.

There are three great resources that expound on these, and many other concepts for weight training, and are also my sources for the information in this article:

Starting Strength, Basic Barbell Training, Third Edition: Mark Rippetoe
Practical Programming for Strength Training, Third Edition: Mark Rippetoe and Andy Baker
The Barbell Prescription: Strength Training for Life After 40: Jonathon Sullivan and Andy Baker. All published by The Aasgaard Company.
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sensei8
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
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Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Solid OP, Brian!!

I've no idea which type I am because I've trained all of my life via MA training i.e., my Sensei/other MAists, and/or Health Related, i.e. my PCP and Cardiologist; I lift to live.



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bushido_man96
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 27760
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you keep track of what you do when you lift weights, and look at your progress, you can usually figure out where you fall.

Now, it depends on what kind of lifting routine you do, too. If you aren't lifting with a focus on gaining strength, then it's likely that you haven't worked through a novice progression yet.
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