Guides Olympic Lifting Training Notes

Initial Training for Women

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The fact that girls are coming to my seminars more and more often makes me happy. They all want to learn how to lift the barbell and how to better understand weightlifting. It’s interesting how hard it is to clearly categorize these girls – they are all different and they have different goals and motivations.

Initial Training for Women

These are trainers, functional training athletes, girls who train for the results in competitions and girls that consider weightlifting as a form of fitness training. Their age varies from 13 to 50.

I am sincerely in awe when a girl says that she is 41, has two children, is a housewife, and has been training in weightlifting for 3-4 years, because she enjoys the feeling of the bar notching on her palms and the power she feels when she manages to fix the bar above her head in the second pull.

Due to the high competition and revitalization of female sports, there is earlier selection and specialization in weightlifting, which scares parents a bit and can cause arguments. Therefore, I would like to share information that will help you understand this issue. In this article I will talk about the stages of the Ukrainian professional sports school training in girls’ initial selection for weightlifting.

In the Post-Soviet era there is such a practice of “sports schools,” which are governmental educational institutions. I will not go into details about the deplorability of their level of training. Unfortunately, we have nothing to boast about in this regard, especially compared to the training spaces and equipment that I see when I travel to to other countries.

Woman workout

All I can do is trust and hope that we will reach that level someday. Nevertheless, it is in these schools that most future champions begin their journey and train before entering the national team.

When setting up the training process, four preparation stages are defined. They are similar to the stages for boys, but for girls specialization begins 3-5 years earlier:

Stage 1 

Selection and initial training (7-8 years).


  • Identification of gifted and capable girls;
  • Strengthening their health and promoting physical development;
  • Versatile motor preparation (short and medium running distances, jumping work, exercises with own weight, swimming, development of coordination, sports games);
  • Teaching the technology basics (mainly working with PVC, learning the auxiliary exercises technique – over head, back, front squat, prеsses, snatch balance, muscle snatch and clean);
  • Discipline, organization, interest for weightlifting, hygiene and self-control habits development.

For example, programs for young men in 1977 initiated this stage at the age of 13-14. Based on a series of studies (over the past 10 years), it was proved that the selection and initial training of girls in speed-strength sports should be carried out at the age of 7-8. This is due to the specific hormonal activity of girls versus boys, which is characterized by a decrease in gonadotropin function preserving the functional activity of the ovaries.

In addition, the load of a visible power directivity causes hypertrophy of the adrenal cortex, and an increase in the secretion of cortisol and testosterone. Since testosterone has an anabolic effect, it participates in the formation of new and increasing muscle fibers.

Female Weightlifter training

Proceeding from this, it can be assumed that the early specialization that promotes the increase in the production of corticosteroids in girls’ bodies will lead to the formation of a larger number of muscle fibers, and, consequently, to the manifestation of power abilities.

Stage 2

Initial specialization (age of 9-11).


  • All-round physical readiness;
  • Special motor qualities development, functional readiness enhancement;
  • Stable competencies formation in competitive and auxiliary exercises, working with PVS and a technical bar with minimal weight;
  • Strong-willed qualities development – courage, determination, ability to engage in self-training.

It is the age of 9-11 years that is characterized by the increasing role of discipline, mental reliability and motivational-volitional factor. In this regard, the development of the training process should be carried out taking into account this specificity.

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Stage 3

In-depth specialization (age of 12-14 years).

The peculiarities of the training process at this stage are related to the pubertal period and changes in the hormonal background and the structure of the personality characteristics of athletes, which is characterized by a relative decrease in motivation, but increased awareness and responsibility.

At this stage, girls experience their first ovarian-menstrual cycle. In order to preserve the reproductive functions of the body, it is recommended to use an individual approach in loads planning.

Stage 4

Sports improvement (age of 15-16) and higher sports skills ( age of 17-18 and older).


  • Achievement of a high level of general and special physical preparedness through the use of large training loads;
  • Technical and tactical preparedness improvement;
  • High level of skills that ensure stability achievement;
  • Knowledge and skills of managing your sports form mastering, including when preparing for competitions.

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The sports schools’ curriculum is mainly designed for 46 weeks in the conditions of the school and 6 weeks in the conditions of the training camp in the summer.

When traveling around the world and communicating with coaches from different countries, I often hear that their children’s sports system needs to be more developed. Of course, many countries will never adopt this form of work with children.

But I hope that information on the specifics of the initial training of girls can be useful to those coaches who apply weightlifting exercises while training sportswomen from other sports, as well as in the construction of training programs for girl weightlifters.

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Sergii Putsov

Author: Sergii Putsov
Head of Sport Science, PhD

Experience: 20 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 165 kg,
C&J – 200 kg

Sergii Putsov, Ph.D., is a former professional weightlifter and National team member, achieving multiple medals in the 94 kg weight category at national competitions. With a Master’s degree in “Olympic & Professional Sport Training” and a Sport Science Ph.D. from the International Olympic Academy, Greece, Sergii now leads as the Head of Sport Science. He specializes in designing training programs, writing insightful blog articles, providing live commentary at international weightlifting events, and conducting educational seminars worldwide alongside Olympic weightlifting expert Oleksiy Torokhtiy.

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