I elaborated on this topic in my book, Weightlifting Programming, but since that publication (2012), some circumstances have changed and it’s not a bad idea to periodically revisit some concepts. I’ll try to keep this first part brief. We’ll start out discussing humans since they are a very unique species and the one that we are trying to develop into weightlifters and athletes in other sports.
1. Human ancestors began walking upright on two legs ca 5 million years ago (mya). This along with prehensile, opposable thumbs and extensive shoulder joint mobility enabled their descendants (us) to perform snatches and clean & jerks.
2. Our immediate predecessors were localized in Africa and began walking out of Africa around 60,000 years ago (kya). By 14 kya they were living on every continent except Antarctica. No other large vertebrate species has done this. They were able to survive on whatever foodstuffs they encountered meaning they were digestively very adaptable.
3. Some groups found themselves in situations of genetic isolation and underwent regional microevolution resulting in what some humans call “races”. This term is not used for any other species. The microevolution produced some distinctive morphs
4. Transcontinental migration was initially facilitated by large passenger ships and in the second half of the 20th century by large passenger jets. This led to cities with genetically diverse populations where miscegenation could gradually take place. At the same time the species became enormously popular numbering 7 billion in global population.
5. The steady increase in global population enhances the opportunity for the development of talented individuals. This factor coupled with increased miscegenation enhances the chances of encountering the athletically gifted and ideally suited.
6. BUT it also increases the chances of encountering individuals with unique genetic and development circumstances that are not subject to the methods of accepted training protocols.
7. Furthermore so many of the individuals from point 6 are arriving with questionable Physical Education, no background in sports and a rather poor conceptualization of the process of athlete development. A fair number are now entering the sport of weightlifting in the Masters program.
SO if you are an aspiring weightlifting coach be prepared to deal with the results of points 1-7, since it is so very rare that we in the weightlifting community are able to pre-filter our athletes in order to get the ones cited in point 5. Most of whom we coach will require a lot of problem solving so ONE SIZE WILL NOT FIT ALL!
AND if you are about to begin training for weightlifting try to find a coach who is reasonably good at diagnosis of problems, solving of problems and is open to consistently be learning. Weightlifting is hard enough. Try to find problem solvers.