Overspeed Training
The Influence of Weightlifting on the Woman's Body - Part III

by Prof. Angel Spassov, Ph.D., D.Sc.


I do not doubt that, in spite of the aforementioned, most people perceive women's weightlifting as a rather dangerous job. Apropos of this, we can observe that there exists other sport in which the momentary strength resistance is considerably higher than in weightlifting. Such examples can be found in the track and field athletics - jumping, throwing, running 100m, acrobatics, gymnastics, rowing etc. It is also important that the technique of the competitive and auxiliary exercises in the weightlifting sport provide the possibility for muscles and parts of the body under power strain to work in a most convenient position, favorable from a biomechanical point of view. At the same time power strain in a number of sports involves unfavorable position of body parts, twisting of the joints and unfavorable impact on woman's internal organs.


The highest power strain developed in the weightlifting sport can reach up 165% of the amount of the lifted weight -at the moment of the maximum effort in the second pull. The heaviest weight lifted by a woman so far is the achievement of Karyn Tartner (USA) in the clean and jerk-137.5kg, hence the maximum power strain could have been (theoretically) 226.9kg Though not knowing K. Tartner's exact bodyweight we are sure that she achieved this result in the 82.5kg bodyweight category. An acrobat (woman) who is doing a double back somersault develops power that is 5-6 times bigger than her own bodyweight. If we assume that she weighs 50kg, then the maximum power strain will vary from 250 to 300kg.


The power strain in weightlifting sport observed with women is considerably lower than the power strain involved in many disciplines defined as women's.


Certainly the results achieved by women weightlifters will grow higher from now on, with the application of correctly designed methods, however weightlifting is not dangerous; even more it can become a very good vehicle to obtain physical and health strengthening of women.


Through the symmetrical loading of all muscle groups of the body, weightlifting can contribute to the building of strong, well-shaped and proportionate athletic figure, it can strengthen the joints and improve the physiological functions the body.

This determines the great merits of, and respect to, those who have already begun and whom we speak of as pioneers: those who have turned over a new page in the development of our sport.


Lifting during the menstruation period


Complete interruption of workouts during the menstruation period is not recommended. It is normal to reduce the loading, however, exercises are to be continued, provided the menstruation takes its normal course and no gynecological changes occur. Certain physical exercises even ease the indisposition usually felt by women in this part of the cycle. Weight training normally increases the blood flow in the abdominal and pelvis areas and could cause prolonged bleeding and injury to the whole cycle. That is why light training is recommended, arms to be trained by lighter weights at a lying position.

However, menstruation has a considerable impact on working capacity of women (especially strength resistance). Though certain authors assert that the working capacity during the menstruation period is not reduced (A. B. Handelsmann,K. M. Smirnov, 1963, H. Noak, K. Tittel 1955 etc.) the following regularity can be observed: the working capacity curve is lowest, during the premenstruation period end the first menstruation days.

It is desirable that each workout ends with relaxation exercises.

Then it goes upwards to reach its peak in the first days of the postmenstrustion period (S. A. Jagunov, L. N. Stattzeva). Our work with competitive women athletes in the weightlifting, swimming, track and field athletics, tennis, fencing and rowing doing weight training showed that the approach to women athletes working to capacity during the menstruation is quite individual. Within the competing experience of sportswomen we came upon some cases in which their motivation placed them in such a position that in spite of the side effects of menstruation they achieved results higher than their personal records. Regardless of these cases, however, most women, athletes included, consider menstruation as an obstacle to their preparation and participation in contests.