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Feb 13, 2020

To be a competitive athlete, choosing your weightlifting coach is critical. You would like to improve your strength and conditioning and learn the proper lifting techniques from a skilled coach who fully understands the athletic experience. A good coach is someone who has a competitive experience and a genuine understanding of weightlifting training programming. 

In today's episode of RX'D Radio, we're on the show with weightlifting coach Zack Telander to talk in detail about the world of weightlifting coaching as a profession. He also shares how he uses YouTube as a platform to provide informative content and to reach a wider audience.

If you want to level up your training programming, don't forget to subscribe and tune in to RX'D Radio for the detailed discussion!

About Our Guest

Zack Telander is an outstanding coach in weightlifting, CrossFit, and to multiple sports at Texas A&M University and Northwestern University. Zack has a USAW-Level 2 coaching certification and is a weightlifting coach at Juggernaut Training Systems and Texas A&M.

How Should Weightlifting Programming Look Like 

 Getting Into Weightlifting

  • Zack grew up as an athlete in a very athletic home. Playing high school football drew him to the weight room.
  • After graduating from the University of Vermont, he went to a CrossFit gym, and there he was inspired to be a coach.
  • After he got his level one in CrossFit, he started to advance. In 2014, he started training with one of the coaches and did his first weightlifting meet.
  • He eventually got his USAW-Level One and got a full-time job as a CrossFit coach.
  • As a CrossFit coach, he was able to teach non-athletic people the "snatch, and the clean and jerk" on a high volume.
  • The golden standard for getting into strength and conditioning is passing the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) exam.
  • After passing the CSCS exam, he got an internship at Northwestern University and Texas A&M University. When he got into College Station, he started competing again on weightlifting and started personal training for profit.

Using YouTube as a Platform

  • In 2016, he started getting into YouTube. After a while, he started making and uploading CrossFit videos.
  • After releasing his videos, a guy commented that there's no story in his content. 
  • For Zack, he wanted to deliver his expertise and combat issues on the CrossFit community. He started writing and doing voice overs to try and give solutions to these problems.
  • From 1,000 views, he has now reached almost 100,000 subscribers.

Weightlifting Coaching as a Career

  • He does remote coaching and coaching in-person.
  • Physical coaching is essential for development.
  • Actual interaction is critical in being a coach. Coaches have to know how to interact and how to calm people down.
  • In terms of ROI, weightlifting coaching as a profession is always going to be relatively low.
  • Most weightlifting coaches do it out of passion, but they have other sources of income.

Remote Coaching and RPE

  • You can get a lot stronger with low percentage squats. It's all about positioning and speed.
  • Rate of perceived exertion or RPE is the rating on how hard you work. It's hard to perform a good rate with dynamic movements such as snatch, clean and jerk.
  • Max Aita, the Head of Juggernaut Training Systems Weightlifting Coach, and Zack's mentor invented a scale for RPE.
  • Zack, on the other hand, gives ranges with the eye. By following those rules, they can go as heavy or as light as they want.
  • He uses these techniques to breed a culture in the gym and instill to people that he coaches.

Ideal Movement

  • The only real prescription for training is an ideal movement.
  • Overload movements like poles or squats are heavier and more fatiguing than clean and jerk or snatch.
  • There are many tricks you can do if your lifter is fatigued and is not feeling good instead of just putting in arbitrary percentages.
  • When you introduce novelty, the person just forgets that they're lifting heavy.

Periodization Models

  • Block periodization: Working on one aspect of training; this can be (1) muscle building, (2) muscular endurance, and (3) strength.
  • Concurrent periodization: Here, you're working on all three aspects, but you undulate the amount of intensity and load in each phase.
  • Daily undulating periodization: If you stress the body, it needs time to recover.
  • The real trick of programming is understanding how you can emotionally tap into the athlete without scaring them.

Gauging System

  • To gauge an athlete's performance, he watches them every day. The system is feedback; communicate consistently to athletes as a coach.
  • Reporting fatigue is very hard for athletes, and it takes years of training to understand how to accurately and efficiently assess your own fatigue.
  • You have to determine how many days you're going to implement stressors (e.g., very high intensities clean and jerk).
  • As a coach, you have to see all the factors and what's happening and make the right adjustments unique to each athlete.

Outlook on Programming

  • Focus on the quality of the execution as the end goal.
  • As an athlete, you have to take responsibility on how to regulate and make adjustments for yourself.
  • You also have to be interested in experimenting, changing, and holding yourself accountable. Your coach is just there to guide you through all that.
  • Zack works mostly with college students, and he realized they don't really understand a lot of these concepts.
  • It is essential to be interested in the sport enough to learn about the simplest to the most complex terminologies.
  • If athletes understand what they're getting into, they will not end up quitting.

Subscribe to Zack's Patreon and have access to his programs for only $1. You can also reach him through Instagram or by sending him an email at for coaching inquiries. Subscribe to his YouTube channel to learn more about his techniques.

Want to learn more about weightlifting, health, and overall fitness? Check out our official website, Youtube channel, Instagram, and podcast. You can also connect with me through Instagram.