Competition Recommendations

Weightlifting Competition Recommendations

Fuel Up
First and foremost, following weigh-in(which starts 2 hours before your session is scheduled to start, meaning you may have 1-2 hours before you need to start warming up), ensure you are hydrated. Typically, for most athletes in a weightlifting competition, there is at least a little bit of sweating going on to shave any necessary weight to get into their weight class. I don't recommend worrying about doing any of this for our purposes here, but in either case ensure you are where you need to be in general in regards to hydration(if you were sweating to make weight, you'd need to replace beyond the amount that you sweat out and continue sipping throughout the competition.) Then, get a little bit of food in, something light; fruit, a conservative amount of healthy fat(avocado, nuts, seeds, etc.), quality protein(this can be in the form of a shake especially if that's what you are used to.) Then, relax!

Counting Attempts
Find out where your starting weight is compared to the rest of the athletes in your session as soon as that information is available. If you are first up for example, you may need to start warming up as soon as about 30 minutes before scheduled session start time. If you have the heaviest starting weight listed, you may not need to start warming up until sometime after the session has started. In a weightlifting competition we warm up by our estimated minutes and/or attempts out from our first attempt. For easy transfer, we recommend saying 1 attempt is equal to 1 minute, so that these are interchangeable. If you are the 1st lifter, then you should take a warm up set about every 3 minutes, if you are the last lifter and counting attempts you should take a warm up set about every 3 attempts. When counting attempts, you must not only consider how many athletes are in front of you, but if any of them might be taking there 2nd or 3rd attempts after your first attempt. So, if each athlete gets 3 attempts, and there are 10 athletes in front of you, this does not necessarily mean you are 30 attempts out. We'll come back to that a little more later.......

Choosing Starting Weight
Before we talk about specific warm ups and more on counting attempts, you will need to pick your starting weight(your first of your 3 attempts.) For this you will want something you are comfortable/confident with, but also something heavy enough to allow you a chance to reach your best within 3 attempts without the jumps in weight being too big. Remember as well that this lift is what will put you in the competition(without making at least 1 of your 3 attempts in the snatch OR c&j, you will not have a total to put up against others; NOW, let's not speak of that scenario again!) There is no exact science for picking your opening attempt as each athlete is a little different in how they should plan and then execute to get the most out of themselves, and it will likely take a little experimentation to find the best individual method(which will likely change over time as well.) But here are some things to consider to help you choose one. First of all understand and remember that you are being set up for this "meet" with specific rest/stimulation so have confidence that you will be even more prepared than usual for the weight you choose, and capable of lifting heavy beyond this and your recent training weights! That being said, I recommend around 95% of your best in the last 3 months(maybe this is your best ever and maybe it is not, but this will keep it current and help you get the most out of yourself on this specific day.) Also, this opening attempt needs to be something you've hit at least a few times in the last month. We will discuss 2nd and 3rd attempts later, as well as more individualized starting weight recommendations.

Snatch Warm Up
Time to be changed into your Superman suit and start warming up! See recommended warm ups with percentages taken off of your chosen starting attempt below, but let's also now go back to counting attempts and indicate that the numbers shown on the far left, are minutes out and/or attempts out.

Snatch warm ups
30(minutes or attempts)-General Warm Up(defined below)
23-bar complex(5 reps of each: snatch grip RDL, hang power snatch, OH squat, snatch squat press)
21-bar x 5reps(hang snatch)
19-3 reps @ 35%(from here forward, regular snatch with percent being off of chosen starting attempt)
17-3 reps @ 50%
15-2 reps @ 65%
12-2 reps @ 75%
9-1 reps @ 85%
6-1 reps @ 92%
3-1 reps @ 96%

[NOTE] I have found that this fits most athletes very well in regards to the number of reps and total sets, but if a few of my athletes have felt a few extra sets gets them better prepared to lift there best. So, if you feel like you need a little more, put in 2-4 extra sets at those light/medium weights(35-75%), just make sure you allow for these extra sets when you are counting attempts. On the other side of that, I have never used any less reps and total sets than this as I believe, especially after the extra rest, this is the minimum that will get the body reawakened so to speak and sufficiently warmed up and stimulated to perform at ones best. If this warm up schedule tires you, then you need to think about what you are doing in training and make sure you are more than conditioned and prepared for this workload.

[General Warm Ups Definition] For most weightlifters, general warm ups include leg swings, arm circles, squats and presses with the bar, and that's pretty much it. I have been in the same boat for most of my career but now believe we can be more sufficiently warmed up AND stimulated with a little more intensity. I am motivated to help change the look of movements you might see in a weightlifting competition warm up room, and therefore general weightlifting programming in preparation for this. Especially for those of you whose bodies are already used to it, let's see something like an alternating Tabata of burpees and air squats. This will be in addition to whatever other general warm ups/mobility that you like and feel best prepares you for the snatch and c&j. I really like other movements such as rowing, Russian KB swings, double unders, etc. for this as well but the burpees and air squats will be more than sufficient and keep extra equipment unnecessary.

Snatch Competition Attempts
First a little background on a few scenarios that may play out within a weightlifting competition. One would be an athlete following themselves, doing their 2nd and/or 3rd attempt without any other lifters in between. This would mean that there are no other athletes in the given athlete's session that are lifting weights for any of their 3 attempts that are within the range of the given athletes 3 attempts. This usually happens if the given athlete is the first or last lifter in the session, but can also happen anywhere in the middle. If an athlete is following another competitor with any of their attempts, they have a 1 minute clock once the weight is loaded and their name is called, but if they are following themselves, they have a 2 minute clock once the weight has been changed or tightened and their name has been called(there are also a certain number of weight changes allowed, as well as a few other tricks, that can help the athlete buy themselves more time to rest, but this is another aspect of a weightlifting competition that we can discuss or direct you toward that information at a later time.)

Another common scenario is having excess time/rest between competition attempts. Within a weightlifting competition I will define this as any more than 3 minutes, or 3 attempts from other competitors between any of a given athlete's 3 attempts. This happens very commonly at international competitions where the athletes are lifting very near the same weights within the sessions they are placed in. Time/attempts between a given individual's competition attempts I've seen inch up to around 15; most commonly it is between 3 and 10. Some athletes like to wait this out but I myself found much more success with staying stimulated, meaning for me not going more than 3 minutes/attempts without doing another warm up, even if this meant I had to rush out to my 2nd or 3rd attempt(sometimes with other athletes making changes, etc. you can go from having 5 attempts before you are up to zero as an example.) Usually these extra warm ups between competition attempts are around 80% in the snatch and 70% in the c&j, unless there need to be multiple warm ups in which case I might go even lighter and build back up to the point of completely re-warming up.

So now you are warmed up, stimulated and ready to go! You will have taken your last warm up(1 @ 96% of your chosen starting attempt) and then should take your 1st attempt about 3 minutes/attempts later. Where to go on your 2nd attempts? In planning/choosing your 2nd and 3rd attempts we will assume of course that your goal is a PR(meaning anything over 100%,) or at least something more than you've hit in a while(remember we talked about choosing your starting attempt off of what is current for you.) So if you start with the 95%, your plan may look something like this:

-1st attempt = 95%
-2nd attempt = 98-100%
-3rd attempt = 101%+

If you choose to be more conservative with your starting attempt, you will of course need to take bigger jumps:

-1st attempt = 90-94%
-2nd attempt = 96-98%
-3rd attempt = 101%+

If you choose to be a little more aggressive with your starting attempt:
-1st attempt = 96-99%
-2nd attempt = 101%+
-3rd attempt = 101%+

[REMEMBER] Don't let yourself cool down, let your mind rest, even taking it somewhere else for a few moments, BUT stay stimulated and ready physically!
Now, celebrate your success! But be brief, you still have work to do, time for the C&J! Take it easy for a few moments first with rest as able. During this rest, be sure to hydrate and fuel up a little. Again something light and for now I'd say very little to no fat and don't feel guilty about taking in some sugar, but if you have something you know works for you, go with it.

An alternative perspective on counting attempts/competition plan from USA Weightlifting here

C&J Warm Up
Again, choose your starting attempt first, using the same method as the snatch. Recommended warm ups for C&J with percentages taken off of your chosen starting attempt are below, again with numbers on the far left being minutes out, or attempts out.

17(minutes or attempts)-bar complex(5 reps of each: clean grip RDL, hang power clean, front squat, jerk)
15-3 @ 40%(from here forward, regular c&j)
12-2 @ 60%
9-1 @ 75%
6-1 @ 85%
3-1 @ 94%

C&J Competition Attempts
n planning/choosing your 2nd and 3rd attempts for your C&J, use the same recommendations as the snatch listed above.

VERY IMPORTANT-Remember in executing your lifts, starting with your warm ups and especially your big lifts, keep your thoughts/focal points simple and few. 2 or 3 cues, that is it. Today is not the day to think about every little position and to piece together the perfect technique. Most important will be the bare bone basics...

-1. You must lock into your start position(for most this is "simply" feeling exaggerated tension in the back.)
-2. You must work to keep the bar close throughout the lift, specifically from the floor to the knee.
-3. You must extend your body; most can extend more than they think they need and benefit. "Extend so long it feels wrong!" It's very easy to get ahead of yourself here and try to get under the bar too quickly. Keep getting under the bar completely out of your head today and let your reception be a reaction and it will happen the best that it can. Get UP!

The specific cues that work for you the best at any given time may vary but within this method of focusing, they should have something to do with these 3 things and an example might look like this: "tight, close, extend" or "lock, lats, jump," etc., etc. It is a "simple"as that. You have put in lots of strength and technique work up to this point so trust in that and be aggressive with what it is. How you do this is to execute these 3 things with everything you have, nothing else matters/should matter in your head. Allow everything else to be "automatic".......ALLOW it to be simple!

Have Fun!

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