A Roadmap and Game Plan for Your Next Weightlifting Meet
The Olympic Games are a series of international competitions held every four years to determine the best athletes in the world. They’re open to all sports, but most often involve weightlifting. There’s no set formula or plan for winning these events; they’re just there to see who’s got what it takes.
There are two main ways to compete at the Olympics: you can either qualify through your country’s national team, or you can go through qualifying tournaments organized by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). Qualifying tournaments are usually held once a year, and they typically consist of regional meets where athletes from around the world come together to test their strength against each other. These events tend to be smaller than the actual Olympic games, so the top competitors will get a chance to show off their skills in front of a larger audience.
Qualifying tournaments are also great opportunities for amateurs looking to gain some experience before attempting to make it into the big leagues. If you want to try out for one of those teams that qualifies through your country’s national team, then qualifying tournaments are probably not going to be for you.
On the other hand, if you’re an established weightlifter looking to take your abilities to the next level, then you might want to consider registering for one of these events. There’s no way of telling whether or not you’ll make it into the Olympics, but if you really believe in yourself, then you’ve got nothing to lose by trying out.
But Qualifying tournaments aren’t the only way to get into the big leagues. There is also the option to qualify through international competition, which is usually only open to top-ranked weightlifters. The best way to get into this sort of meet is to consistently place high in major tournaments. If you’re a world-class athlete with enough potential, you’ll most likely get an email inviting you to participate in an international event.
These events are much larger than qualifying tournaments, and feature the very best of the best.
If getting a spot is tough through a national team or qualifying tournament, then getting one through international competition is going to be even harder. However, these events are a great way to prove that you have what it takes to compete with the best in the world.
So how does one prepare for an event of this magnitude?
Well there’s a plethora of information available online that can help you get started. The IWF maintains a wiki dedicated to weightlifting that gives detailed information about each of the different weight classes, as well as example workouts and training schedules. Additionally, the USAPL’s site also has a section for its own weightlifters that might be useful. Of course, if you’re really serious about this, then I’d recommend checking out as many resources as possible.
Qualifying tournaments are just one of the ways to qualify for the Olympics, but if you really want to make it into the big leagues then international competition is the way to go. There are three different types of meets that make up the world circuit, and figuring out which one you should be aiming for is largely based on your skill level and where you currently live.
These types of meets are smaller in size and are held at the local, national, and continental level. The main goal of these meets is to qualify athletes for participation in the next level meet. Depending on what your goals are, these can be a good way to get started as a beginner. There are three types of qualifying meets based on where they are, these are:
Local Level Tournaments : These tournaments typically only have a few dozen athletes participating in them, however note that you have to qualify to compete in them. The upside to these meets is that they’re relatively easy to qualify for, but the downside is that because there aren’t very many of them, it can be difficult to actually qualify for the next level. The smaller size also means the competition is a lot less likely to be a world-class athlete, and more likely to just be some guy who lives down the street who’s been lifting a lot longer than you have.
Qualifying for one of these meets is based on where you live. If you live in the United States, then you’ll most likely have a local qualifying meet in your area every month or two. You can find the qualifying totals for each weight class here .
National Level Tournaments : Unlike local tournaments, you aren’t automatically qualified to compete in them. Every athlete has to go through a qualifying process to see if they’re good enough, which is typically done at smaller tournaments leading up to it. These meets usually have a few hundred athletes competing in them, but still not quite big enough to be considered world-class. The competition tends to be fairly good, but still not at the highest level.
Qualifying for these tournaments is typically done through ranking . Each national weightlifting federation keeps a ranking of each athletes based on previous competitions. When a slot opens up in a National competition, the first athlete in that country’s ranking that can compete is chosen to go. For example, if a weightlifting tournament has 300 athletes and there are 10 slots open, the top 10 athletes in that country’s ranking compete.
Qualifying totals are kept online here for each of the male weight classes .
Continental Level Tournaments : These meets are typically the biggest ones held in the world. There are only a handful of them held every year, and each continent gets to host one. Athletes qualifying for these meets are typically at the highest level, since the qualifying process tends to be very difficult. These meets tend to have several thousand athletes competing in them, and the competition is always fierce.
There are a few different ways to qualify for these meets. The first way is to simply be the top ranked athlete from your nation. If there are multiple athletes within a weight class in a certain country, then the top 3 compete, with the highest total making the team.
Qualifying totals are kept online here for each of the male weight classes , and here for each of the female weight classes .
World Championships : The world championships are held every single year, in a different city all over the world. These meets are typically the highest level of competition in the world. Every athlete is trying their absolute hardest to place as high as they can, and the pressure is always on. Athletes from all over the world attend, and each country sends their top athletes.
Qualifying for these meets is typically done through a combination of ranking, scores, and other factors. The United States sends its top 5 athletes based on a number of different factors. These can be found online here for each of the male weight classes , and here for each of the female weight classes .
Part 3: Training
There are as many different training programs as there are people. While the information in this section can help give you an idea of what a day in the life of an olympic weightlifter is like, it should not be followed religiously. Everybody is different. What works for one may not work for another.
Experiment with different programs and find what’s best for you.
There are two types of programs most commonly used by weightlifters: Linear and Undulating.
Most programs are variations of these two programs, and most combine both linear and undulating aspects. For example, a program that is very linear in the fact that it has you lifting heavy weights at certain times, but also undulating in the fact that it has you lift lighter weights for more repetitions at other times.
A linear program progresses in a particular fashion. It will have you lift a heavy weight, followed by a lighter weight, then a heavier weight again. It will continue to progress in this fashion and will typically get you to a point where you are lifting the heaviest weights you can lift. There are variations of these programs as well.
Some will progress in weight slowly and give you plenty of time to get used to the new weight. Others will increase the weight every session, no matter what. A novice athlete will typically start on this type of program, and as they get stronger and build endurance they can graduate to more complex programs.
The undulating program typically has you lifting weights at varying levels of weight and repetitions. Typically, it is prescribed to lift heavy on certain days, moderate on others, and lightly on others. These type of programs are designed to keep your body guessing and prevent it from adapting which can help prevent the dreaded plateau.
Many athletes will combine linear and undulating concepts into their programs. Typically, these programs will have you lift heavy weights fairly often, but will also incorporate undulating aspects such as lowering the weight every couple of months or so.
There is no perfect program. Whether or not you see results from a particular program depends on your genetics and a host of other factors. Find what works for you and stick with it.
A few tips to help ensure your success:
Always warm up before lifting. This helps prepare the muscles and tendons for the rigorous work they’re about to experience. A good warmup will raise your core temperature, increase blood flow to the muscles, and get your joints and ligaments ready for action. It also gets your mind focused on what’s to come and prepares you mentally for the training session ahead of you.
You don’t need to train like an olympic athlete, but you do need to train smart. A lot of people that aren’t used to the grind of hard exercise will shoot themselves in the foot by overtraining before they even get started. Training sessions should typically be no more than three times a week. For each session, you should only do one or two different exercises.
Doing more than that won’t make you stronger and will probably lead to injury. Remember, your muscles grow during rest periods, not while you’re working out.
To maximize growth, lift the heaviest weight that you can for a minimum of five repetitions. If you can do more than five, the weight is too light and you should increase it. Many athletes will lift until they can’t do another repetition, but this isn’t necessary for growth.
Once you’ve picked your exercises and the weight you’ll be lifting, perform each repetition in perfect form. This is very important. You want to work the muscles, not hurt yourself. If you’re using proper form, you shouldn’t feel pain in your joints.
If you do, decrease the weight or increase the repetitions so that there’s less stress on the joint.
Just like with any other venture in life, you get out of bodybuilding what you put into it. The stronger your mind is, the stronger your body can be. Visualize your muscles growing with each set. This may sound “new-agey” to some, but it works.
If you’re the skeptical type or simply don’t believe in the power of the mind, you’ll have a more difficult time reaching your goals.
Understand that not every workout needs to be a crushing defeat of your own personal record. There is such a thing as over training and you should listen to your body. If you feel very very tired for more than a couple days, if you get sick, or if you’re not recovering between sets, then you need to dial things back.
Whether you’re just starting out, or have been at it for years, you’ll have good and bad days. You’ll be able to complete more reps than usual, or you might feel like you can’t complete the same number of reps as usual. You won’t always feel strong. These things happen.
Just keep at it.
In the next chapter, we’ll discuss how to prepare your body for the rigors of a competition.
Olympic weightlifters typically have huge legs and backs thanks to the amount of squats and deadlifts in their training. Olympic lifters place a great emphasis on cleans, snatches, and overhead lifts as opposed to exercises like leg presses and most forms of bench pressing. Power lifters are similar to olympic lifters in that they focus mainly on three lifts: the squat, deadlift, and bench press. Many power lifters will also do most of the same assistance work as olympic lifters, such as overhead presses, dips, and cleans.
Bodybuilders tend to focus on the bench press for their upper body work, with a variety of other exercises for the legs. Many bodybuilders also incorporate cardio on a regular basis.
Many different types of programs exist and all can achieve results. Always remember that in weightlifting, as with anything else, what matters most is your desire to be the best you can be.
Chapter 4: Preparing for a Show
“Luck is always involved when it comes to injury and recovery, but patience and knowledge can help make things a lot less dicey.”
– John “Muscle Mountain” Milner
There are two types of weightlifting competitions that you can enter: Olympic lifting and Power lifting. Both consist of the big three lifts (the snatch, clean and jerk, and the squat) and bench press. Power lifting has the same three competition lifts, but the squat is the only lift in one competition whereas Olympic lifters do two separate knee bends, one for each thigh.
Olympic lifting competitions are broken down by weight class, age group, and gender. Power lifting competitions can be broken down by weight class and age group (such as teen, open, masters). Some power lifting competitions such as the Arnold Schwarzenegger Power Lift also offer a mixed competition, which consists of both power lifters and Olympic lifters competing together.
To qualify for any of these types of competitions you first have to enter online and pay a fee. The qualifying totals are set by the national governing body for that sport, in the United States this is USA Weightlifting. The women’s weight classes are different from the men’s weight classes because women are typically weaker than men. There are seven different weight classes in which women compete in: 45 kg, 48 kg, 53 kg, 58 kg, 63 kg, 69 kg, and 75 kg.
The men’s weight classes are similar except they have eight: 50 kg, 55 kg, 60 kg, 67.5 kg, 75 kg, 82.5 kg, 90 kg, and 100+ kg. The lower the number, the heavier the weight class. In both the men’s and women’s competitions, the lowest weight class in which you can enter depends on your height.
For weightlifting there are certain ages that an athlete must be in order to compete in certain weight classes. Different organizations have different age limits, so it is important to check the rules of the specific organization you wish to compete in.
While the rules of each organization are different, USA Weightlifting is a good example of what to expect. In this organization athletes must be 15 years of age or older in order to compete in any division (except for the 17 & Under Division). They must also, according to their height and weight, qualify by achieving a certain total in their best snatch, clean & jerk, and squat from the floor in competition form. These totals differ for each weight class and age group.
When you register for a competition online it will ask for your name, contact information, and the weight class and division in which you wish to compete in.
Most of these weight classes are gender and age specific. For example, a 20 year old man would compete in the 20-23 Junior (or under 23 years of age) weight class if he weighs between 165-199 lbs. In the Senior (or 23 years of age or older) division he would compete in the 23-33 weight class if he weighs between 165-199 lbs.
Once you have registered, depending on the competition it may be a few months before it actually takes place. During this time you should begin to increase the intensity of your training and work on increasing your total. You should also try to lose as much body fat as possible without sacrificing muscle mass.
One month before the competition you should begin cutting your daily calories as well as carbs. This will allow you to lose that extra weight while maintaining as much muscle as possible. It is important that you stay as hydrated as possible during this time and continue to strength train according to your routine.
The week before the competition you should stop strength training all together, this will help to peak your strength for the competition day. You should continue to cut your calories and carbs down as low as you possibly can while still maintaining your energy and not feel weak. On the week before the competition you should be as prepared as you are going to be.
The day of the competition is what all this hard work has been for. You should eat a large breakfast with complex carbs, then have plenty of hydrating drinks with you throughout the day. It is important that you don’t miss any weight classes, as competitors who don’t make weight receive a large penalty. In the competition you should give everything you have and make each lift.
Even if you fail to complete some lifts, this experience will better prepare you for future competitions.
Good luck and train hard!
Aly says thanks and leaves you to your own devices as you start to gather your things. You think about where you should go from here and make a note of some of the more important things you’ll need to do.
You decide that the first thing you should do is talk with your mom about nutrition since you’re going to have to cut your food intake down for a while. You explain to her that you need to go on a diet, but don’t say why. She’s very supportive of course and helps you come up with a meal plan that doesn’t include very many calories but the right kinds of nutrients. You also ask if she can help you work out a grocery list of what to buy so you can have everything ready for the week.
You tell her that since you’ll be at school all day tomorrow, you can do the shopping then.
You spend the rest of the day and all of the next day completing your schoolwork for the week so you don’t have to worry about it during the competition. You also go through your clothes and pick out exactly what you’ll need for the competition and pack them in your bag. Since you’re going to be away from home you also decide to wash and iron your clothes so you don’t come back with anything embarrassing. Finally, you decide to spend some time playing your instrument since you won’t be able to while you’re there.
Your mom has everything ready for you by the time you wake up the morning of the second day so all you have to do is eat and then leave. The drive is mostly quiet, though it gives you time to think about what exactly you’re going to be doing. You’ve never been very athletic and the only time you every really exert yourself is during karate class. You’re a little anxious about this, but also confident that you’ll be able to do it.
You’re certainly aiming to do so at least.
When you arrive at the competition there’s a lot of cars in the parking lot and people moving in and out of the building with a sense of urgency.
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Extending extreme programming user stories to meet ISO 9001 formality requirements by M Qasaimeh, A Abran – Journal of Software Engineering and …, 2011 – scirp.org