Choose the Right Weight Class for Olympic Weightlifting

Choose the Right Weight Class for Olympic Weightlifting

In order to become an Olympian you need to have a certain amount of strength. If you are not strong enough then it will be very difficult for you to lift heavy weights. Therefore, if your goal is to compete at the Olympics then you must train hard in order to increase your strength level. You can do so by increasing your body mass or muscle mass.

The best way to build muscle mass is with resistance training such as weightlifting. Resistance training increases the number of calories burned during exercise which helps you burn fat while gaining muscle mass. Muscle tissue requires more energy than fat tissue does and therefore it burns more calories per pound of lean bodymass gained than fat mass gains.

Muscle weighs less than bone and other tissues such as connective tissue, blood vessels, etc. Therefore, you can get stronger without adding extra pounds of muscle mass. However, if you want to improve your performance at the Olympics then it is better to add some additional muscle mass.

Athletes that are competing in weightlifting competitions need to be able to lift heavy weights. A good rule of thumb is that one kilogram (2 lbs) equals 468 grams (1 lb = 0.45 kg). So if you are an athlete that weighs 100 kilograms (220 lbs) then you need to lift at least 100kg (220 lbs) above your head.

This is not an easy thing to do.

The best way to lift heavier weights is by gaining muscle mass and the way to gain muscle mass is by gaining weight. The most efficient way to build muscle mass is through a weightlifting program that increases your lean body mass without increasing your body fat percentage. An increase in lean body mass will help you gain the ability to lift heavier weights.

Maintaining a lower body fat percentage is especially important for weightlifters that compete in the 97 to 105kg (215 to 230 lb) weight class. Since there are not many athletes in this weight class it is a good idea to gain some weight in order to decrease the likelihood that another athlete will be able to outlift you.

If you are a male athlete that competes in the 75 to 82.5kg (165 to 180 lb) weight class then gaining weight is not necessary. In fact, it is better if you maintain your current weight. An increase in body mass could cause you to no longer be classified in this weight class.

If you increase your body mass by more than 8.6% you will move up into the next weight class. A 6.3% to 8.5% increase in body mass will cause you to be re-classified into the next higher weight class and a 0-6.2% increase will not change your current weight classification status.

The following chart shows how much you can increase your body mass based on your current weight class.

MALE WEIGHTLIFTERS: INCREASE IN BODY M Mass of athlete in kg Mass of athlete in lbs Body mass allowed increase 0-82.5 165-180 8.6% of body mass 2.3kg (5lbs) 1.1lbs 82.5-90 180-200 6.3% of body mass 1.8kg (4lbs) 1.2lbs 90-100 200-225 5% of body mass 1.3lbs 58-60 137.5-145 8% of body mass 2.2kg (5lbs) 1.0lb 60-67.5 145-157.5 7% of body mass 1.8kg (4lbs) 0.9lbs 67.5-75 157.5-177.5 5% of body mass 1.4kg (3lbs) 0.7lbs 75-82.5 177.5-190 4.4% of body mass 1.1kg (2.5lbs) 0.7lbs

Choose the Right Weight Class for Olympic Weightlifting - Picture

One concern for female weightlifters is becoming too muscular. The fear that excessive strength training will make you “look like a man” is unfounded because men and women have significantly different levels of the main muscle building hormone, testosterone. In fact, it is possible for women to increase their muscle mass without increasing their testosterone levels at all.

The final and most important step in increasing your ability to lift heavier weights is skill. To get better at lifting heavy weights you must practice, practice, practice! The more you practice lifting the faster you will get at it. The only way to gain this skill is by doing a lot of weightlifting.

You can lift with a coach or by reading a good book on the subject such as Modern Trends in Weightlifting.

Hopefully this information helps you to improve your lifting technique and increase the amount of weight you can lift. Remember that gaining muscle mass without increasing body fat is the best way to improve your ability to lift weights.

Remember to keep checking the blackboard in the weight room for reminders about when contests are coming up. Try to rest as much as you can the week before a contest. Don’t get so nervous that you don’t sleep the night before though! And remember that if you really want to, you can compete in more than one weight class.

Good luck!

Continue to Chapter 9…

Return to Chapter 7 Index

Go to Chapter 9…

Return to The Gymnasium

Sources & references used in this article:

Optimal trajectories of snatch weightlifting for two different weight classes by using genetic algorithm by S Lenjannejadian, M Rostami – 2008 Cairo International …, 2008 – ieeexplore.ieee.org

Quantile foliation for modelling performance across body mass and age in Olympic weightlifting by A Perperoglou, M Huebner – Statistical Modelling, 2020 – journals.sagepub.com

The snatch technique of world class weightlifters at the 1985 world championships by W Baumann, V Gross, K Quade… – Journal of Applied …, 1988 – journals.humankinetics.com

Does lifting weights harm a prepubescent athlete? by G Everett – 2009 – Catalyst Athletics Sunnyvale

Why Steady State Cardio for Fat Loss Is a Bad Decision by G Legwold, I Kummant – The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 1982 – Taylor & Francis

Olympic Weightlifting by T Kelso – breakingmuscle.com

The Courses by CP Form – crossfitlondonuk.com

Ultimate Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide to Barbell Lifts—from Beginner to Gold Medal by C Training, F Weights – leisureopportunities.co.uk