A 17 year old girl, fitness enthusiast and dedicated Olympic style weightlifter, Powerlifter, and non-competitive Irish dancer. I'm determined to live a healthy lifestyle and take care of my body whilst influencing other young people to do so. I never doubt my ability to achieve something; I just change what I'm doing until I succeed.
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I'm back with another post! Had this one written down for around a year now. In this post I am going to explain the standard structure of an Olympic Weightlifting competition, however some of these steps may alter based upon the level of the competition (E.g. There may be drug testing procedures or a competition such as the British Championships may be more strictly structured).
So you're looking for a competition to enter, it may be your first competition or the first one you have entered in a while. So you either enter a local friendly 'inter-club' or an 'open' competition, that won't allow you to set any records. Either that, or you enter a competition that is on British Weightlifting's website that usually requires a qualification total (depending upon the tier of the competition). Here is a link to enter these competitions, the tiers are explained on the website.
Asides from paying to enter the competition, well done: you actually showed up! Smaller competitions may ask for payment on the door or no payment at all. Larger competitions are often going to have a check in process where all lifters and coaches are registered and given an ID lanyard to wear throughout the day. Whereas, a smaller competition is more likely to check you're in attendance when you are weighed in.
It is likely that when you entered the competition online that you had to provide a body weight category. Hopefully, you provided a realistic and achievable weight-category as if you don't fit into the category, more than likely you will be asked to lift as a guest lifter. Being a guest lifter means that you cannot place within the competition and you cannot set any records or qualify for any future competitions through the total you tried to achieve in the competition. Don't worry if you don't weigh correctly in the category by a fraction of an amount (I'm talking around about 0.1kg), the weigh-in lasts for an hour which will give you time to reweigh in and lose or put on the weight. In this the lifter must also provide their first two opening weights for the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk. The table I have made shows an example of what information will be on any projected screens before a lifter has lifted.
Eat up or observe
More than often, I'm in the first group on the platform because I'm either the youngest in an Under 23 years competition or the lightest as an under 49 kilogram lifter. The few times I have been in the last group on the platform are in mixed school-year and sixth form competitions.
There are pretty much two choices before you have to warm-up (depending on when you're lifting). The way I view it is you either eat up (since you need some fuel before lifting or you're starving from having to ensure you are in the correct weight category) or you observe (sit back, relax and watch the first few groups). I speak from experience when I say that you must bring lots of food to a Weightlifting competition. My first competition was a small development friendly comp and I'm pretty confident that I devoured an entire tin of Foxes biscuits before lifting... Not good, but from an 8 year old's perspective, I was pretty happy. Food is almost as essential as making sure you've got the correct gear to lift in. My go to list of food to take to a competition would be:
Top tip: Drink lots of water, but don't forget to wee. You might be just about to complete your last heavy lift in a tight singlet. Put them together and you've got yourself a bad scenario...
From my past experiences in competitions, people have entered the warm-up room 10 minutes before the last group has finished lifting. Nowadays, I'm confident that most competitions will follow a timed schedule for when each group should enter the warm-up room. It is best to have a coach or someone who is familiar with the stresses of being in the warm-up room. Hopefully, your competition will have many platforms but it is often that you will be sharing a platform anyways, increasing your likelihood of making new friends (or enemies if that's what you prefer...). Warm-up rooms (no matter the size) are going to be sweaty and cramped in certain areas (E.g. right next to the entrance to the main platform).
My coach has always given me the freedom to warm myself up in a variety of ways. Previously, I would foam roll or complete exercises that involve jogging, jumping or running and then get stuck straight into warming up on the bar. But more frequently, I have found methods that suit me better. Here is my structured warm-up for most of my workouts and competitions:
I'd like to keep this as short and simple as possible. It's lift off time! By now, your group should have been introduced to the audience. Everyone will receive six attempts (three attempts for the Snatch and three attempts for the Clean and Jerk). The lifter who is lifting the lowest amount of weight will lift first. Hopefully there will be somebody else lifting a similar weight to them, if not this lifter will continually be on the platform after themselves, but they will receive 2 minutes to recover.
I'll try and explain this a bit better. Lifter A is starting on 12kg and then aims to lift 13kg for their second lift. If Lifter B is lifting 13kg, then Lifter A will receive a better recovery since Lifter B will be on the platform before Lifter A's second attempt.
If a lift is failed, a lifter will receive another attempt (They can stick at the same weight they failed at or increase). If a lifter fails all three attempts within one of the lift types, they will be cancelled out of the competition and will not place. If a lift is failed, it is usually marked in red upon a spreadsheet and red lights will be shown visually by the referees. Again, if the lift is a good lift, this will show as a white light or a green marking on a spreadsheet.
I'd say that it is especially important within a large competition to keep track of when you are lifting. There have been times where I have been unable to hear my name being called (due to such a busy competition) and I have been timed out for not lifting on the platform within the timed minute.
Depending upon the competition type, technique points may be measured. For example, within a Youth or Development competition (School children under the age of 13). I have explained this more in depth within another blog post.
Its pretty common now that if the competition isn't large or isn't going to be running for more than 8 hours, that most lifters are made to wait and watch the other lifters before receiving their awards. This is nice since it shows a bit of sportsmanship involving everyone watching and clapping for each other. Otherwise, within larger competitions, the awards ceremony for each group is done straight after the group has finished lifting.
This is how your place in the competition is usually ranked:
Thank you for reading this post. I know I have written posts that are similar to this in the past, but I figured it would be nice to put all the information together.