While I am preparing to coach a few lifters at The Singapore National Open Weightlifting Championship, I thought it would be a great time to talk about what an Olympic Weightlifting meet is like, why you should compete, and how to prepare for your first competition.
The best way for testing your abilities and measuring your improvement is to compete. In another post I’ll discuss competition frequency, but for this article, I want to discuss why you should compete, and what your first Weightlifting competition will be like. Weightlifting competitions is an event that takes place on a 4-by-4 meter platform (the big stage) and each lifter has 6 attempts total in the Snatch and Clean & jerk (three attempts for each lift) to lift as much weight as they possibly can in that moment and time. In a competition, whoever lifts the most wins.
What you’ll need
Singlet: a one-piece uniform for all competitors to wear, and are required in official competitions. There are some retailers that ship to Hong Kong, but I suggest you buy in a group, or else shipping will be extremely high.
Weightlifting Shoes: They provide more stability than a regular shoe, have minimal sole compression, and have a raised heel to assist in the bottom positions of the lifts. Good suppliers in Hong Kong are Whatever It Takes HK, Sport Direct (Jordan), and online at Wiggle (online retailer with free shipping to HK).
If the competition is sanctioned, meaning by your national governing body (i.e. Singapore Weightlifting, or Hong Kong Weightlifting and Powerlifting Association, etc) an Athlete Identification Card will be needed to compete. Since no competition in Hong Kong has yet to be sanctioned by its governing body, you won’t need to worry about this part, however, I encourage all of you to contact the HKWPA and urge them to take more interest in Olympic Weightlifting education, promotion, development, access, and competitions.
Hong Kong Weightlifting & Powerlifting Association
Olympic House, Room 1005
1, Stadium Path, So Kon Po, Causeway Bay
President, CHAN Pun David
Gen. Secretary, Dr. YIP
Telephone: +852 2504 8193
E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Year of Foundation: 1954
Year of Affiliation: 1954
In competitions, athletes are organized by age and weight categories.
|17 and under||18-20||21-34||35 and above|
Competition age is based on the athlete’s birth year. Determine your age on December 31, and that is your competition age for that year. Example for 2018: An athlete born in 1997 has a competition age of 21 and is a Senior athlete.
Male Weight Categories:
|50 kg*||56 kg||62 kg||69 kg||77 kg||85 kg||94 kg||105 kg||105+ kg|
|110 lbs*||123 lbs||136 lbs||152 lbs||169 lbs||187 lbs||207 lbs||231 lbs||231+ lbs|
Female Weight Categories:
|44 kg*||48 kg||53 kg||58 kg||63 kg||69 kg||75 kg||75+ kg|
|97 lbs*||105 lbs||116 lbs||127 lbs||138 lbs||152 lbs||165 lbs||165+ lbs|
*indicates a weight class only available to youth athletes
You need to weigh-in at or below your weight class. If you are a male who weighs-in at 84.9kg, you will be in the 85kg weight class. If you weigh-in at 85.1kg, you will be in the 94kg weight class.
With a wide grip, the bar is pulled in one explosive motion from the floor to full arm’s length overhead. Press-outs (catching with bent arms, and extending them to reach lockout) will get you red lights.
The Clean and Jerk (C&J)
With a narrow grip (similar grip to the conventional deadlift), the bar is also lifted to full arm’s length overhead. Even though it is considered one event, the C&J is a two-part lift that must be completed one immediately after the other. In the clean, the bar is raised (pulled) from the floor to the shoulders.
The second part of the C&J, the jerk, consists of bending the legs and then extending both the arms and the legs to bring the bar to full arm’s length over the head.
Biggest things to watch out for are again press-outs and uneven foot placement at the finish of the lift.
A weigh-in happens 2 hours before the start of a competition and lasts one hour.
The official start of a competition is introductions but many local events don’t do this. They simply call the first lifter at the allotted time.
The competition starts with the Snatch, a 10-minute break, then the C&J competition. At international events, except the Olympics, they have considered different competitions but the best Snatch and best C&J of each competitor are added together for a Total. The athlete with the biggest total wins.
Each lifter gets 3 attempts in each lift. And must complete at least one successfully in order to post a total.
The order of lifting is progressive which means once weight goes on the bar it doesn’t come off. Lifters are called in order based on the weight they want and attempt number. If you miss an attempt, your options are to either repeat at the same weight, or go up – there is no going down in weight! For this reason, choose your attempts wisely. Again, for the first, go for a weight you know you can get. For the second, you’ll do something challenging, around your current best. For the third, if you didn’t go for a PR on your second, go for broke here. General guidelines, and when you’re contending for a medal, these rules may very well go out the window.
The last thing is that the sport is conducted in Kilograms.
Do I have to be an experienced weightlifter in order to compete?
No, you can compete as a beginner as soon as you feel ready. You’ll see a huge range of abilities at any weightlifting meet. The competition is more between you and the weight on the bar than it is with the athletes around you. Discuss this more with your coach, I’m sure he/she will encourage you to compete as soon as you can.
I’ve coached Weightlifters in competition since 2012, and I’ve seen so many lifters hit big lifts, and come away with a huge sense of accomplishment. I have dedicated my life to weightlifting as an athlete and coach, and with our Hong Kong Weightlifting barbell club and awesome members, I want us to contribute to Weightlifting so that we can raise awareness about the sport in Hong Kong.
For all the above reasons, we’ll be hosting and supporting more Olympic weightlifting competitions this year:
- HKWL Spring In-house Competition, 24 March 2018 (HKWL members only)
- Vanguard Lift-Off Series 2, 14 April 2018
- HKWL Summer Open, 19 May 2018 (Everyone welcome!)
- HKWL Fall Open, TBD
- HKWL Winter Open, TBD
We will also support competitions from other organizations in other countries (ie. Malaysia – Vanguard Weightlifting).
I encourage everyone interested to compete – please email me at email@example.com with comments and questions!