Warm-up in a competition environment

A general view of a competition warm-up for the Snatch is as follows:

  • 2-3 sets with just a bar
  • 3 sets of 3 reps 40%, 50%, 60%
  • 3 sets of 2 reps, 70%, 75%, 80%
  • 3 singles at 84%, 87%, 90%

For the Clean & Jerk warm-up, the pattern might be:

  • 1 sets with just a bar (athlete is already warmed up)
  • 2 sets of 3 reps 40%, 50%,
  • 3 sets of 2 reps, 60%, 70%, 75%,
  • 3 singles at 80%, 85%, 90%

So there is often a small difference between the warm-ups for the Snatch and Clean & Jerk, and this is to slightly reduce the number of warm-up lifts in the range 80-90% in the Clean & Jerk.

In both the Snatch and Clean and Jerk, the first competition lift will be about 93-94%, second around 97-99% and third around 100% -102%. Much depends on the form of the lifter going into the competition, how they warm-up on the day and whether is any actual competition with another competitor.

The above percentages do not necessarily apply when an athlete is making rapid progress in training, or is not in their best form.

Athletes need to become familiar with the pattern of sets, reps and weights in their warm-up, and where possible to have practised their warm-up in the lead up to a competition. Think, for example, that a warm up consists several sets on an empty bar, followed by 3 triples, 3 doubles and 3 singles. It is interesting to note also that, in general, you will perform 3 singles in the warm-up room and 3 singles on the platform. You can see why consistency is important!

If an athlete has a trusted coach, there is not much sense in athletes worrying about making decisions about starting weights, or 2nd and 3rd attempts for that matter. In fact, it is a good idea for athletes not to be distracted by how much they are going to lift on the platform. In Weightlifting, the task of the athlete is to lift the barbell, irrespective of whatever weight it is. This might seem absurd but it is not, because it is the responsibility of the coach to only call weights for the athlete that are within their capability. So if you have a trusted coach, you should realise that every weight that your coach calls for you has been judged to be within your capability. Coaches will make their call based on the experience,  capability and form of the athlete, but there is an overarching objective to ensure the long-term development of the athlete’s confidence on  the platform, as opposed to weight choices that might reasonably be described as “rushes of blood to the head”. It is not by accident that good lifters “come through with the goods”, time after time, in moments of competition pressure. They have practised success, not failure, in both training and competition.

Leo Isaac