Structuring a Warm-Up at a Meet

Warm Up Attempts at a Meet

All of the hard work that has been put in during a training cycle comes down to six lifts at a meet. That is what makes the sport of Weightlifting equally beautiful and painful. Athletes train so hard, and coaches do everything they can to make sure the athlete is ready to compete, but six attempts is all you get to show the work you have put in. When meet day rolls around, it is important that coaches come in with a game plan to have the athlete warmed up in a timely fashion and ready to step onto the platform.

 How are Warm-ups Structured?

The answer to this is different for all lifters based on skill level. A beginner will most likely open up with something between 85-90%. This is a weight that they should feel comfortable hitting on any given day. More advanced athletes who are competing at a higher level of competition may be required to open up at something a bit higher based on what the rest of the field looks like. Regardless of experience, the basic structure of a warm-up is to have an athlete start at a lower weight and slowly progress upward as their opening attempt approaches. Often times the warm-up is set up the same way that someone would progress during a training session (e.g. bar, 40kg, 50kg, 60kg, 65kg, ect.). Another option would be to follow a percentage based warm-up. This method can get tricky with a more experienced athlete with higher numbers. Remember a 5% jump for someone with an 80kg snatch is only a 4kg jump, but a 5% jump for someone with a 150kg snatch is a 7-8kg jump. Both methods are effective but be sure to look at what kind of athlete you are working with before you select one. We will provide an example of what a basic warm-up sheet looks like below.

In a perfect world an athlete would take warm-ups every two to three minutes and would step onto the platform with three to four minutes rest (depending on whether it is the snatch or clean & jerk) between their final warm-up and their opening attempt. Unfortunately most meets don’t go according to plan. Misses happen, athletes change their attempts, and external factors can throw off the timing. This is where the athlete needs to be flexible and to listen to what their coach is telling them and nothing more.

The Role of a Coach and Athlete

The job of the athlete is simply to lift. If the coach says to lift and it’s only been a minute since the last warm-up, they must get up without question and do it. On the flipside, if the meet slows down and athletes have to take multiple attempts at the same weight they must do so without question. Athletes need to execute and in order to do that most efficiently, their physical and mental power must be solely directed towards the weight on the bar and how they are going to move it successfully.

The job of the coach is to allow their athlete to focus only on lifting. They must be sure to accurately track the attempts that are ahead of the athlete and keep them loose and ready to go. The most important thing for coaches to remember is to stay calm and collected. As stated above, meets don’t always go according to plan and the last thing a coach should do is let their athlete see them flustered. The coach’s emotions will be felt and can drastically affect the athlete. Panic has no place in a warm-up room. If a coach makes a mistake, they must make the adjustment and keep the appearance of control and positivity.

At the end of the day, competition is supposed to be fun. With a properly structured warm-up an athlete should approach the weight on the platform feeling ready to go out and have a blast. Through the ebb and flow of a meet it is important that both the coach and athlete stick to their roles in order to ensure the best chance at success.