Friday, August 22, 2008

How To: Watching Weightlifting

With all the Olympic coverage available on-line (I suggest, there is now plenty of opportunity to view some top-notch weightlifting from the comfort of your own home. Here are a few of the finer points of the contest:

1) The lifters will start with the Snatch. The bar starts at the lowest requested weight. The weight of the bar only goes up, never down. Lifters get 3 attempts at any weight they want, but remember, the bar only moves up in weight. If 2 lifters request the same weight, 1st attempts go before 2nds, and 2nd attempts come before 3rds.

2) The lifter gets one minute to start the lift from the time their name is announced. If a lifter has to follow himself, due to an increase of weight that nobody else is taking or another attempt at a failed weight, they are allowed 2 minutes to start the lift. Following yourself sucks when dealing with maximal loading (more rest is better), so often times lifters will try to 'force' one another into following themselves by changing their requested weight.

I.E. Adrian just missed 100kg.

Kelly is slated to attempt 100kg and therefore lift immediately after Adrian, but instead changes his request to 101kg.

Because the bar only goes up in weight, Adrian must either follow himself at 100kg, or request a new weight that is heavier than the weight he just failed at. In addition, Kelly may get more time to rest while Adrian lifts again, if Adrian chooses to follow himself. Bastard!

3)If any other part of the body is in contact with the ground other than the feet, it is a no-lift. If the elbows contact the leg in the Clean and Jerk, it is a no lift. If the arms bend and lock-out, or press out to the locked out position (instead of locking out in one swift motion), it is a no lift. When a lift is completed, there are 3 dots that will be shown below the attempted weight on your TV. Each dot represents one judge.

3 whites=Good

2 or more reds=No-lift

The rules above are primarily for safety and are often criticized in high-level competition for being too subjective (especially the press-out rule).

Personally, I feel that if the weight makes it overhead, it should be a good lift...pressing out a heavy jerk or snatch doesn't make it any easier!

4)The Clean and Jerk comes next. Lifters again get 3 attempts. In both lifts, the heaviest completed lift is recorded. Both numbers are added together for a total. If a lifter does not succeed at least once in the Snatch or Clean and Jerk, it is often called 'bombing out' and the lifter will not total. The lifter with the highest total wins the meet. In the event of a tie, the winner is the lighter lifter.

The rules are pretty simple but there is a fair amount of gamesmanship and strategy involved in choosing your weights...How can you maximize your rest, and minimize your opponents while ensuring you aren't bluffing your way to 'bombed-out' session?

It's like a giant game of chicken.
With heavy barbells.

The competitions are usually about 90mins, so it is great to see this unfold over the march of much pressure!

Things to look for:

-Coaches getting more irate/animated than the actual athletes.
-The bait-and-switch bluffing tactics mentioned above
-Coaches who are 1/3 the size of their lifter
-Dudes that pass out after completing a 400+lb Clean and Jerk

What a sport!

So, this weekend when you're at a loss for things to do grab a few cold ones (sparkling water, right?) and fire up the ol' weightlifting contest. You might learn a thing or two and you'll definitely be inspired to go forth and lift heavy things above your head!


Adrian "I'll-take-102kg, Please" Bozman

PS Check out the new adjustable fat handled dumbells we just got. You know it's going to be a good time!


Carmen said...

Couple more important rules -

1. You are not allowed to swear (even if you hit your face with the bar - dammit!). Uttering blasphemy results in a thumbs down.

2. You have to babysit the bar back down past your waist. Judges will rule against you if you just huck the bar back to the ground. Its a safe sport afte rall!

thanks for the great blog guys!

-Canadian Carmen :)

Andy S said...

The pressout rule is there to make the snatch and the jerk different from the clean and press which was the third lift in the Olympics in every game up to 1972. It was removed for safety reasons as most lifters would lean so far back that they looked like standing bench presses putting a huge stress on the back.