Olympic Weightlifting Warmup Practice

EDIT: This post has been discussed on Mark Rippetoe’s Strength Mill here and the Functionally Fitness forum here.

In preparation for this weekend’s Yorkshire North East Open Olympic Weightlifting competition I mentioned the other week, I had a personal training session with Mark Beck my Crossfit coach on Sunday. The main aims were:

  • Practice and time the warm up lifts, so that I know when to start warming up.
  • Work up to my Personal Best lifts.

This is the video highlights of the session, not every lift is shown, mostly due to forgetting to start the camera! (Let me know what you think of the caption format I’ve used, I’m not convinced myself.)

There are 2 things to balance during the warm-up lifts, first is timing. If you warm up too soon, you are then left waiting for your opening lift and can come off the boil as it were. Of course if you leave it too late to start, you may not be ready to lift your opening weight. It took me about 20 minutes to get to my PB weight of 70kg on the Snatch, though there was some faffing about in that time with the camera.

The second point to consider is how many warm up lifts you do. You need to do enough to be “warmed up” of course, but not so many that you are tired before you even start your first competition lift. How much is enough is it seems, mostly down to personal preference. In addition, there is the question of whether you warm up with your opening lift weight or not?

After much discussion with Mark, I’ve decided not to. Partly that’s because I intend on opening with my personal best snatch of 70kg. That is probably not normally recommended, however I’ve been focusing hard on my technique and on making a 70kg Snatch a routine lift. As you saw I dropped the first one so I’m not quite there, but I do get it 75% of the time at the moment. Then anything after that is all PB territory. With a lift every 2 minutes or so, I plan my 15 – 20 minute Snatch warm up to be:

  • Bergner style warm up with bar – 5 minutes
  • 3 x 50kg (all as singles)
  • 2 x 60kg
  • 2 x 65kg

Obviously warming up for the clean and jerk is more about getting used to the weight and the movements rather than actually warming up your body, so there’s no bar work at the start. Again, I intend on opening with my PB weight of 90kg but will not lift that in the warm up (Clean only PB is 100kg). Here the danger of over fatigue is highest, especially as I will have just done 3 max weight Snatches. So I plan my 15 minute C&J warmup to be:

  • 3 x 50kg (all as singles)
  • 2 x 70kg
  • 1 x 80kg
  • 1 x 85kg

As the Yorkshire Open Masters is an official BWLA competition, there’s an outside chance that this competition will see me qualify for the British Masters Championships in March 2009. I need a total weight (from my 2 best lifts) of 175kg. As you can see, adding my current PB’s of 70 and 90 together only sees me at 160, so I need to find another 15kg combined. Here’s the plan, assuming I get all 6 lifts:

  • Snatch 1 – 70kg
  • Snatch 2 – 74kg
  • Snatch 3 – 77kg
  • Clean & Jerk 1 – 90kg
  • Clean & Jerk 2 – 94kg
  • Clean & Jerk 3 – 98kg

77 + 98 would give me the 175 total I need to qualify, however increasing my PB’s by 10% each would be a good day indeed!

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • chris 25 November 2008, 1:49 pm

    solid lifting Col, nice work.

    I like the caption style, maybe worth freeze framing the action as it is difficult to watch the lift (and check form etc) when it is moving across the screen.

    Good luck for Saturday 🙂

  • Colin McNulty 25 November 2008, 9:14 pm

    Cheers Chris. I’ll have to see if I can work out how to do that. I tried to get it so nothing was going on whilst the caption was up, but that wasn’t always possible.

  • random 26 November 2008, 6:32 pm

    Hey, nice work.
    Re: the caption style: the changing screen gets annoying after awhile. i’d just put the caption up over top of the vid and take it down before you start the lift (just like you take the caption down and resize the vid before you start each lift).

  • mattpalozola 27 November 2008, 8:06 pm

    your miss on the 70kg snatch wasn’t becasue of active shouders or lack there of. You didn’t turn the bar over hard enough and your really need to pull yourself under th bar not just drop under it. 2nd attempt was solid. Just an observation.

    Train hard, Train Smart

  • Colin McNulty 27 November 2008, 8:41 pm

    Thanks for the observation Matt. I wonder if it’s the same thing though? I know when I lifted the 2nd 70kg snatch, I made a conscious effort to shove my shoulders up hard as I got under the bar. Watching the video again though, you are right that in the 2nd snatch I faster getting under the bar.

    It may well be the case that doing one, automatically does the other. By pushing my shoulders up, I am also pushing myself under the bar and not just dropping, as you observe. The result is effectively pulling myself under faster. What do you think?

  • Jane Holgate 28 November 2008, 2:10 pm

    Hi Colin

    Good luck on Saturday mate – I am sure you and all the others will do CFM proud – but mostly importantly I hope you enjoy yourself.

    Jane x

  • Colin McNulty 28 November 2008, 10:38 pm

    Cheers Jane. I thought you were coming?

  • Jane Holgate 29 November 2008, 10:45 pm

    Was planning to, but had no one to look after the dog! How did you get on?

  • Colin McNulty 30 November 2008, 6:48 am

    Not as well as I’d hoped. Will post an update soon.

  • Jamie 21 December 2008, 3:53 am

    Good luck qualifying, when is the next meet?

    Personally, ( IMO ) I view warm ups a little different. I would consider prepping your body for speed. The strength will be there when needed. I would power snatch a few at 50%, get some drop snatches in, do a couple from the high hang to build speed under the bar at 80% then a couple full snatches -5kg from your opener.

    During the clean and Jerk. You should still be warmed up from the snatch. So only a few are required to get you to the platform.

  • Akef 19 May 2012, 8:55 am

    I think its depened on what the weihgtlefter have acheeved in the training befor 2 weeks from the main compition, he must lift the seconed attempt 2 or 3 times and his last attempt ones.
    In his warm up he must finsh his warm up with -(10 – 12Kg) from his seconed lift

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