What does weightlifting competition prep look like?

My friends have lately become accustomed to hearing, “I’m busy that day, I have lifting.” This is because I am ramping up for the Hokkaido Cup, a weightlifting meet on Feb 1, so I can’t miss a single training session!

Usually as we prepare for a meet, we would cut out conditioning (i.e., Crossfit) about a month out because we want to use all our time and energy either for lifting or for resting and recovering our poor little big muscles. But because we also have some Crossfit competitions coming up shortly after, we are keeping up with our conditioning until two weeks out. So, here’s what my training looks like:

Week 1: 5 lifting sessions, 2 Crossfit classes
Week 2: 4 lifting sessions, 2 Crossfit classes
Week 3: 4 lifting sessions
Week 4: 3 lifting sessions (the last of which is very easy), and the competition!

As the weeks go on, we do fewer but heavier repetitions. Some days we do snatches and front squats. Other days we do clean & jerks and back squats. Sometimes we do both. Sometimes we use blocks or practise tall or dip drills. Some days have overhead squats, drop snatches, or jerks from the rack.

Photos from today's overhead squat training. From the shoulders, up above the head, squat all the way down to full depth, stand it back up.

Photos from today’s overhead squat training. From the shoulders, up above the head, squat all the way down to full depth, stand it back up.

Some people cut weight during the lead-up to a competition. This doesn’t interest me, but for the last two competitions I did, I fasted until after weigh-in on competition day, and stopped drinking water at 5pm the night before. This cuts alone cuts about 2-3kg of mass for me, but also makes me feel grumpy and dizzy rather than pumped and ready for the day. I also really don’t need to cut to meet my weight class, as I want to compete in the 63kg weight class, and when I weight myself (during lifting, so at night and with clothes on) I’m about 63.5kg. Also, from my last competition I learned never to weight less than I need to, so I think without fasting I can still be 62.99kg or lower.

For me, one of the most challenging aspects of contest prep is sticking to the programming. On days when the loading is light, say, only up to 80% of our maxes, I just want to go heavier! And later, as our volume decreases to only about 30 or 40 reps in a session, I just want to lift more reps! But I need to remind myself that leading up to the day of the meet, I’m supposed to feel as if I have more in me than my program asked for. There’s no point banging out a PR on Tuesday during Week 3… save it for the big day.

Another challenge for me is not to escalate the consequences of missed reps. The other day I failed at 90% of my clean, and freaked out about how I wanted to OPEN at 90%! If I’m not even able to hit 90%, then how the heck am I supposed to hit my 100% or PR at the meet! All is lost! I’ll never be ready! It’s easier said than done, but I am working on trusting the programming to do what it is designed to do, and have me ready to hit that 100% at the meet. You can’t peak every day!

One of the best parts of contest prep is all the time you have during the tapering of weeks 3 and 4. Running errands? On a week night? Don’t mind if I do!

I’m really looking forward to Hokkaido. Our lifting team has been growing lately, and we will have two lifters who will be competing for the first time. I also think it’s a realistic goal for me to total 110kg  which would be enough to move me out of the Novice category and into a Canadian classification! Ah, but let’s not get carried away. We’re still in week 1 and there’s much work to be done!

Snatch records as of Jan 10
Best at a meet: 41kg
Best in practice: 43kg
Goal: 45kg

Clean & Jerk records as of Jan 10
Best at a meet: 57kg
Best in practice: 63kg
Goal: 65kg

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2 thoughts on “What does weightlifting competition prep look like?

  1. Interesting post Lisa! Can’t wait to hear about your progress and the meet! – Moni

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