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My First Weightlifting Meet

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Recently, coach Chris stepped way outside of his comfort zone and participated in his first weightlifting meet. When we say we are weight lifters, many people think of the sport of powerlifting. This includes the bench, squat and deadlift. The sport of weightlifting is the best of three attempts of your snatch and clean and jerk. Finishing with a combined “total’’ between the two. Everything starts with a weigh-in two hours prior to the first lift on the platform. The weight classes range from 55kg (121 lbs) - 109kg + (239.8 lbs and up) for the men and 45kg (99 lbs) - 87kg + (191.4 lbs and up) for the women.

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Once weight is put on the bar it cannot be taken off. If you declare a lift you must attempt it. Something Chris will go over as far as the mental aspect to the meet. Snatch is always first with each lifter being allowed three attempts followed by three attempts of the clean and jerk. After it is all said and done, as long as you make at least one snatch and one clean and jerk, you’re left with a total. This total is the combination of your best snatch and best clean and jerk. For instance if you snatch 100 kg and clean and jerk 125 kg, your total is 225 kg.

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Congratulations you’ve taken a crash course in weightlifting. There are MANY more aspects that go into warm ups, attempts and working with the lifting order, but that’s left for another post. For now, as you’ll read below is Chris’ account of his first meet. Enjoy!

My First Meet

Alright so I know what you’re thinking, I signed up well prepared, trained and totally focused for this meet. You would be wrong, I signed up for this meet pretty close to the deadline. After years of watching others, it was my turn to take part.

I had previously told a couple of members that if they signed up for Kegs and Kilos I would sign up for a meet myself. Kegs and Kilos is our premier weightlifting meet held in a brewery (It’s awesome). So let’s talk about what to expect and what it’s like.

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Things pre meet, your opening numbers. This is your first snatch and clean and jerk you plan on lifting for your first attempt (in kilos!). There is a science to this. Warm up percentages and timing play a big role. My wife, who has done many meets, loves the sport and is very thorough with planning, gave me a hard time for my wing it approach to planning. You should talk to your coach and discuss what your jumps in weight should be. Having a good idea on what is going on and where you are in your warm up lifts is imperative for your success on the platform.

NERVES… for real. I am pretty comfortable lifting and competing but THIS is different. If you are like me and don’t snatch and clean and jerk often, the movements take time to refine and doing this a couple weeks before is not a great strategy. Couple this with the fact that you’re in a snug singlet, something that can take some time to get used to and you’ve got a recipe for some serious butterflies in your gut. I remember walking up to the bar for my first lift, a lift I had hit literally minutes ago and feeling doubt and hesitation creep in. In my head I hear hips down, chest up, tight grip,drive with the legs, finish your pull, lock out, don’t drop the bar before you get the down call. It’s a lot but the second your hands hit the bar it’s business as usual. You know what to do and how to do it. Is it perfect? Most likely no. Does it matter? Very little.

Okay, the first lift went well and felt pretty good. Oh, I need to write my next number down? Where? How much should I go up? Where do I sign? Where do I sit? This is why I recommend a smaller meet, it’s more personal and a lot less intense. Having professionals there like Jarrett and Sean also helps. It is second nature for them so I just asked them and did what they said. It turned out pretty well only missing last snatch because I bent my elbow. Yes, I got the bar overhead and made the lift, but one of the major rules in weightlifting is you must catch and receive the bar with the elbows locked out. Mine were slightly bent on the catch, so therefore it was a “no lift”.

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Before you know it snatches are done and on to clean and jerk, it goes the same only now you get settled in, it’s fun, you are lifting with friends, you are all there supporting each other, maybe you request a song in my case I went Biggy, Taylor Swift , and Aqua’s classic “Barbie Girl”, because why not.

Just like that, it’s over. You got uncomfortable, you have a new experience, new friends and maybe you qualify for something. Who knows? But I guarantee you won’t regret it!

Well Chris did you win? No I didn’t but at the same time yes I did. I kept my word to my friends, I got a great experience, got a new perspective on what so many of you have done and it’s awesome! In summary sign up, don’t overthink it, get uncomfortable and HAVE FUN!

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