Weight Training, Conditioning & Weightlifting

The fundamentals required for most sporting codes include:

1. Speed
2. Stamina
3. Suppleness
4. Skill
5. Strength

Speed is inherent in a person and can maximized through technique and focused exercises.
Stamina (or fitness!) is acquired through distance or high repetition work.
Suppleness (or flexibility!) is acquired through stretching and repetitive exercise.
Skill is acquired through coaching and drills, analysis and review.
Strength is acquired through exercises specifically related to the activity undertaken in the sport.

All five “S’s” are necessary to maximize your potential in your sport.

We are going to focus on the strength (& conditioning) component only and relate it to your specific sport.

It is possible to apply weight exercises to replicate actions applied during your sporting activity. These can be weight bearing (using bars & weights) or bodyweight. Programs can then be developed to incorporate a range of exercises that improve strength and flexibility over a period of weeks & months. These programs should be aligned to other components of the athlete’s program and should also allow for low, medium & heavy sectors of the program.

Numerous exercises are available to an athlete in a weight gym given the appropriate equipment. Core basic strength can be acquired through generic exercises whilst sport specific strength can be acquired through more specific exercises.

Technique is a major factor in making the required progress and also in minimizing risk of injury. Athletes should always try to train in pairs and preferably with an able coach or trainer in attendance.

Weight training exercises will increase flexibility, strength, co-ordination, confidence and general health.

Weight training exercises can be incorporated into sport programs for athletes from as early as 10-12 years of age. Practically this age group must be monitored very closely and the majority of the training must be technique based.

Optimum benefit will be obtained through a carefully managed program of reps & sets & weight. Recovery time and activities (Massage, physio, stretching, etc) is an extremely important component of the overall program also.

Richard Dryden
NZ Olympic Weightlifting Coach
©Richard Dryden 2002

Olympic Weightlifting

As of January 1, 1998, Olympic Weightlifting competitions have been held in 8 bodyweight classes for men and 7 for women. The categories are as follows:
Men – 56kg, 62kg, 69kg, 77kg, 85kg, 94kg, 105kg, 105+kg
Women – 48kg, 53kg, 58kg, 63kg, 69kg, 75kg, 75+kg.

As well as open age competitions, championships are held internationally for juniors (under 20 years) and at national level for youths (under 16 and under 18) and school children.

Competition takes place on platforms four meters square where each athlete attempts two different types of lifts – the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. Each athlete is given three attempts with their highest successful weight on each exercise being added together to make a Total. At the Olympic Games and many international events placings in each bodyweight class are determined solely by these totals. However at World Championships and Commonwealth Games and some other internationals, medals are awarded for each individual discipline.

Lifts are made using a metal barbell approximately 2 meters long (usually called the “bar”) on which metal and rubberized disks are added. The heaviest disks are made of steel with rubber coating to reduce noise and to lessen damage to the platform. These disks are colour coded according to an international convention to aid recognition. The heaviest are 25kg and are red in colour, followed by 20kg (blue), 15kg (yellow) and 10kg (green). Metal disks come in units of 5kg, 2.5kg, and 1.25kg. The load is fixed in place with metal collars which weigh 2.5kg each. Competition weights are always made up of multiples of 2.5kg, although records can be attempted by using smaller disks (0.25 & 0.5kg). Records can be exceeded by 0.5kg.

As with all sports there are detailed technical rules. In weightlifting these are enforced by three referees who adjudicate on each lift by showing on a special display either a red or a white light. A red light for a missed lift or one judged not to be in accordance with the rules and a white light for a valid lift. In the case of a disagreement between the referees the majority opinion prevails. At the highest levels of competition a jury is also used to oversee the three referees and the overall conduct of the competition.

The competitors wear a brief costume designed to allow freedom of movement whilst also providing support. Special weightlifting shoes are used to ensure solid footing and many wear cloth or rubberized (knee/wrists) wrappings to provide warmth and support. Leather belts around the waist are also popular for the same reasons, while a chalk like substance is applied to the hands to prevent the bar slipping from the athlete’s grip.

Richard Dryden
NZ Olympic Weightlifting Coach
©Richard Dryden 2002

Olympic Weightlifting – The Lifts

The SNATCH is one of the fastest movements in all sports. The bar is taken from the ground to full arms length overhead in one single continuous movement. The best performers in the world can lift over double their own bodyweight in this way.

DESCRIPTION: The bar shall be placed horizontally in front of the lifter’s legs. It shall be gripped, palms downwards and pulled in a single movement from the ground to the full extent of both arms vertically above the head, while straightening the legs. The bar shall pass with a continuous movement along the body of which no part other than the feet may touch the ground during the execution of the lift. The weight which has been lifted must be maintained in the final motionless position, the arms and legs extended, the feet on the same line, until the referees signal to replace the bar on the platform. The turning over of the wrists must not take place until the bar has passed the top of the lifter’s head. The lifter may recover in his or her own time from the squat position. The referees signal shall be given as soon as the lifter becomes motionless in all parts of the body.

The CLEAN & JERK allows for even heavier weights to be lifted as it is completed in two stages. The athlete first lifts the bar to the shoulders (usually by employing a squatting motion under the apparatus) – this is called the “clean”- then thrusts (or “jerks”) the bar to full arms length overhead.

DESCRIPTION: 1st part: Clean – The bar shall be placed horizontally in front of the lifter’s legs. It shall be gripped palms downwards and brought in a single movement from the ground to shoulders while bending the legs. The bar must not touch the chest before the final position. It shall then rest on the clavicles or on the chest or on the arms fully bent. The feet shall be returned to the same line, legs straight, before performing the jerk. The lifter may make this recovery in his or her own time.

2nd part: Jerk – Bend the legs and extend them, as well as the arms, so as to bring the bar to full stretch of the arms vertically extended. Return the feet to the same line, arms and legs extended and await the referees signal to replace the bar on the platform. The referees signal shall be given as soon as the lifter becomes absolutely motionless in all parts of the body.

Richard Dryden
NZ Olympic Weightlifting Coach
©Richard Dryden 2002

Richard Dryden

Richard Dryden Olympic Weightlifting Coach Mob 021-762-598 eMail Richard@strengthconditioningcoach.co.nz

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