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HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR OPENERS FOR A WEIGHTLIFTING COMPETITION?

Updated: Feb 8

The Opener: Everyone loves to have some kind of set number they want to use for either for themselves or their lifter. The base number I like to use is 92-93% of what their best Snatch is in the previous 3-4wks and 95-96% for Clean & Jerks and go from there. For example if a lifters PR is 105kg but in the past 3-4wks they’ve only hit 100kg I would tell him to give a opener of 92kgs or 93kgs and we will adjust from there depending on warm ups and the other factors that can play a part. The reason I do this is to have something I can always go to and easily adjust, also for my lifters to have an idea on what the plan is. But like I said before there are a number of factors that can play into how I adjust those numbers for both my athletes and my own openers & attempts. Whichever you use will depend on a few things, such as the individual who is competing is the main one. Don’t necessarily rely on the same way for all of your lifters, you may need to do things differently to get the best results for each athlete. Here’s some of these factors.


Recent Maxes: First would be that most likely you’re going to see what you or your lifter is capable of in the 3-4 weeks before the competition. During this period you’re usually in a competition mesocycle, there should be an emphasis on heavy singles in the snatch and clean & jerk. This may not always involve actually testing your maxes in the lifts, but it will be at least in the high 90%s. If your coached by me you will at least test once in those last 4 weeks. How the lifter handles these heavy weights, both in terms of what the weights actually are, and his or her consistency and confidence with these higher weights, will give you a general sense of what the athlete is capable of in competition.

Body Weight: This will depend on the athlete obviously. If they’re cutting weight and how much they’re cutting. Let’s say for example the athlete is a 69kg lifter and trains within 3kgs you shouldn’t have to adjust there openers as there used to training close to there competition weight and within 3kgs is usually water weight and they’ve been eating. If the athlete has to cut anymore then 3kgs you start pushing into sacrificing performance and what you hit in training can’t be expected to be hit in a meet as you’re more than 3kgs lighter and only have 2 hours to refuel yourself after a weigh in, so you have to take that into account when choosing your openers and attempts.


Training Lifter vs. Comp. Lifter: If your lifter is a competition lifter (which means they lift more in competition than in training) which is myself, you’re probably going to aim to beat whatever the athlete did in the gym in the competition phase with the assumption that not only will the athlete be fully peaked for competition, but will be amped up for competition to push even further. In the case of gym lifters (lifters who always do more in the gym than in competition) which isn’t bad at all there’s a lot of factors that go into performing better on the platform compared to the gym. You’re going to try to match those PRs at best. These are also usually lifters who cut a lot of weight for meets (more then 3kg) or always have much lower results in competition than in the gym, you’re going to be shooting to beat competition PRs rather than all-time PRs, and you can determine your goals for this based on how much the training PRs have improved since the last competition, such as if the athlete has improved his numbers by 5kgs then you can try to beat their competition PRs by that.

Male vs. Female Attempts: This is important as you can’t necessarily take the same size jumps for each gender. The smaller the attempt weight or athlete, the smaller the increases between attempts. For example lifter with an opener of 50kg will likely take smaller increases than a lifter opening at 120kg. A starting point would be about 2-4 kg for women and 3-5 kg for men. If you are experienced enough you can adjust this with any of the lifters you have. If you personally coach them you’ll have a better idea of what to expect.

Goals: You should always have a goal heading into every meet even if it’s just a tune up meet. If it’s going 6 for 6, hitting a PR Total, or qualifying for a National meet. Plan your openers and attempts according to your goals.


Take Notes: In the end with all these numbers and educated guesswork, it’s important for you maintain good training and competition records. The more of these competitions you do, the better you’ll be able to predict based on there training. It will also help you plan out how to program leading into a meet. For example, if you had the best meet ever doing it one way than keep doing it that way. Or if you had a bad meet after programming it a certain way leading in than don’t repeat that way. In the end don’t expect to remember it all. Keep records.


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