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Crafting the Perfect Opener: Factors to Consider for Weightlifting Competitions

Updated: May 15, 2023

Determining the ideal opening weight for a lifter in a competition is crucial for success. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, considering various factors can help create a solid strategy. Here, we outline these factors and offer insights on how to optimize an opener for each athlete.


1. Establishing a Baseline: A good starting point for openers is 92-93% of the athlete's best Snatch and 95-96% of their best Clean & Jerk in the last 3-4 weeks. This can be adjusted based on warm-ups and other external factors. Remember, every lifter is unique, so a tailored approach is essential.


2. Recent Maxes: An athlete's performance during heavy singles in the Snatch and Clean & Jerk within the competition mesocycle offers valuable insights into their capabilities. Their consistency and confidence with heavier weights will help determine their potential in a competition setting.


3. Body Weight: Consider the athlete's weight-cutting process. If they train close to their competition weight, adjustments to their openers may not be necessary. However, if they need to cut more than 3kg, performance may be impacted, and you should factor this in when determining openers and attempts.


4. Training vs. Competition Performance: Athletes who excel in competitions may aim for higher openers, while those who perform better in training should aim to match their personal records (PRs) at best.


5. Male vs. Female Attempts: The size of the jumps between attempts will differ between genders. Generally, women's attempts should increase by 2-4 kg, while men's should increase by 3-5 kg. Your experience and knowledge of your athletes will help fine-tune these increments.


6. Goals: Establish clear goals for each competition, whether it's achieving a PR Total or qualifying for a national event. Plan openers and attempts accordingly.


7. Record Keeping: Document training and competition results to better predict future performance and refine programming strategies. Learn from past experiences, and adjust your approach for continuous improvement.


In conclusion, selecting the right opener for weightlifting competitions requires careful consideration of multiple factors. By understanding each athlete's unique circumstances and maintaining accurate records, you can make informed decisions that optimize their performance on the platform.

Tucker preparing for his Opener in his weightlifting meet
Tucker Brown

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