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First Olympic Weightlifting Meet: What To know



Our friend John Cortese provides us with the best insights for your first Olympic Weightlifting meet! You can contact John here, CTS Strength & Conditioning, www.CTSgym.com. The Olympic lifts are very popular and for good reason – they are fun, they give you a fantastic full body workout, they help athletes perform better in their respective sport by building strength, speed, and power, and they allow the lifter to achieve personal success by training for specific personal records, goals, etc.

The best part is: if you train under a USA Weightlifting Club, you can compete in weightlifting competitions!

Getting started and into competitions, however, can be tricky if you don’t have a coach or someone who’s been at many meets to assist you. kane129jerk

Here’s what you need to know when preparing for your first sanctioned Olympic weightlifting competition!

  • You need to be a member of USA Weightlifting. It is recommended you compete under a club, but it’s not required. Either way, you should be in current standing as an active member of USAW. You can register here. This allows you to compete in as many meets you’d like. Whether or not you compete as a member of a club or unattached doesn’t matter, but you need to have this first step completed.

  • You’ll need to have a singlet. Unfortunately most people aren’t fond of the idea of having to wear a singlet in front of people they don’t know, but if it makes you feel better, all of the other lifters wear them too. Plus you can wear a t-shirt underneath it, or whatever shirt you like or you’re comfortable in.

  • Weightlifting shoes aren’t necessary or mandatory, but they are highly recommended if you plan on competing in more meets. The sole of a weightlifting shoe is solid and allows you to lift from a stable surface with a slightly elevated heel. If you’ve never worn a pair of weightlifting shoes, you will wonder why you never trained in them before!

  • Weighing in: Weigh-ins are to make sure you will be competing against other lifters within your given weight class. For your first meet though, I recommend not trying to “make weight” and just lift in whatever weight class you naturally fall in. As you get stronger and continue to get better, you can then worry about weight classes. But starting out it’s important to know that weigh-ins start 2 hours prior to your lifting session. A meet director will be able to provide you with their schedule prior to your competition.

  • For your first meet, it is ideal to have an experienced coach help you get warmed up and pick your opening weights for both snatch and clean & jerk. Trying to do it alone can be a stressful experience if you aren’t familiar with the flow and how attempts are made, etc. The only thing you should have to worry about is showing up on time, weighing in, and lifting the barbell!

  • Finally, remember that weightlifting meets are fun and a great way to compete in a sport! Many people are still looking for a competitive outlet to train for and this is the perfect sport that you can see continued growth and progress over time. There is no maximum age limit and anybody can do it!

    So to wrap it up, here are key points to know leading up to your first weightlifting meet:

    • USAW membership

    • Singlet and weightlifting shoes

    • Weigh-ins

    • Warm-ups

    • Find an experienced coach/club to help you!

    • Have fun and hopefully get a new personal record!


If you need help, or maybe want to get started in Olympic weightlifting, you can e-mail us at info@ctsgym.com, we’re happy to help!