T Nation

Warm-up/Opening Wt at Comp?



I am curious to learn altnerative protocols for warming-up at competition and what athletes/coaches philosophies are with opening weights at a competition.

Warming up: what do you feel is â??properâ?? etiquette in regards to sharing equipment/space.
Do you follow specific warm-up percentages? If so what do you do?

Opening weight: what are your philosophies with opening weight?
Example- Do you go for a weight you are sure to hit then aim for training PR and then hit new max in your 3 attempts? What would you personally recommend?

Thank you for being open to this discussion.


I'm not sure what you mean by 'alternative protocols for warming-up' but if you want examples of how others warm up on meet day, I'll share what I've had success with.

  • Weigh in two hours before lifting then immediately rehydrate/eat.
  • go and check two things: if the meet is on time or my session will start late and 2) look at the cards for my session and count attempts so I know when to start my warm ups.
  • My warm up is usually the same: start moving to get the body loose, some body weight squats, then I start bar work for my first lift.
  • I know from training how many attempts I will need to be ready for my opener (you practice your warm ups in training just like you practice attempts in training). With the snatch I am comfortable taking my last warm up and then going strait to the platform for my opener so I will usually begin to space out my final attempts once I am warmed up. This will vary per individual, so you need to test/practice the amount of time it takes for you or your athlete to be ready ahead of time.

Sharing a platform: by all means share! Find someone who is lifting close to the weights you are and share a platform. Change you side of the barbell if there is no coach to do this for you. I usually try to share a platform w/my teammates so our coach cna stay close or we are just plain familiar with each others' warm up routine. That beign said, I've never had any issue sharing a platform w/other lifters.

Determining attempts: I've heard the old adage, "The first lift gets you in the meet, the second lift if for the judges, and then third attempt is for you!"
- For openers, I take a weight I know I can make w/no worries and perhaps in less than ideal circumstances. This can only be determined by the most recent training cycle.
- The rest depends on your goals- are you lifting for a personal best, trying to meet a qualifying standard, or trying to beat someone in a competition. An example from my last meet where I was going for a two lift total:
First lift got me in the meet so I don't bomb out. My second attempts were heavy enough to get my goal. That way, if I missed I had a third attempt to make my goal total.
My goal for my next meet is to simply lift more than I did last time so in this example: opening attempt fairly conservative to get in the meet; 2nd attempt will be 1kg over my last meet's highest. That way, I have two chances in each lift to make it! Third attempt, if 2nd was good is a 'shoot the moon' PR attempt!

This is simply what I do; not a template but simply an example.

onward and upward...


NewWorldMan- examples is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for your detailed response.
Do you follow specific percentages of your opening lift during your warm-up?


specific example:
Snatch: PB = 85 I will put 80 as my opener when I weigh in.
bar work for a few sets. I do press/squat/rdl type complex for the first set. Then, muscle snatch, high hang, below the knee snatches, then a few drop snatches.
40/2 for 1 or 2 sets - depending on feel (this should effect time as there's not much need to rest if the 2ns set is required)
70/1 (I usually double this in training, but not on meet day. Beyond that, this is my exact warm up pattern for the snatch when I train.)
78-80 = last warm up
Bump the opener to 82
2nd attempt = 85
3rd attempt = ?

Clean and jerk: in a meet there is usually decent break before you need to get ready. So, I eat immediately after my third snatch and then just sit quietly and rest.
PB = 115 (clean is 122.5) I put 105 on my card to open.
bar work - a few front squats/jerk/press from split - just one set.
90/1+1(usually two jerks in training, only one here on meet day)
bump opener to 108
2nd attempt = 115
3rd = ?
I'll trust you to do the % math. Hope this helps.


Sharing equipment/space in the warmup room is essentially a necessity unless you're lifting at larger national/international competitions. The last competition I did, there were 4 warmup platforms, and I think 11-12 lifters in my session, and only once have I been to a competition where the warmup area was sufficiently equipped for everyone to have their own warmup platform. Like NewWorldMan said, pair up with teammates or people lifting similar weight. Shouldn't be a big issue.

As far as the warmup attempts, they should be whatever the athlete feels they need to be comfortable in going out to the competition platform for their opening attempt, and that'll be a little different for everybody and something you should figure out in training. Some people need more/fewer reps, some people do doubles or triples up to a higher/lower weight, etc etc. As an extreme example, I remember watching an interview of Koklyaev after a meet and he said he did 4 warmup attempts for his clean and jerk, although he admitted he should have done more. As a specific example, for my last competition, before snatch I did:
general warmup (BW squats, leg swings, eagles/scorpions, played around with a broomstick/dowel, etc)
bar work (for me, generally power snatch, overhead squats, drop squats and full snatch)
Open at 125
As an alternative some people might prefer to double the 80 and 90 as well. Clean and jerk would be similar, minus the general bodyweight/mobility stuff (sometimes I skip the bar work in training if I'm moving directly from snatch to clean and jerk though). And as a final note on this I'm not a huge fan of working in percentages because I like loading in increments of 5 and 10, just makes life easier.

For determining opening attempts, I used to go with the best weight I'd hit in training over the 3-4 weeks prior and open with that, determining my 2nd and 3rd attempts based on how that one went. This was because I had a tendency to get a lot out of my taper, and hit a lot of PRs and generally lifted very well in competition. Then that stopped happening (had a long string of competitions where I went 2/6, 1/6, that sort of thing). So for my last competition I dropped 5kg off my training best leading into it, opened there, and it went much better (although there's a host of other factors that played into that as well). Think I'm probably going to stick with something akin to that for a while.

And as much as I think it's important to be able to gauge yourself after your opener and adjust your 2nd and 3rd attempts accordingly, I think it's also a good idea to have some sort of plan laid out as far as what you want to hit, and how your attempts are going to get you there. As an example, I have a dream of hitting 146/182 at my next competition. So if those were to be my 3rd attempts, I'd like to have hit at least 140-141 and 176-177 in training, and the attempts would probably look something like 135/140/146 and 170/176/182. Course I'd have to be a little less fat than at present, but I digress. As NewWorldMan said, it all depends on your goals for that competition.


I know I'm gonna go on a rant on this one, and a bit off topic. Sorry for that.

I mostly train and coach teenagers, and I know there is some messed up shit beigh taught to teenagers out there, so I will talk from my own experience and in that context.

  1. Don't go on a diet. You win because you are the best lifter, not because you weigh the least. If you tell a teenage girl she's too fat to be a winner you are seriously fucked in the head.

  2. Skip the caffeine shit. What happens when you get nervous? Your pulse goes up, and you start shaking. What happens when you drink coffee? Yeah. That's right. :wink:

  3. Choose a weight that you know that you can hit 95% of the time for the first lift. If you want to go bananas after that, be my guest. I teach my lifters that they should make 9 out of 10 lifts, and they usually apply this on (smaller) competitions as well. Better do three awesome fucking lifts and come out 5kg less than make a fool out of yourself and come out 10kg less (unless you're in a really close fight).

  4. Take a measure during training. How long before do you need to start warming up? How many lifts do you need to do? Knowing this will help calm you down as well.

  5. Get a good coach, who can make a good approximation of how much time is left before you're going in. I've seen a lot of kids at Nationals, doing their second warm up lift when their name is called out.

There. Now I probably spent 3 weeks worth of bottled up rage. :slight_smile:


I truely appreciate all of your comments.
Drenmi- thanks for getting that off your chest.
I realize these protocals/ philosophies will differ from coach to coach or athlete to athlete. I was just hoping to see how others approached these topics. Thank you!


By and large I would agree with these for teenagers (which I know was the group you were largely aiming at) and lifters who don't take this sport as seriously. However, if you intend to be competitive, weight management (ie diet) is a crucial part of any weight class sport. And stimulants can be a great asset to those who respond well to them.

And sometimes you do win because you weigh the least, I can think of at least 2 situations off the top of my head where medal placings in Beijing were decided based on bodyweight. But again, that also tends to occur more at higher levels of competition I think.