T Nation

Weight Class


#1

Coach Thibaudeau,

I have been followin the advice you gave me regarding movement selection for the Olympic lifts and I have hit PR'S in both lifts regularly, I'm very excited.

When I began training the O lifts I weighed 225 lbs at 6"2. I want to lift in the 94 kg weight class so I cleaned up my diet, lowered calories on non lifting days (2 days per week) and focused on the 1 to 3 rep range exclusively for all movements except floor press and Pendlay Rows (my only 2 accessories). My body comp is much better, I have leaned out and have more definition now than I did when I weighed 205. I figured that my weight would be about 210 today, first time I've weighed myself in 3 months. I am now 227 lbs...

Is it realistic for me to lift in the 94kg class? Or at 6"2 should I focus on continuing to get stronger and lift in the 105kg class.


#2

[quote]Beara33 wrote:
Coach Thibaudeau,

I have been followin the advice you gave me regarding movement selection for the Olympic lifts and I have hit PR’S in both lifts regularly, I’m very excited.

When I began training the O lifts I weighed 225 lbs at 6"2. I want to lift in the 94 kg weight class so I cleaned up my diet, lowered calories on non lifting days (2 days per week) and focused on the 1 to 3 rep range exclusively for all movements except floor press and Pendlay Rows (my only 2 accessories). My body comp is much better, I have leaned out and have more definition now than I did when I weighed 205. I figured that my weight would be about 210 today, first time I’ve weighed myself in 3 months. I am now 227 lbs…

Is it realistic for me to lift in the 94kg class? Or at 6"2 should I focus on continuing to get stronger and lift in the 105kg class.[/quote]

  1. I think that unless you are shooting for a specific goal that requires you to lift in a certain weight class you should never force yourself down a weight class.

By having a goal that requires being in a specific weight class I mean qualifying for an important competition where you HAVE to drop down a class; for example if you are trying to make an international team and the team is already stacked in the 105kg class or if you have no way to qualifying for nationals at 105kg (right now not in 3 years) but you can make the 94kg Q total (right now)… in other words will dropping a weight class allow you to compete at an important competition right now?

If you are trying to cut 10kg (which is a HUGE drop unless if you are really fat) to have a better chance at winning a local or regional meet, don’t bother. You will screw up your long term progression for basically nothing.

Let’s examine what 10kg drop might do. You can either do it slowly and drop most of it as fat (there will be some muscle or water loss). It might take 8-10 weeks and will require a more severe caloric restriction than you used (since you gained weight). So the question would be if it will be possible to maintain your strength while spending 8-10 weeks in a caloric deficit large enough to drop 10kg, roughly 7 of it being fat (the other 3 from pre-competition dehydration). From experience (having once dropped from 98 to 83) is that you WILL lose some strength regardless of how well you plan things. Might now be a huge loss, but one thing is for certain you wont be getting stronger for 8-10 weeks (you might have good days where you lift more, but overall your strength will tend to do down).

Even if you can maintain your strength. That still means 8-10 weeks where you wont be making progress. Which to me is a waste of time unless you are already of a VERY HIGH level. If you are still developing as a lifter then you should avoid any thing that slows down your rate of yearly progress.

The other approach you can use is lose only a small amount of weight through dietary restriction and shoot for a huge water loss the few days prior to a competition. It can be done. I’ve seen athletes drop some pretty impressive amount of water weight in 1-2 days. I personally dropped 12lbs in one days pretty easily.

The BIG issue with that is that performance is significantly influenced by dehydration, much more than we think. For example a few years ago I benched 435 on a Wednesday, had a Jacuzzi/hot bath for a long time with my wife on Friday night (no alcohol or crazy business)… lost a lot of water but went straight to bed without rehydrating. Saturday morning I failed to bench 375.

The problem with weightlifting is that the weigh-in is hours before the competition (normally 2 hours before). So you can’t dehydrate yourself like crazy and hope to be able to rehydrate properly and re-establish a correct electrolyte balance in 90 minutes. At 225 you can get away with about a 5lbs dehydration without negatively affecting performance. But the further away you get from that, the worse you will perform.

Then there is another issue. If you make weigh down to 94kg for qualify for a national event (for example) it means that after your competition you will go back up to your normal weight and the whole process od dropping a ton of water will have to be done all over again for your next competition.

If you don’t want any drop in performance during competition, you can’t drop more than 5lbs of water in the last few days. That means that the heaviest you can enter the last week before a competition is 212. Which still means dropping 15lbs prior to the competition and we go back to square 1: training in a caloric deficit.

  1. How many 6’2" 94kg lifters are there? I’m talking decent lifters here. The only one I can think of on the international stage is Simon Kolecki who was 6’1" and 94kg. Most of the 94kg guys are 5’8" - 5’10". In fact 6’2’ is even on the tall side for 105kg lifters (the average if 5’11"). 6’2" is the average height for superheavyweigths lifters.

Unless you are a top 5 national level lifter do not worry about your weight class. Worry about getting as strong as possible and compete in whatever class you end up fitting in at the moment of the competition.


#3

Thank you so much for the detailed response (as usual). I will continue what I have been doing as my numbers continue to increase at this time and will focus on getting as strong as possible. My goal is to qualify for Master’s Nationals in 2017 so lots of time to increase my total and lift in a class better suited for my size.

Thanks again!