Over the years, people have always been obsessed with the capabilities of the human body and especially when it comes to strength. Olympic weightlifting is one of the sports in the Olympic competitions and has over time become very popular.
How do Olympic weightlifters lift so much? Weightlifting relies heavily on the muscles one has in the body. Weightlifters optimize their muscle performance through:
• Adhering to strict workout schedules that focus on the muscles.
• Observing a strict balanced diet. The athlete may be required to take supplements to ensure they get all the vital nutrients they need.
• As a way of optimizing the use of the energy they get from muscles, they also train intensively on various technics of lifting heavy loads. This technic enhances stability, blood circulation and even breathing.
• The intense training also focuses on the mind. Since weightlifting is demanding both physically and mentally, focus and endurance are very crucial. Trainers encourage the weightlifters to try the unthinkable and endure the pressure and physical strain that comes along with weightlifting.
• Patience. Being a professional weightlifter is not something one can achieve overnight. One has to take the baby steps so that your muscles can grow and also give one enough time to master the various weightlifting technics.
• Coping with the competition. To crowned king in the weightlifting category, one has to outshine the competition. With this in mind, the athletes always strive to lift heavier loads than usual.
For the athlete having the right mindset, a proper diet, physical fitness and by mastering the various weight lifting technics, weightlifters can repackage their bodies into a powerhouse. They can transform what would have been just a regular lift to a power-packed lift fit for an Olympic performance.
Weightlifting has always been an important sport in history and was popular enough to feature in the first official Olympic games in 1896.
Back then, the events in the weightlifting category were a shadow of what we see in the modern-day Olympic weightlifting. The athletes only contested for in one- and two-handed lift duels as weight classes were inexistent.
Back then the athletes were awarded points based on the style they used in making the lifts. In the initial years, Olympic weightlifting was a sport under the male category.
It was not until 1987 that the first female weightlifting event was held at the Olympics.
From a humble beginning, the sport has undergone immense transformation to the modern sport we know today. In the current Olympics, weightlifters compete as per weight classes.
The athletes compete in two lift categories, the snatch as well as the clean and jerk. In this article, we are also going to dig deeper into the world of weightlifting to establish what the sport entails.
How Weightlifters Attain Amazing Strength
• Eating a proper diet
Olympic weightlifters have huge muscles which are not only eye-catching but serve a very crucial purpose of lifting the weights. For one to have such muscles nutrition is very important.
The nutrition plan of weightlifters is not only systematic but very specific with regards to the nutrient content they get from every meal.
Breakfast happens to be a very important meal for a weightlifter. what they eat at the start of the day should give them sufficient energy and bodybuilding nutrients.
In most cases, nutritionist recommends foods high in proteins such as eggs with accompaniments such as cheese.
- Frequent meals
Weightlifters have a precise schedule of when they should eat. Nutritionist recommends that they eat small meals every 3 hours.
This strict schedule has the benefit of reducing their stomach size while ensuring they are full through the day minimizing the chances of them overeating.
- The protein rule
To build muscles, a professional weightlifter must always eat proteins as a substantial part of any meal. Eating a lot of proteins also aids in fat loss.
Compared to other nutrients, proteins have the highest thermic effect. As per nutritionist, a weightlifter should eat one gram of protein per pound of food. This translates to 200g of protein if one weighs 200lbs.
- Healthy Fats
Fats are classified in various categories. To a weightlifter, saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are essential.
Intake of this fats increases testosterone levels enabling the weightlifter to develop enhanced muscular features. They also promote fat loss by assisting the weightlifters to get a lean well-built body.
An Olympic weightlifter requires to drink a substantial amount of water to remain hydrated. During workouts and the weightlifting sessions, a lot of water is lost from the body in the form of sweat and has to be replaced.
Water also aids in muscle recovery between weightlifting sessions. A weightlifter should drink 1 cup of water when they wake up and at least 2 cups of water after taking any meal.
• Eating whole meals
Weightlifters are advised to eat whole foods as opposed to processed foods. Whole foods are not only natural but do not contain additives such as sodium sugars and other chemicals that are in some cases toxic.
By eating whole foods, the athletes can minimize the number of toxins they have in their bodies. The athletes should also reduce the intake of substances such as alcohol.
• Training and workout programs
Olympic Weightlifting relies on many muscles namely quadriceps which are at the front of the legs, hamstrings (front of the legs), calves, lats, trapezius, and deltoids.
The training and workouts focus on the muscles to enhance performance. Olympic Workout sessions usually involve running, leg presses, triceps pushdown, machine bicep curl, machine shoulder press, lying leg curls, and even the machine bicep curl.
The intensity of this workout varies based on the level of training and also the gender with the men undergoing more intense and rigorous training sessions.
• The ideal workout plan
To gain the most from weightlifting workout sessions, having the right workout plan is crucial. The training workout sessions should be regular and objective. Before the start of any workout, weightlifters should always warm up for about 5-10 minutes.
They can do this by performing simple exercises such as rope skipping or even riding a bike. Weightlifting exercises should be systematic and focus on specific muscle groups at a time. The tasks should be done repeatedly with the weightlifter performing 3 to 5 sets per exercise.
• The role of weightlifting trainers
Competing in the Olympic weightlifting is not all about strength. Various factors come to plays such as workouts, tactics and mental state of mind. Trainers have a lot of knowledge in the various aspects of weightlifting and are of invaluable help to any professional weightlifter.
Professional weightlifting has its fair share of challenges. Trainers also double up as counselors assisting weightlifters to cope with issues such as diet, intensive training and how to tackle the nervousness and fear that usually creeps in during Olympic games among athletes.
Over the years the champions in the weightlifting category have always singled out their trainers as key pillars of their success.
The Benefits of Olympic Weightlifting
Olympic weightlifting is all about power, and the endeavor can completely transform an individual’s fitness and overall strength capabilities.
The squat, deadlift and shoulder lift exercises performed by the athletes have significantly higher output if you are to compare them with regular weightlifting exercises. According to research Olympic lifts have been found to have higher countermovement jumps compared to regular powerlifting.
Olympic weightlifters have therefore been found to have higher jumping abilities compared to other athletes. Research has also associated Olympic weightlifting with an increase in athletes sprinting speed.
Olympic weightlifters have lean well-built bodies. This is due to the strict diet and workout schedules that they must adhere to on a day to day basis.
Contrary to popular belief Olympic weightlifting is not about masculinity and the growing of muscles but fine-tuning the bodies muscles to enable one lift heavy weights.
• Focus and control
For an athlete to excels in Olympic weight training, they must perform some rigorous exercises that touch on various parts of their bodies.
These exercises demand both the physical and mental input of the athletes. Athletes become more aware of their amazing physical capabilities and how to channel energy into specific regions when making lifts.
On the pitch, one must execute the snatch and the clean and jerk correctly if they are to beat the pack. Mastering these movements is no easy fit.
One must have full coordination, flexibility, competition, and unwavering determination. The whole idea of weightlifting will, therefore, transform not only the body but an athlete’s state of mind
What Are the Olympic Body Weight Categories?
Modern weightlifters compete in various weight classes in the modern-day Olympics. There are ten junior and senior bodyweight categories both for the men and women.
For the men, the junior category starts at 49kgs to over 102kgs while for seniors the minimum body weight is 55kgs with the maximum being 109+kgs.In the female category, the junior category begins at 40kgs with the maximum at +81kgs.
For the seniors, the minimum weight stands at 47kgs with the maximum at +87kgs.
Olympic weightlifting happens to be one of the safest sports. The workout programs are designed to improve a weightlifter’s body capabilities without harming them in the process.
Before on undertakes any Olympic weightlifting program, trainers highly recommend the athlete first undertaking a physical and health checkup.
Keen attention is given to sensitive areas such as the hands back and legs during the exercises to minimize the risk of one asserting excessive strain.
Olympic weightlifters undertake intensive training of how to lift and return loads back to the ground. They are taught the right postures, how to grab the barrel and the basics of securing the weights before any lift.
Athletes are also required to wear protective tape over the palm of their hands and have the right set of shoes.
What Type of Equipment is Used In Olympic Weightlifting?
• The barbell
Olympic weightlifting relies on a steel bar known as a barbell that has rotating sleeves on both ends. The size of the barbell varies based on gender.
Men use a 20kg, 28mm diameter barrel with a 2200mm length. For the women the Olympic barrel weighs 15kg, has a 25mm diameter with a length of 2010mm. The distance between the sleeves, however, remains the same for both genders at 1310mm.
• Weight plates
The plates come in a variety of weight categories. The standard plates weigh between 10kgs and 25kgs with the difference being 5kg increments. Inline with international standards, the Olympic weights come in standard colors. Green for 10kgs, blue for 20kg and red for 25kg.
• Competition iron plates
This is smaller competition plates whose work is to add small weight increments to the bar.
They are used to secure weight plates on the barbell and come with a standard weight of 2.5kg.
• The belt
The standard weightlifting belt has a 120mm maximum width and serves a strategic purpose of increasing the intraabdominal pressure in the weightlifter’s body when worn. If you would like to buy weightlifting belt, please check this link on Amazon.
Some of the other items used in Olympic weightlifting include the chalk that Olympic lifters use to promote dryness preventing slipping of the bar during weightlifting and the singlet. A tape is also used to protect areas of the weightlifter’s body exposed to friction.
Shoes form a very critical part of a weightlifter artier. The standard Olympic weightlifting shoes have a raised heel of between 0.5 to 1.5 inches and also have a set of 2 metatarsal straps.
The raised heels aids in offering stability. While wearing the shoes, the Olympic weightlifter maintains an upright torso when catching the bar.
The shoes also enable the athlete to attain deeper squats. The design of this particular shoe is quite impressive as they are engineered to offer maximum stability and comfort during weight lifting.
What Is the Official Procedure for Weightlifting In the Olympics?
In line with the Olympic standards, there are two main categories the snatch and the clean and jerk which athletes compete in each of the weight divisions.
The snatch is usually the first of the weightlifting challenges. It entails the athlete attaining a wide grip and then performing a one move lift maneuver. The clean and jerk, on the other hand, is a close grip two two-step weightlifting task.
In Olympic weightlifting, the winner is usually the athlete who lifts the heaviest load. Loads are increased in one-kilogram increments at Olympic weightlifting competitions.
Ties are common in these Olympic events and judges usually award the winning tag to the athlete who has the lower body weight. In the event the athletes have the same body weight, the athlete who was able to lift the total weight first gets to be crowned the winner.
According to the rules, an Olympic weightlifter is supposed to make three attempts in each of the categories. After the attempts, the two highest scores are summed up, and the final result becomes the overall result for that particular weight category.
To ensure fair awarding of marks, an Olympic weightlifting session Is overseen by two side judges and a number of referees. A team of technical officials is also on standby during such events to offer any technical guidance if need be on the awarding of the marks.
What Is the Future of Olympic Weightlifting?
If the recent increase in the number of athletes signing up for the sport and established bodies such as IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) governing the sport, we can only expect more professionalism in Olympic weightlifting moving forward.
Strict regulations enforced in an attempt to minimize doping have made the sports fair for all.
The women weightlifting category has grown tremendously over the years. More ladies are now taking up the sport which was once considered a preserve for the men.
For those who plan on going professional, the cash rewards and pay to athletes in this particular sport is quite high. Cash prizes and the value of endorsements done by professional weightlifters is projected to increase in the coming years.
The future for the sport appears to be very bright, and fans can anticipate more competitive and mind-blowing performances from the athletes moving forward.
In the modern Olympic program, an athlete attempts a series of lifts namely the snatch as well as the clean and jerk to gauge the maximum load which they can manage in a single lift.
For those who have watched the athletes in action, one question always lingers, how do Olympic weightlifters lift so much? In this article, you read about the mysteries surrounding the Olympic weightlifting and what makes the weightlifters able to perform this supernatural kind of lifts.
Olympic weightlifting has evolved from a basic contest of strength to an elaborate and well-structured sport with rules and regulations that are to be followed. Many people are now taking up the challenge of becoming the ultimate Olympic weightlifter.
To excel in this sport, one must, however, endure rigorous training and stiff competition if they wish to be crowned champions in Olympic weightlifting. With practice and dedication, anything is possible.
Having the right kind of mindset is therefore what an Olympic weight needs to cultivate.
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