Q&A: Weightlifting Correctly

Olympic weightlifting trainer Jon Wingfield answers some common questions about how to make sure you are weightlifting correctly.

How long do you hold each lift?

For all overhead lifts, the bar must go directly and quickly to arms’ length with the elbows locked and remain there until a coach signals that the lift has been completed. If an athlete is lifting on their own, the barbell should be held overhead and stable for 2 or 3 seconds.

How many reps of each?

After an athlete has developed sound technique they should begin performing lifts for 3 sets of 5 reps. Depending on the training program, the coach will adjust the sets and reps based on the athlete’s progress.

How much movement should you have with your feet while you’re holding the weights up over your head?

The “Finished Position” is when the athlete stands tall with the bar overhead. In order to get to this position, the athlete must adjust their footing while the bar is overhead. Each lift requires its own routine for getting to a “Finished Position”.

How do you know how much weight to add and how much is not enough/too much?

The prescribed training loads are based on the athletes objective. A clear objective should be established in order for training to be carried out. Programming for beginners should focus on slowly conditioning their body to take on greater training loads, both in terms of the amount of weight lifted and in terms of the sets and reps across a designed training program.