Going To A Competition? What To Expect & What To Do

It can be a scary thought going to an Olympic Lifting competition. It may be your first, it may be your fiftieth, but still chances are you've got some nerves and questions about competing.

In a recent article, we published a guide to understanding children's competitions. This article is aimed at competitions and their process in general.

The Basics


Most UK competitions can be found on the British Weight Lifting website. To see all their up and coming competitions click here.

Please note: to enter most British Weight Lifting (BWL) competitions you need to be a member of BWL.

Key Competition Rules:

  • You must complete at least one successful Snatch and one successful Clean & Jerk to post a total and remain "in the competition".
  • The start of weigh in will be at least two hours before you lift and usually lasts for one hour.
  • For every lift (unless you follow yourself) you will be given one minute to execute the attempt.
  • Most UK competitions use a rising bar system. This means weight will be added to the bar from the lowest to the highest weight and when your attempt is on the bar, you will be called up to lift by the official.

What To Do & When

​Start of the day - Arrive early. Make sure you have plenty of time before your weigh in to avoid unnecessary stress.

​Make sure you understand when and where you're lifting. If you are not sure about either of those by the time you weigh in, ask an official for info.

The warm up - Arrive at the warmup room ​at least 30 minutes before the start of your group (or more if you require a longer warm up). This will ensure you can choose the best platform and you have plenty of time to warm up properly and safely.

Lifting on the platform - You will have three Snatches followed by, usually, a short 10 minute break, and then three Clean & Jerks. The best total wins. And, remember to enjoy your lifting!

Post competition - Relax!

How You Win

Within your bodyweight group, if you post the highest total (your best Snatch and best Clean & Jerk combined), you will win.

If two or more people have the same winning total, it's the lifter who successfully lifted the weight first that wins - this is down to what your previous weight taken was and your lot number given at the start of the competition.

They used to do 'lightest bodyweight wins', however this was changed at the beginning of 2017.​

The Key "No Lifts" To Watch Out For

Here are a few key factors to watch out for that a referee will fail your attempt for:

  • An elbow-knee touch on the Clean.
  • Pausing during extension on the arms; this is known as a press out.
  • Pausing in the hang position.
  • Not waiting for the referees' signal to place the bar down once you've finished your lift.
  • Any part of your body, other than your feet, touching the floor.

Two Key Pieces Of Advice

1) Remember to enjoy your lifting.

2) To combat any nerves, read the best way to mentally prepare for a competition​.

Let us know how you get on in the comments below!