Bodybuilding Training Article from EricsGym.com

Weight Lifting and Weight Training - Chapter 24

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WEIGHT LIFTING AS A COMPETITIVE SPORT

Chapter Twenty-Four

Competition hints

Competition is the life-blood of any sport. Without competition, and the incentives that go with it, no one can realize his full potential. One can, of course, practice competitive weightlifting primarily for enjoyment and the physical and mental benefits, but without the opportunity of pitting oneself against the strength and skill of others, it may be difficult to maintain interest over a long period and to reach the heights of what one is capable.

A true champion is a man who revels in competing against his rivals and who produces his best under the stress and incentive of competition. And it is this driving force that often enables a man to win against opposition that, while potentially greater, fails because of a lack of the essential qualities for success.

Many weight lifters consistently leave their best performances in the training room. For some reason or other they fail to reproduce on the competition platform what they have accomplished in training. Largely this is a matter of mental attitude. For example, there is no logical reason why a man who has been pressing, say 200 lb. with some degree of consistency in training, should not succeeded with this poundage -- or ever more -- in competition.

I am talking now of the lifter who has some experience behind him. The beginner, obviously cannot reasonably be expected to exceed his training performances right away in competition; although many will, of course. But the experienced man should and if he finds that he doesn't, then his mental attitude needs overhauling.

Consider these facts:

Training, generally, isn't conducted in the best atmosphere for maximum performances. Usually there is no incentive in the way of competition stimulus, no audience to respond to, not extreme urge to equal or exceed one's previous best. But in competition, all these factors should bring out the full current potential of the performer.

It is not uncommon for good competitors to exceed by 10 or 20 lb. their best training Clean and Jerk when competing in a championship. Many make their best training performance a starting poundage in competition -- then go to to add anything up to 20 lb. on top of this. And that's how it should be.

If one finds, through experience, that training performances cannot be bettered in competition, then a different attitude of mind must be cultivated. One must think on more positive lines, must deliberately and determinedly set out to develop a better competitive spirit.

This is largely a mental problem and only by continually building up an urge to do better, a positive-thinking attitude to competition, can such improvement be effected. There must be no metal barrier; no poundage that one sets as a definite limit.

Training can be said to be the most important part of competitive weight lifting. For what is accomplished in competition depends largely on what one does in training. Intelligent preparation for a championship or contest is the basis of efficient performance on the competition platform.

The cultivation of good technique, the building up of more and more bodily power and fitness and conditional training, are all essential steps towards the climax of expression on the platform, but a competitor in any sport must be obsessed with a will-to-win spirit for he will never reach his full potential without it. Without the mental concentration on the urge to succeed, the determination to lift those weights with maximum speed, strength and ferocity, it will be difficult to exceed one's training performances.

Temperament, has some bearing on this. The phlegmatic type of individual, with a solid and unimaginative mind, does not find it easy to cultivate this keyed-up mentality and this type of competitor, generally, doesn't vary much in his training and competition performances.

On the other hand, we have the man whose mental make-up is such that he is stimulated to produce his best in competition. He is often highly-strung, with a mental attitude that is a driving force enabling him to produce a performance that is, to some extent, and abnormal one. His emotional state under the stress of competition brings out that something extra - something that he cannot do under normal conditions.

Choosing Poundages
One of the most important aspects of weightlifting competition is that of choosing the correct poundages for the various lifts and attempts.

With only three attempts permissible for each lift, it is essential not to make any mistakes. A wrong selection could mean that your best registered poundage is lower than need be, or even that no poundage at all will result.

The first few contests for a beginner should be experimental. Essentially they must be so, because until one has actually lifted in competition it is not possible to know just how one will react to it.

Experience must be gained. It is only experience that will teach you; only experience that will enable you to know yourself and what kind of competitor you are likely to develop into.

It is a good thing to start off well; to succeed with all your attempts. You need not be too ambitious or obsessed with the desire to win in your first few competitions. You want experience. You want to learn. So plan your lifts wisely. Take poundages that your are reasonably sure you can succeed with.

Normally when you enter a competition your aim is to win if possible. By this I mean your tactics will be planned to produce a winning total if you know you have some chance of winning. if the opposition is such that you have no chance, then your plans may be different. You aim will be to improve on your previous best total, so that some progress can be seen.

The beginner's first competition will not, as a rule, be anything of importance. It may be a league contest, inter-club contest or a county championship, or just a friendly contest. And it should be regarded purely as a test piece.

First, let us consider your training immediately prior to the contest.

A heavy workout should be taken about a week beforehand, working up to your limit poundages. This will give you a good indication of your current form. Then have two more training sessions, the last one at least two or three days before the contest. Then relax completely until the time of the event.

In this way you will come to the platform rested and all ready and eager to tackle the weights. It is neither wise nor necessary to train right up to the day before the contest.

Your poundages in the contest should be chosen so that our third attempt is the best you have accomplished in training. In this way, it is most likely that you will succeed with all of your attempts - making a good psychological start to your weightlifting career.

As an example, let's assume that your best training Press is 140 lb. Start in the competition with 125 lb. Then take 135 lb. for your second attempt, and finally the 140 lb.

It may be that all these weights will feel light, even your final attempt. If so, then this is a good sign, and indication that you may develop into a good competitive performer. On the other hand, yo may fail with some of your lifts -- particularly the third attempts.

Whatever happens, take a mental not of it for your future guidance.

Later, as you gain experience and improvement comes, your poundages will often have to be governed by your chances in the competition. Sometimes yo may have to attempt a poundage that you have never succeeded with - or perhaps even attempted - before. More and more you will have to watch your chief rivals and the state of the competition.

If you have a good coach or adviser, then his help in this respect will be invaluable - as you are far more likely to do better if your mind is free to concentrate on tearing up the weights instead of also having to watch your prospects, poundages and tactical moves.

Do not be afraid to take chances, or to experiment. It is all experience. But you must learn from your experience. Remember how you reacted whenever you attempted any poundage that you had never lifted before. it is vitally important to have confidence whenever you do tackle personal record poundages. Any half-belief in your ability, or hesitation at a vital stage of the lift, will mean failure.

Warming Up
Before the contest starts you will need to warm up both physically and mentally. Physically so that when you are ready for your first attempt on the platform your muscles will be warm, your circulatory system working at an increased tempo Mentally so that your mind will be stimulated to produce your maximum effort.

Many individuals vary as to the extent and intensity of warming up required. Some function well in the competitions with just a minimum of warming up, maybe just some free movements and a few light Presses and Snatches. Others do better with a more intensive program, warming up for a longer period and working up to poundages just below what they intend to start with.

Only experience can prove what is needed for yourself. My personal preference is to devote a period of about twenty minutes to some freestanding movements followed by light to moderate Presses and Snatches, with the emphasis on speed and precision of movement and performing low repetitions and single lifts.

The work should be timed so that you have finished your warm-up just a few moments before taking your first competition lift.

Wear a track suit during this warming-up period. It is essential to keep the body warm during the whole period of the competition, right from the time you weigh-in to the final lift of the contest.

In between your lifts keep on your track suit and don't sit around too much, which will nullify to some extent the warming -up work you have done.

There is much more to weightlifting than employing the muscular force of the body. Of equal importance - or perhaps even greater - is the driving force of the mind. The emotional state must be such that the body is harnessed to produce by any will-to-win, one's performance will not reach full potential. There must be determination, drive, eagerness and ambition. and this must, in many cases and to a large extent, be artificially created, depending on the individual.

Many athlete's have a good measure of natural ability in this direction and, as the hour of the contest approaches, find themselves automatically building up a mental stimulus capable of producing their absolute best on the occasion. Others find it difficult, but must constantly endeavor to develop this quality. This means mind training as well as physical training.

More chapters from this book below...
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