If you are starting to get your feet wet as a coach in the sport of Weightlifting you are going to have to learn how to navigate your athlete from the warm up area to the platform. Timing your athlete's last warm up attempt to his/her first platform attempt will take practice.
I wanted to share with you how we lay out the warm up for the athlete.
First, think logically and ask your athlete a few questions.
Question 1.) Do you need more than 30 minutes to warm up? Probably not, most of our athletes need 20 minutes tops to get up to speed. Some athletes like less time, some athletes like more.
Question 2.) How much time do you prefer from your last warm up to your opener? This can be a challenge. I have athletes that want to sit for 8 to 10 minutes. Others would prefer a crossfit competition immediately before their opener. The answer is somewhere in between.
With that in mind I like to have our athletes begin the warm up process 35 to 45 minutes before they lift. However, this work only includes things like static stretching, foam rolling, repositioning exercises, and body weight mobility work up until the 20-25 minute out marker.
Typically we warm up most athletes with a bar in hand in the 20 minute range. Meaning once they touch the bar they will be on the competition platform within 20 minutes. If my athlete is one of the last to go in a flight I will start my watch when the flight begins and gauge how long a platform attempt is going to take. Typically I use 2 minutes per attempt for my athletes, then adjust based on the pace of the meet.
How do you do this?
Look at the start list and make guesses. If you have 6 people in a flight and everyone opens at 100kg in the snatch except for your athlete opening at 130kg, you can assume that all of the athletes will get all of their attempts in before your athlete hits the platform.
Following our two minute rule from above-- 5 athletes ahead of you and all are taking 3 attempts before you-- this would be 15 attempts, two minutes for each= roughly 30 minutes before your athlete hits the platform.
If the meet is moving fast-- you may adjust to 1 min to 1:30 per attempt. Gauging the speed of the meet is what takes some feel and practice.
Other things to consider-- if you have an athlete that cut water weight and is now rehydrated, you will need to account for bathroom breaks. Give your athlete plenty of time to pee.
If you start warming your athlete up and you realize that you are way ahead of schedule-- just stop. We have all made this mistake and the best thing to do is sit them down and let them rest. If you stay in a holding pattern and make them take a warm up weight 1,000 times you are just going to wear them out.
Some athletes like to take openers in the warm up area. I have seen this on all levels. Some of China's best women lifters were noted taking their warm up 3 times in the backroom. Personally, I don't like to have our athletes do that-- I feel like it is a waste of effort. Some athletes will demand this and if they do I let them.
Some athletes like to pull a heavy weight as their last warm up. This I actually like-- it does act as a neurological primer, and when the athlete breaks the floor with their opener it probably does feel light to them and makes them confident. Confident lifters are good lifters.
Below is our sample sheet that we are using for nationals-- please feel free to steal it use it and pass it around. Remember no two lifters are the same-- this is what we are using with lifters that we work with everyday. You should adjust to your need, but I hope this gives you a guideline.