The Championship’s Unrealized Potential

The Championship’s Unrealized Potential


Rustem Khairullin

Olymp 3-4:34 – 37: 2002

Translated by Andrew Charniga, Jr.


Sportivny Press©





It should be pointed out that coaches, athletes, and officials have already come to different conclusions. Apparently, some are objective, others subjective. However, it is impossible to make a single, peremptory evaluation of the championships; had Oleg Perepechenov not missed his jerk of 207.5 kg, he would have placed first It was the same with   Vladimir Smorchkov as he missed 227.5 kg jerk (after snatching 197.5 kg!); another champion with a missed jerk (it’s not a press) was Andrei Tchemerkin with 247.5 kg and  ended up with a bronze medal. The overall picture was different.


However, with all due respect to the hard work of the athletes and their coaches, it is necessary to analyze the results of the Warsaw platform objectively. Not one of the men made the third and decisive attempt in either the snatch or the clean and jerk. The “magnificent seven” made only five attempts in the clean and jerk. Only one third of all competition attempts were realized. It is common knowledge one has to succeed with no less than 50% of one’s attempts for the performance to be considered satisfactory, 66.66% for the performance to be considered good, and 83.33% for it to be considered excellent.




It is not our purpose to evaluate the performances of each of the participants of the 2002 World championships. However, we do want the specialists to examine the problem with the sportsmen’s  reliability on competition attempts. You may recall, unfortunately, that many years ago Russian weightlifting prosecuted the so – called “zero epidemic.”




The term “reliability in sport” was coined some 40 years ago, but the need to devise scientifically substantiated methods to control competition reliability was obvious already in 1965 (5). The first alarm signals sounded for Soviet weightlifting also in 1965 when three members of the national team failed to succeed with their starting weights at the European and World championships.     




At that time the specialists referred to the event as an aberration and many forgot about it after the great performance of the team at the 1966 World championships in Berlin. A thunder clap resounded at the 1972 Olympics where four USSR weightlifters bombed out. After Munich, we no longer were surprised by our weightlifters failing to make a total. An analysis showed that the realization of competition attempts at the World championships over the past 25  years has fluctuated only within the “satisfactory” range.




This relates to the results of the 2002 world championships (see tables 2,3).




An analysis of our weightlifters’ missed competition attempts revealed a number of causes: the coaches and athletes made irresponsible selections with respect to the correct weight for the first attempt, “competition discipline” was weak, and technical preparedness was weak. Not  infrequently bomb outs are connected with relatively weak “moral/volitional” preparedness. The famous (in the sport world) Doctor of psychiatry A. V. Alexeyev (2) says that neither a high moral nor high volitional state can guarantee a successful competition performance. If the athlete’s technique is poor or if the physical preparedness is weak, even a very high moral  volitional state of readiness cannot eliminate these insufficiencies.




P.M. Kasyanik’s (4) research leads him to conclude that the main reasons for a sportsman’s competition failures were psychological mobilization factors, technical instability, and  an incomplete warm  up. We are convinced, and considerable research shows, the latter is the most important factor. The quality of the warm – up to prepare the athlete to perform the competition exercises principally depends on the optimum formation of  inter muscular and intra muscular coordination in order to properly perform the exercises of such complex  coordination structure as the snatch and the clean and jerk. The qualitative execution of the exercises in the warm – up from attempt  to  attempt will instill confidence in the lifter and secure a full realization of his potential on the platform.    



Considerable research of the weightlifter’s warm – up in training and under competition conditions shows that many athletes look at the general and special warm up with distain or simply do understand its significance. Many athletes do just a small amount of general warm up (some even skip this) and go right to performing the competition exercises “forcing” the onset of the fundamental work. It should be noted that some lifters include various special  assistance exercises in their warm  up (muscle snatch, press  behind  the  neck, press  behind  the  neck in the squat position; and, occasionally, drop snatches). Typically the warm up for the clean and jerk is limited to only the clean and jerk.




Over the past 10 to 15 years the general warm – up has been dramatically reduced to compensate for the increased number of special warm –  up parameters. This idea revolves around the fact the body needs to heat up. However, it is unfortunate to have to point out that the special warm  up part becomes monotonous work in terms of performing the snatch and the clean and jerk with ease (unavoidable especially with the starting sets) without working on “feeling the weight” in the different phases of the lifts. After the warm up, it is difficult to determine if the optimum inter muscular and intra –  muscular coordination necessary to perform the competition exercises has been established.




A timing of the warm  ups of 12 Russian and 18 foreign lifters at the 2002 World championships confirmed that the “general culture” of the pre competition warm  up is far from perfect. The reader is invited to look at the snatch warm up of the Russian national team.




–         The general warm up began 32 to 47 minutes before being called to the platform; duration was 1 to 5 minutes (duck walks, trunk bends, arm rotations, rather reluctantly);


–         the special warm  up began 29 to 45 minutes out (power snatch from the hang with the bar, flowed by full squat, muscle snatches, press  behind  neck, press  behind  neck in the squat position), then 9 to 15 sets performing 12 to 23 lifts in the snatch;


–         the rest period from the final warm up attempt to the first platform attempt was 2 to 6 minutes.


–         The difference in weight of the final warm up attempt and the first attempt was 5 kg for the women (in five instances) and 7.5 to 15 kg for the men.


The warm up for the clean and jerk was as follows:



–         The break after the last snatch attempt to the beginning of the warm up for the clean and jerk was in the range of 6 to 30 minutes (there was one elbow dislocation);


–         the special warm up began 13 to 33 minutes before being called to the platform. There were 7 to 12 warm up sets comprising 7 to 13 lifts. The special warm up consisted of the clean and jerk in the overwhelming majority of cases. The cleans were muscled up sometimes and even “flung” to the chest; the split for the jerk was executed without clearly fixing the barbell over the head.



Successful execution of the classic exercises requires the most efficient neuromuscular and inter muscular coordination and concentration of force in the active phases, coordinated with elimination of tension in the passive phase (1). It is necessary to select special assistance (supplementary) exercises which allow one to “feel” the weight in the various phases of the lifts (to “feel” the fundamental points). A time connection is formed between the conditioned reflexes (which is the reason for performing the supplementary exercises) and the fundamental motor habits. Consequently, the use of these exercises in the warm – up will cause a general “displacement” as well as an oblique  stimulation of the time connections which are the foundation of the upcoming competition exercise.




Many years of observations of the Russian and foreign athletes in major competitions shows that the underestimation of the qualitative emphasis of the warm up continues; bomb outs and injuries in competition then and now is to be taken very seriously. This is not an aberration.




Many years of experience and experimental data allow us to assert that a conscientious approach to the general and special warm – up in both training and competitions can contribute to a significant degree to the stabilization of technique, reduce the number of missed attempts in training and competition, as well as the number of injuries.



Table 1. Success rate (% realization) of the Russian Women and Men at the 2002 World Championships.

Exercise 1st 2nd 3rd Overall
Snatch 71.43 85.71 57.14 71.43
C & J 57.14 57.14 28.57 42.85
Snatch 71.43 57.14 0 42.86
C & J 42.86 42.86 0 23.81



Tables 2 – 3. Success rate (% realization) of all of the Women and Men at the 2002 World Championships.

Exercise 1st 2nd 3rd 1st place All Particip.
Snatch 69.53 56.19 34.21 80.95 53.31
C & J 80.12 58.50 29.16 90.48 55.93
Snatch 65.07 57.17 37.98 79.16 53.13
C & J 70.94 48.53 22.75 58.33 48.70





1.        Abadjiev, I., Furnadjiev, V. “Evaluation of the Weightlifter’s Technique.” The Coach’s Ideas. Bulgaria, 1974.

2.        Alexeyev, A.V. “The Pre – Competition Fever.” Teoriia I Praktika Fizicheskoi Kultury. 1992, #1.

3.        Baszanovsky, W. “ Perspectves in Weightlifting and Methods of Training.” Weightlifting. FiS, Moscow, 1974

4.        Kasyarnik, P.M. “Psychological Peculiarities of Participation in Weightlifting Competitions.” Teoriia I Praktika Fizicheskoi Kultury. 1978, #10

5.        Korenberg, V.B. “Reliability of Consummating Motor Tasks.” Teoriia I Praktika Fizicheskoi Kultury. 1997, #10

6.        Khairullin, R.A. Physiological Criteria of the Functioning of the Weightlifter’s Support  Motor Apparatus. Doctoral dissertation of Biological Science. Kazan, KGMI, 1975

7.        Khairullin, R.A.” Problems and Methodical Possibilities of Stabilizing Motor Habits in Sport.” Kazan, KFEI, 1998.