Missing Lifts in Weightlifting Training
Greg Everett

What percentage of your lifts in training are misses? If you know an actual number, you're spending too much time on the math and not enough on the lifting, but if it's a big chunk, you're probably aware of it. I've talked a lot about practice and how important it is to practice lifting the way you want to lift even on the seemingly inconsequential sets or accessory lifts because that will be the majority of your training volume, and therefore the majority of your training time.

Your misses count as practice just as much as your makes do. Not only is it practice in the physical, technical sense, i.e. you're practicing the movement that produces a miss, but, more importantly, you're practicing mentally to miss. If missing is a regular occurrence in your training, it's a serious problem you need to address both through adjustments in your programming and in your approach to your training.

If you're constantly missing prescribed lifts, your prescription is off. Some misses are to be expected--if you never miss, you're probably not training hard enough—but this should be a very small number relative to your total training repetitions in a given workout or time period. Take a look at your program and ask yourself if you're missing a lot because you're prescribing (or being prescribed) weights/reps that are unreasonable. If so, quit beating your head against the wall and adust the program!

Missing can become a habit like anything else you practice. If you get accustomed to missing lifts, it becomes routine and suddenly it's not a big deal anymore. You may find yourself more than happy to simply miss and try to repeat the set to make up for it. This is fine in some cases, but making this a habit is training yourself to not be prepared and focused when necessary. Decide beforehand in a workout what you will accept as misses and repeats--don't get sucked into letting yourself repeat a set several times just to make it.

This article talks more about how to work with missed lifts in your training.

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Greg Everett is the owner of Catalyst Athletics, head coach of the USA Weightlifting National Champion team Catalyst Athletics, author of the books Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches and Olympic Weightlifting for Sports, director/writer/producer/editor/everything of the documentary American Weightlifting, publisher of The Performance Menu journal, fifth-place finisher at the USAW National Championships, masters national champion, masters American record holder in the clean & jerk, and Olympic Trials coach. Follow him on Facebook here and and sign up for his free newsletter here.

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Matt Foreman 2013-03-12
Amen. The best lifters in the world don't have a lot of 2/6 or 3/6 days on the platform. They almost always make four or five, and it goes directly to what you're writing about.
Ayo 2014-09-24
I've always been a repeater after a miss, and a repeated miss can shatter my confidence for the session. I needed to see this today, I'll work on being content with the practice. That said, I've been missing roughly 10% of my prescribed snatches, is that bad? It's more technical and rarely ever load. Thanks in advance.
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