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Weightlifting Competition Warm-up Room Etiquette
Greg Everett

While much warm-up room etiquette is no different than in any other area of life, there are a few issues specific to weightlifting, and an apparent need to reiterate even things that may seem obvious.
 
First and foremost, be polite and respectful. Whether you’re a first time competitor or a veteran, there is no better way to establish a bad reputation that will follow you forever in the sport than by being rude and disrespectful to other lifters, coaches or officials. Showing some basic courtesy is not difficult—say your pleases and thank yous and don’t act like anyone knows who you are, should know who you are, or owes you anything.
 
Warm-up rooms can get very crowded and hectic. No one likes this situation any more than you do, so don’t act like you’re the only one put out by it. It’s traditional to reserve a warm-up platform by placing a chair on it—if you see this, respect it. Someone was there before you. If you’re not sure if someone is using a particular platform, ask.
 
On the other hand, if you reserve a platform with a chair or training bag and disappear, don’t be surprised if someone is using the platform when you return. Explain to them the convention and then be gracious about either sharing with them or moving to a different platform. The best course of action with regard to reserving a platform is to post a coach or someone else on it who can be there when someone else wanders over and wants the platform.
 
Another issue with crowded warm-up rooms is that there will very likely be a shortage of equipment—most commonly change plates. You will possibly have to share certain plates with other lifters from other platforms. Never steal weights from another platform—ask. Other lifters and coaches will be more than willing to let you use them as long as you’re polite about it. They’ll also tell you when you can use them without interfering with a lifter’s warm-up timing. Always return borrowed plates as soon as you’re done with them.
 
On the subject of sharing, it’s inevitable at meets that you’ll have to share a platform with another lifter, and possibly more than one. This is not ideal and can make warming up complicated, but keep in mind that you’re not the only one who doesn’t like it—the other lifters and coaches don’t want to share a platform with you any more than you want to share one with them. Make the best of an unavoidable situation and cooperate to keep everyone’s warm-ups as smooth and timely as possible. Communicate with the other coaches and lifters with regard to timing—if you need to take your next lift before the other lifter, speak up.
 
As in any other training situation, do your best not to walk or stand in front of an athlete who is taking a lift. If it’s obviously a very light weight, don’t worry too much about it, but otherwise, either stop and wait for the lift, or walk behind the platform if you can. Also be sure you’re not standing in the way of a lifter trying to lift, and as much as possible, walk around platforms instead of over them.
 
Similarly, be respectful of the lifters and coaches with regard to noise and general distraction. You or your lifter may not currently be in need of focusing for a lift, but chances are someone else is. Keep your noise to a reasonable level and be aware of what’s going on around you.
 
Don’t bring an entourage into the warm-up room. There is very likely limited space already—your five friends don’t need to be back there with you taking up space and making noise. They can go sit out with the crowd and cheer you on from there.
 
Always leave chairs and sitting space for the lifters. If you’re not lifting, stand up and get out of the way. Don’t steal chairs from other platforms either—just like with equipment, ask first.
 
Take care of the equipment. It’s not yours and you don’t have to pay to replace it. More often than not, the equipment at a meet is being loaned by various coaches and gyms for the event, and these people get nothing in return. The least you can do is be respectful of the gear and not go out of your way to destroy it.
 
Once you or your lifter begins, be aware of how you act with the officials and other coaches. Again, most of this is common courtesy and simply being polite. Say please and thank you when making changes with the marshals. Don’t chew out a marshal or official for being slow to respond or making a mistake—they’re juggling a million things and doing their best. If they’ve made a mistake, point it out and help them correct it.
 
Declare your or your lifter’s next attempt promptly. Technically you have 30 seconds to do so, but dragging it out unnecessarily just makes everyone else’s life more difficult and slows the competition. Unless it’s necessary for a specific strategic move, just get it done.
 
On the subject of strategy, use it wisely and reasonably. This largely means that jockeying and tricks with attempt declarations and changes should be reserved for lifters who are genuinely in the mix for medals, records, or similar and for whom such things are legitimately helpful. If you or your lifter are duking it out for 18th place, be reasonable and don’t mess with other lifters’ warm-ups by misleading people with low opening attempts or unnecessary weight changes. Along these same lines, if another coach asks you what you or your lifter is going to declare next so they can better time their own warm-ups, tell them if it’s not going to hurt your own lifter—if it’s a lifter competing directly with your own for placing, obviously you shouldn’t share your plan and you can politely decline to provide the information.
 
Pay attention to where you’re standing during the meet. If you’re not actively looking at the cards or scoreboard, move out of the way so other coaches can get a view. Likewise, don’t block walkways coaches and lifters need to be moving through to get to the competition platform.
 
At national level meets, there will be athlete introductions on the competition platform at the start of each session. Be prepared for this with your warm-ups, but also so you don’t hold up the process for everyone else because you’re not paying attention or ready to line up. 

Excerpted from the Weightlifting Competition Guide E-Book


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Greg Everett is the owner of Catalyst Athletics, 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, co-host of the Weightlifting Life Podcast, and publisher of The Performance Menu journal. He is an Olympic Trials coach, coach of over 30 senior national level or higher lifters, including national medalists, national champion and national record holder; as an athlete, he is a fifth-place finisher at the USAW National Championships, masters national champion, masters American Open champion, and masters American record holder in the clean & jerk. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, and sign up for his free newsletter here.

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1 Comments
Gary Echternacht 2015-12-21
Don't know how we did it in the old days when at most there were two platforms in a small warm-up area. That was true for the National Championships on down to a small local meet. Essentially no coaches. No friends wandering around.
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