Many people wonder how well women can do when it comes to weightlifting. If you look at the achievements of Olympic weightlifting women, you will not hesitate to admit that they can be serious kinds of weight lifters. Their athleticism is top-of-the-line. This is why the women who go well in this department are up against the best in the world.
That said, women are not men. So discussion of providing opportunities mustn’t revolve around equality; it is more about equity. Women undergo menstruation every month, but men don’t. And several other limitations tend to keep women from doing their best in weightlifting. For this reason, the training protocols for women do not have to be the same as those for men.
Here are a few things that you may want to know about Olympic weightlifting women.
More Resistance to Fatigue
Women usually have larger type-1 muscle fibers. These slow-twitch fibers are a part of skeletal muscles that remain efficient for longer durations compared to other muscle fibers. These muscles usually get active during endurance exercises or maintaining body posture. With the help of larger type-1 muscle fibers, women can handle metabolic stress in a better way. For this reason, they are more resistant to fatigue and can perform better than their male counterparts at times.
You may wonder how this fatigue resistance contributes to overall performance during Olympic weightlifting and strength training.
Better fatigue resistance allows women to reduce resting periods between sets. The prime example of this is the ability of women to do a triple in a snatch, rest a minute, perform a double, rest 70 seconds, perform a single, and then rest 90 seconds and repeat the entire wave. This also demonstrates their ability to become more technical during their workout.
Even though estrogen has gotten some bad press, there is no doubt that it is a powerful hormone. The bad reputation it has got is mainly due to men getting adverse reactions to anabolic steroids, which are known to raise estrogen levels. Later, it turned out estrogen was not the culprit.
Estrogen resists catabolism, meaning that it prevents muscles from breaking down. Therefore, all those hard gains during Olympic events are supported by higher estrogen levels. It also means that estrogen is an essential hormone for developing lean muscle mass and preventing protein breakdown in the body.
Women usually have higher estrogen levels, which makes them more capable of performing intense workouts for longer durations. Their muscle repair is more robust and they experience protein breakdown during training or an event.
While women’s robust body response during explosive workouts is well-established, their response to slower tempos may vary. As mentioned above, women have higher estrogen levels, which allow them to prevent muscle-protein breakdown to a greater extent. And this makes them more resistant to fatigue. So, in theory, they can handle slower tempos more effectively.
As a result, Olympic weightlifting women show a better response to slower eccentrics when performing different variations of squats. They respond well to pauses during the event. This allows them to acquire an ideal workout posture during slower movements.
You will be surprised by the women’s ability to recover between sessions. According to research, Olympic weight lifting women can handle two workout sessions in one day. Some wanna-be Olympians may even handle three weightlifting sessions a day.
As for non-Olympian women, according to research, they can handle workout volume for five to six days a week quite effectively. The women’s recovery kick’s in pretty well during the first three workout days. This is because fatigue doesn’t accumulate during this time. This is why women can be tougher than men in the Olympic weightlifting arena.
Now, let’s have a brief discussion about the workouts women can perform to improve their Olympic weightlifting performance.
Olympic Weightlifting Exercises
Women wanting to get started with Olympic weightlifting must commit to a selective workout regimen. You can learn and perform a couple of exercises at the start. You will know more during the course of time as you get along.
Here is how to perform this simple move.
- Stand over the barbell with your feet slightly wider, usually hip-width apart.
- Now lower your body to get into a squat position and grip the bar in a wide grip. Make sure that your shoulders are over the bar. Your trunk should be in a neutral and upright position.
- Drive the barbell up like you do when deadlifting. Ensure that the barbell is as close to the body as possible.
- Once the barbell reaches the knees, explosively extend your hips and use the resultant momentum to lift the bar.
- After extending the hips, get your body under the barbell quickly. Make sure that your elbows are high. Carry the barbell up in an overhead position.
- Lower the barbell to your hips slowly and bring it to the ground by bending your knees.
Clean and Jerk
Steps to perform clean and jerk include the following.
- Stand in front of the barbell with your feet hip-width apart. Get lower by bending your knees and holding the barbell with both hands. The distance between your hands should be slightly wider than your shoulder’s width.
- Initiate the pull and bring the barbell up. When it passes the knees, extend your hips quickly. Rotate your elbows underneath the barbell.
- Get into the squat position quickly and catch the barbell in the front rack position. Make sure that your elbows point forward.
- Dip your knees a few inches. This should create a spring-like action to help you lift the barbell overhead. This is called the jerk phase. Lock your arms and stabilize your weight. Stand up when you are stable.
Olympic Weightlifting with VBT
Olympic weightlifting women can set the velocity of their lifts by adjusting the loads. This speed and force adjustment can help achieve multiple strength and conditioning goals. One of the ways to work with your speed is to use velocity-based training, which involves active tracking of the speed of the movement of the weight. This training program allows you to create a velocity profile of every workout you perform.
Velocity-based training generally involves using tools and equipment to monitor and manage the loads. The most popular device in this regard is a linear position transducer, which records the motion of the barbell. Some linear transducers, such as Vitruve, connect with your phone or tablet through AI-based software. This software interprets the movements of the barbell to formulate velocity-based training stats, which you and your coach can use for workout improvement.
Olympic weightlifting women can be just as good athletes as men, if not better. They can follow particular weightlifting protocols to achieve their weightlifting form. Weightlifting coaches for women should use effective techniques and procedures, like VBT, to help their athletes do well in the arena.