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Overweight and Weightlifting Performance

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Have you ever wondered how your weight and body composition affect your success in the weightlifting competition? How many kilos would you be able to lift and what could your competition result be if you had a lot of muscle but low body fat? Read about it in a new article.

Overweight And Weightlifting Performance

In weightlifting, it is very important to have the right ratio of body weight / muscle mass / body fat percentage. The best option for most is to have well-developed muscles and at the same time a low- body fat percentage. In this case, you will have an advantage over your rivals.

If your opponent at the same weight class has less muscle but a higher body fat percentage, he is more likely to lose the competition. Of course, I’m not talking about exceptions, because less muscle does not always mean less strength. I’m talking about patterns.

Research shows that trained men have a Lot of Muscles and Low Fat = Better Chances of Success! Our body composition affects everything that is important for a weightlifter. Including the ability to produce a powerful strength effort, as well as synchronize movements in a coordinated manner. This allows you to perform a technically complex element and lift the prescribed weight.

In amateur weightlifters, the fat level matches the medical indicators of the norm of a healthy male person – 10-15%. There are also models of the rate of adipose tissue for weightlifters (national team level), according to which the level of functional fitness is analyzed. These indicators are divided for athletes of light, medium, and heavyweight categories.

Weight categories, kgFat tissue, %
55-616,1 – 7,0
67-816,4 – 8,1
89-1026,9 – 8,6
+1028,9 – 12,3

It is extremely important for a weightlifter to increase lean muscle mass while minimising accumulation of body fat. In this case, we will develop strength and power, which determine how much effort we can reproduce in a short period of time.

What’s more, lowering body fat helps build strength, endurance, speed, and agility. All these physical qualities will be useful to every weightlifter.

Extra weight in the form of fat mass provides more resistance to movement, thereby forcing the athlete to increase the force of muscle contraction for a given workload. In other words, at a higher percentage of body fat, the muscles have to strain harder to lift the barbell.

But that’s not all. Too much fat mass negatively affects coordination and even mobility, since fat can act as a physical barrier that limits the range of motion of a joint. Of course, this primarily applies to obese people.

How to Achieve Optimum Body Composition?

Your task is to build or at least maintain muscle mass and reduce weight at the expense of fat. In this case, you will be able to improve the ratio of muscle / fat and reduce the force of muscle contraction to perform the work that you were doing at a higher percentage of fat and body weight.

It is very important not to gain a lot of fat between competitions. Indeed, otherwise, you will have to lose this weight, with which part of the muscle mass will be reduced. This can have a negative influence on your performance and ability to lift the target weight.

If you’re 2-3 kg off your competition weight, it’ll be easy to lose them in a few weeks – without the drastic cuts in calories and carbs that are so important.

Entering your bodyweight category the old-fashioned way (by sweating in a sauna and not drinking water) can lead to severe dehydration. This is definitely not what an athlete who has to lift heavy weights needs!

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The secret of a comfortable entry into your category is that it’s best not to stray more than 2-4 kg from your competitive bodyweight between competitions. In this case, you can lose a few kilos at a comfortable pace without resorting to dehydration. Therefore, the key to a successful performance is to maintain a relatively low body fat percentage at all times.

Incidentally, most weightlifters overeat protein and fat but are undernourished in carbohydrates. Unfortunately, this is a sub-optimal eating style, as carbohydrates play a vital role in maintaining high performance. Carbohydrates also contribute to the retention of muscle mass.

In my new Maximum Performance nutrition program, carbohydrates are given special attention. Also within the program are given practical recommendations on how to reduce the percentage of fat.

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Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Author: Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Olympic Weightlifting Champion

Experience: 21 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 200 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Oleksiy Torokhtiy is a professional athlete boasting 20 years of experience in Olympic weightlifting. With multiple European and World titles under his belt, he has showcased his prowess in two Olympic Games (Beijing 2008 and London 2012). Upon concluding his illustrious career, Oleksiy dedicated himself to coaching. By 2022, he had conducted over 200 weightlifting seminars worldwide. He is the visionary behind an international sportswear and accessories brand known for its motto, “Warm Body Cold Mind.” Additionally, he is an esteemed author and the creator of a series of training programs and eBooks.

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