Become a Member Find a Course

Do you make these mistakes in weightlifting?

Like any other sport, weightlifting has a set of rules that coaches and athletes must abide by in competition. We have put together this guide for athletes, coaches and spectators to get the most from a weightlifting competition and avoid common mistakes.

Do you make these mistakes in weightlifting?


Mistake number 1: Not waiting for the down signal
In competition, once an athlete finishes a lift, they must wait for a down signal (this can be a
buzzer, or it can be verbal by a hand gestured by the referees). If an athlete drops the bar
before they are given the signal, no matter how good the lift was, it will be given a ‘no lift’
status by the technical officials. Once you have the down signal, you must keep your hands
on the bar until shoulder height. This means that letting go of the bar overhead or dropping
the bar behind you will also result in a no lift.

Mistake number 2: Feet in line
You will not be given the down signal from referees until your feet are in line and your legs
are fully extended. If your feet are out of line (in a diagonal position), or you haven’t
straightened your legs, you could be waiting for the signal for some time!

Mistake number 3: Foot on bar
Putting your foot on the bar either before or after a lift will result in it being given a ‘no lift’
status by technical officials. You don’t want your hard work to go to waste, so make sure to
keep your feet away from the barbell whilst on the platform.


Mistake number 1: Not having the right accreditation
At all British Weight Lifting competitions, athletes can name a coach that can accompany
them into the back room. Upon arrival, the competition organiser will always check that the
named coach has a Level 2 Coaching award in Olympic Weightlifting, a valid coaches licence,
current DBS and proof of ID. If the coach turns up without these, they won’t be allowed to
coach in the back room.

Mistake number 2: Changing weights before 30 seconds on the clock
In competition, a coach can change the weight on an athletes attempt up to two times. This
change can be made at any point up until the lifter has thirty seconds left on their clock to
lift. If a coach tried to change the weight on the bar after the thirty second mark, the change
will not be made. So make sure you have your eyes on the clock to ensure you don’t miss
out on making your change in time!

Mistake number 3: Disputing decisions directly with the referees
If a coach’s athlete is given a no lift, the coach can challenge this decision, but they must
approach the jury table to do so. Approaching or worse shouting, at the referees will slow
down the competition and looks unprofessional.


Mistake number 1: Walking in front of an athlete mid lift
We can all agree that weightlifting is difficult and requires a lot of focus. It is for this reason
it is common weightlifting etiquette that if an athlete has started their lift, you do not walk
directly in front of them as this could throw them off.

Mistake number 2: Not providing hype!
When an athlete comes out to the platform, especially for a relatively heavy attempt, it is
nice to feel supported by the crowd. You can get behind them by clapping and shouting
positive comments, once they approach the bar, the crowd will go silent to allow the athlete
to concentrate.

Mistake number 3: Not applauding an athlete
Athletes work hard in the lead up to competition, and even harder on the day! Miss or
make, it is nice to congratulate the athlete, whether that be for a great lift, or for coming
out and giving their all despite a missed lift.

Want to brush up on weightlifting competition rules?

You can view them here


Never miss the latest news

Click here to read our Privacy Policy


close icon

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more.

Accept and close