Consistency in Weightlifting


“It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently” – Tony Robbins

Have you ever watched weightlifting competition? Here is how the competition goes: each athlete has to perform 2 types of lifts: snatch and clean & jerk. Each lift has 3 trials. It starts with snatch then followed by clean & jerk. If your lift failed and you need to do it again straight away, you have 2 minutes rest before the next lift.

If you see the competition rules, you will realise that an athlete trains the whole year – day in day out – just to perform 6 lifts on the platform. Their performance is judged by those 3 chances for each competition lift. You can lift 200 kg during training but if you miss 199 on the competition, then you won’t get what you aim. You miss the lift, you lost your chance to win.

In weightlifting sport, hitting the highest number is not the only goal. Consistency in hitting that number is a crucial factor that can’t be underestimated. Imagine you’re a weightlifting committee who decides who go to the Olympics to represent your country. Who would you choose? Athlete A who won gold medal in two out of five championship or athlete B who consistently be in the top three but only won one gold medal? Tricky decision to make but more likely, we’d like to secure a medal in any case, so I might choose athlete B.

Consistency comes with practice too. It happens by doing many repetition as identical as possible at different weight load.

A few months ago, my snatch consistency was quite bad above 50kg (it’s around 85% of my best). It took me around 1.5-2 months to build consistency which eventually rewarded me with new PR. What’s the trick? Volume, time box, and load control.

  • I did more volume between 75% – 90%. I did less singles sets but did more doubles and triples, usually for 4-6 sets.
  • On top of that, I time box my rest between sets and make it shorter. I did every minute on the minute or every 75′ or every 90′ training type more often. The time box depends on the scale and repetition on each set.
  • Last, weight control. Sometimes but not always, I miss the lift because of psychological reason. It’s not my body can’t do it, it’s my mind plays me a trick. To trick my mind, I trained quite a lot between on 48kg – 52kg range. I did waves or I made sure I always do 52 when I feel good at least once a week so I am used with that weight.

Those three things allow me to have a more consistent lift for 85%+ and I am really pleased to find a method that work for me.

We sometimes underestimate the value of consistency. We think by doing something once, we will get what we want. Crash diet, for example. Eating less for a week or two, then hoping we lose x kgs, or read a book once then hoping our knowledge widen straight away. I am not a pro but let me tell you one thing: it’s not going to work.

Consistency come by repeating the same thing over and over and over again. It takes time to build it and it is one factor that brings us success, not only in weightlifting but also in life.

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