Olympic weightlifting platforms are gaining popularity in gyms everywhere because they provide comfort safety for a fast-growing sport. These platforms help keep your footing firm and stable while also protecting the gym floor from heavy weights. What’s the difference between Olympic weightlifting platforms and deadlift platforms? Olympic platforms are larger and deeper, and they come with their own set of rules. When you’re ready to get started, keep these dos and don’ts of Olympic weightlifting platform etiquette in mind.
DO: Load the barbell properly.
Add the heaviest plates to the bar first and follow with lighter weights in descending order. Your lightest weights should be on the outermost sides of the bar.
DON’T: Touch the bar with your foot.
Some lifters kick the bar before lifting, either out of nervous habit or to examine the spin, but it’s actually a huge sign of disrespect to touch the bar with your foot. Lifters use their hands on the bar and don’t want someone’s foot on it moments before. In fact, in 2019 the USAW added the rule officially. Coaches say it’s okay to guide or scoot the bar with your shins if needed but when possible use your hands to handle the bar.
DO: Dress appropriately.
It’s not only good Olympic weightlifting platform etiquette to wear proper shoes and clothes, but again, a matter of safety. Weightlifting clothes should be form-fitting to avoid getting caught up in the barbell. The platform is no place for sneakers, flip-flops or going barefoot. Weightlifting shoes are preferred, because they provide more stability with a raised heel and protective covering for the toes.
DON’T: Walk in front of the platform when someone else is lifting.
If someone is lifting, don’t walk in front of them because it’s distracting. This is where Olympic weightlifting platform etiquette can be especially important. Lifters are deep in concentration, sometimes even picking a spot on the wall to focus on. A good rule of thumb is to stay a good five feet from other lifters.
DO: Use the right plates.
Instead of metal plates you might use for bodybuilding, Olympic weightlifting platform etiquette says that bumper plates are a must-have. Bumper plates are made of urethane or thick rubber and can be dropped without causing a huge crash, or damaging the gym floor or platform. In fact, the barbell itself can literally crack with the weight and force of metal plates.
DON’T: Step over the bar.
When you’re done lifting, walk away using the side of the platform rather than stepping over the bar. Never straddle the bar to take off weight. Always pull weights off from the sides of the barbell and use both hands. Keep your back tight, just like you do when lifting. This is where Olympic weightlifting platform etiquette takes on global cultural considerations. Eastern European lifters will appreciate you not touching the bar with your feet, and for the same reason, also expect that you not step over the bar. It’s a sign of disrespect.
DON’T: Use the platform for anything else.
This isn’t the place to get your push-ups or crunches in. In fact, Olympic weightlifting platform etiquette says that your feet are the only part of your body allowed to touch the platform.
DO: Expect lifters to grunt.
Yes, the platform can sound like a zoo with all the groaning and grunting but it just comes with the territory. Don’t worry about making noise when you’re maxing out, and definitely save your comments on what anyone else sounds like.
DON’T: Slam the bar when you’re done.
It’s disrespectful to intentionally slam the bar down after a lift. Whether you’re doing it out of excitement or frustration, slamming the barbell can cause damage. That’s why it’s against the rules of Olympic weightlifting competition (rules 2.4.3 and 220.127.116.11 to be exact) to drop the barbell from above the shoulders. Follow it down with control instead.
DO: Chalk up but don’t break it up.
Gym chalk helps your hands create a tight and firm grip, but it’s also crumbly stuff. The best way to avoid breaking up the chalk (and making a mess) is to paint it on with the biggest pieces you can find. The more intact the chalk block, the easier it is to use. If you prefer to use chalk powder, try crumbing up the smaller pieces so those who want to use the big blocks have the option for their turn.
DON’T: Leave your weights on the bar.
Like every other part of the gym, the Olympic weightlifting platforms are shared spaces. Never leave your weights on the bar. It’s a waste of time and energy for the next person to have to unload your weights. In fact, be sure to clear everything from the space when you’re done, including straps, water bottles, and so on.
YouFit is proud to include Olympic weightlifting platforms in many of our locations. Want to find out more about getting started with one of the oldest sport in the world? Come on in and ask! Our certified personal trainers can teach you the ins and outs, including Olympic weightlifting platform etiquette like this.