A Look at Success Rates at Recent International Events

How many successful lifts should a lifter be expected to make in a meet? We see lifters at USAW national meets being rewarded, whether with the recent rubber bracelet or a simple recognition on the results sheet, for going “six-for-six.”

I recently examined lift success rates of Team USA at two priority international meets compared with the winners. The results are pretty interesting.

It’s only necessary to make one each in the snatch and C&J to win a competition. We get no extra points for making more lifts.

Since 2007, weightlifting competitions have utilized the new rule allowing a minimal 1-kilogram increment between attempts. While we tend to think that the 1kg rule perhaps allows for fewer misses compared to the former increase in multiples of 2.5kg, this may not be the case.

Consider a lifter taking 99, 100, and 101 when their previous best lift is 100. The intensity of each effort (expressed as a percentage of 1RM), not to mention the possible lack of recovery time between closely spaced attempts, could be so taxing that successes are not realized.

Many other factors are at work here, as well. Lifter experience and confidence, coaching staff interactions, unexpected progress of the.



World Junior Championships

Pan American Games


Successful Lifts

Successful Lifts






Team USA  








Team USA  




A further statistical analysis of these results would be necessary in order to form solid conclusions. Other considerations would be the number (1st, 2nd, 3rd) of missed lifts, the incremental jumps between attempts, relative percentage of each attempt, etc.

And I was not at either of these meets, so I am not forming any conclusions. I only point out for further consideration the fact that at least at these two meets, the winners made what appear to be significantly more successful lifts than did our athletes.