How the female weightlifter outgrew the “Lady Bar”

Whoever said "man is fearfully and wonderfully made" in all probability could not even imagine a member of the "weaker sex" raising 193 kg over her head. The first official women's world weightlifting championships took place in 1987. By 1989 the world record in the clean and jerk of the female +82.5 kg (unlimited bodyweight) class was 137.5 kg, the same weight as the 82.5 kg record. At the end of 1993, the year the new weight classes were introduced, the world record had already grown to 155 kg. This 155 kg constituted approximately 124% of the bodyweight of the 125 kg female lifter who raised it. At the present time the world record in the +75 kg (unlimited weight class) is 193 kg which was set by 106.21 kg Tatiana Kashirina (RUS). This weight is 182% of her bodyweight, i.e., 38 kg more weight lifted by an athlete with 21 kg less body mass than the record of 1993! In 1997 the International Weightlifting Federation decided to introduce the lady bar. The new 15 kg bar with a smaller diameter grip became the official bar for female competitions. By this time the female world record in the clean and jerk had flat- lined by remaining the same 155 kg level established in 1993. Up until 1997 when the lady bar debuted on the international scene, both sexes used the same equipment. A bar with a smaller diameter for the smaller hands of the females, especially the little girls in the 46 - 59 kg classes, seemed appropriate. All of the other specifications of weight and dimension of the official equipment remained unchanged. When a number of factors are taken into account, practical experience clearly indicates the weaker sex has outgrown the shorter and smaller in diameter 15 kg bar. The realization in weightlifting sport that alterations in the competition equipment designed for the female lifter are needed is not a problem, but a reason for envy. Weightlifting has a long tradition in the development of scientifically based, sophisticated training methodology and exercise techniques. This development has created the conditions for female weightlifters to raise weights once reserved for only the world's strongest men. Consequently, the present circumstances are a tribute to the more than 100 year history of the technical expertise of weightlifting sport science.
© Copyright 2015 EWF Scientific Magazine. Calzetti & Mariucci. All rights reserved.

Subjects: weightlifting female sports equipment technique biomechanics competition rules and regulations analysis
Notations: strength and speed sports sports facilities and sports equipment
Published in: EWF Scientific Magazine
Published: 2015
Volume: 1
Issue: 2
Pages: 18-30
Document types: article
Language: English
Level: intermediate