Competition Warm Up

When to start warming up in a Weightlifting competition?? Every time I go to meet I see lifters doing their warm um too soon..way too soon..I even witnessed a lifter who competed in the afternoon starting warming up 2-3 hours before lifting time. When and how is the right time to start warming up? Let’s  first take a look  to the previous week ;

We use the Soviet system (high Volume) and train 6 times a week (twice a day if the lifter has the time). Our heaviest day is day 6 which is when our lifters are the most tired. We do this because we train under fatigue conditions.

On day 6 of the previous week we go up to 90% of best lift for a single(both snatch and C&J).

We try in the last weeks to schedule our lifting days so the day of the meet would be day 6 and also try to lift at the time we’ll compete always considering time zone changes.

That last week we call competition modelling and do everything we’ll do in the meet(use same singlet, shoes,etc)

Day 1 of Competition modelling lifts doubles and singes up to 85% (about 15 – 18 snatches and C&Js)

Day 2 of competition modelling week lifts up to 75% in snatch and c&J(15-18 reps)

Day 3 of competition modelling week lifts up to 70% in Both snatch and c&J (15-18 reps)

Day 4 of competition modelling week lifts up to 65% in Both snatch and c&J (15-18 reps)

Day 5 of competition modelling week lifts up to 55% in Both snatch and c&J (15 reps)

Every day of the week our lifters do 5 sets of 3 with empty bar both snatch  and C&J. We call it Technique Shadowing.


Never ever declare your actual opening attempts and never give out this info when asked..remember you are COMPETING…and will do your best to win…

The best time to start warming up is when we have 15 attempts left for the opener.

Counting attempts is key to have a successful day..don’t start warming up when you have 25-30 attempts to opener.

Exercises for warm up:

We use a Bulgarian style type of Warm up (ballistic);

10 back squats with bar 10 presses 10 good mornings 10 snatch grip dead lifts 10 jumps with bar. Power snatches, full stanches ,etc

If my lifters best in snatch is 100 Kg  then the weights would be 50×3 60×3 70×3 80×2 85×1 90×1

The first attempt (if the lifter trained properly) according the Soviet system should be 94% then 97% and look a new PR 102-103% for the Clean and jerk the same applies and less repetitions can be done in the warm up with lower weights(doubles no triples)If there’s wait due to missed lifts from other lifters, weight change etc some power liftsLG I with 65% or 70% would do fine.

Important to drink plenty of fluids……


Risto Lifter Jessica Weisman Silver Medal Masters Pan Ams 2015

This past weekend Jessica Weisman and myself attended the 2015 Pan Ams (masters) in Savannah, GA. Jessica has been training with me since last September and has improved greatly.

She came with 60 Kg in Snatch and 80 Kg in Kg. At the Pan Ams she lifted 75 Kg in Snatch and 86 Kg in Kg, missing the Jerk with 90 Kg. Her best lifts are 77 Kg in snatch and 88 Kg in C&J.

Jessica competed in the 69 Kg class Masters cat 35-39 years of age.

Her lifts are enough to qualify for Senior Nationals. It’s amazing how Jessica having competing only at local level went straight to the International platform (never nationals).

Congratulations Champ…

Jessica wears her Tiburon II shoes.Jessica Pan Ams

Coach Ivan head Coach of Team Panama for Toronto 2015

Coach Ivan is the Coach of team Panama for the 2015 Pan American games in Toronto. The lifters in the team are : Rocio Navarro Female 69Kg and Ariel Batista Male 69Kg. Both lifters have a lot of International experience.

Rocio has been training with us since February and Ariel arrived to Eliot, Maine last Saturday.

We expect great results from these lifters.rociothese amazing lifters.

2014 Top 10 Risto Sports Moments


1. LG Makes National under13 Team, Youngest ever to Compete at the American Open,  wins international competition, in Muscle and Fitness

Gwendolyn Rojas, AKA LG, of Risto Sports hit  the national scene and was on fire all 2014!  She won the 11&under and 13&under Golds for girls 44kg.  She subsequently was ranked #1 in the country for all 13 &under Girls.  She then won the 13&under JR international tournament at the US Olympic Training Center. Finally, she made history as the YOUNGEST LIFTER EVER to compete at the American Open! To top that all off, she was featured in Muscle and Fitness :


2. Coach Ivan Rojas is National Coach of Girls 13 and Under Team

Risto Sports’ very own Coach Ivan Rojas was named USA Weightlifting Coach of the national 13 and Under girls weightlifting team that competed at an international competition at the US Olympic Training Center.

Coach Ivan Rojas working with Commmonwealth Games Champion Maryam Usman

3. Risto Sports training system Maryam Usman wins Commonwealth Games in weightlifting

Maryam Usman of Nigeria is a world Weightlifting Championships medalist in women’s 75+kg . She spent several months training at Risto Sports at the end of 2013, learning our system.  Her training paid off as she won the 2014 Commonwealth Games. She edged out the former champion, Ele Opelege , for the gold.  The commonwealth games is only second to the Olympics in its relative importance to Commonwealth Countries.

Champion weightlifter Maryam Usman training at Risto Sports

4. Dmitry Klokov lifts in the Risto Tiburon Weightlifting Shoes at the Risto Olympia Cup

World Champion and Olympic medalist, the Russian Sensation, Dmitry Klokov made a guest appearance at the First Ever Weightlifting competition at the Mr Olympia: The Risto Olympia Cup.  He gave free demonstrations and signings everyday at the Olympia Cup, and he gave out the awards to the Champions. He also brought along Igor Zapirov; elite gymnast, guiness bok of world records holder, and Cirque Du Soleil acrobat. Igor gave his first ever lifting appearance at the Risto Olympia Cup.

Dmitry did the  entire weekend in his very own pair of Risto Tiburon weightlifting shoes, which are now for sale at

Dmitry Klokov in Risto Tiburon weightlifting shoes

5. Risto Sports weightlifting shoes rated number 1 by Breaking Muscle magazine

Risto Sports has many stellar reviews by independent bloggers and websites.  Breaking Muscle did something unique where it did a side by study over several weeks with several different brands of weightlifting shoes.  They ranked Risto Sports as the number 1 weightlifting shoe for weightlifting and CrossFit. A big compliment from the study’s subjects is “People did not really think about their shoes while lifting when they wore the Ristos. Probably the best compliment I have heard.”.  Read it here :

Risto Olimpico Pink weightlifting shoe

Risto Olimpico Pink weightlifting shoe, weight lifting shoe, crossfit shoe

6. Two time World Champion, Neysi Dejomes selects Risto Sports as training camp site

Neysi Dejomes is a Two Time IWF World Youth Weightlifting Champion. She has even medaled at the Junior world Championships. She is only 15years old, so she is too young to compete at the Senior World Championships.  This phenomenal lifter and her coach selected Risto Sports ‘ Training Center in Eliot, Maine to be there training site.   She is training December 2014 through February 2015 for her next slew of international competitions. Neysi is from
Ecuador; she lifts in the Risto Olimpico Pink weightlifting shoes.

Neysi Dejomes, world weightlifting champion, risto weightliftng shoes

Winning the world championships in her Risto weightlifting shoes

7. Gwen Breaks the 200kg mark, ranked number 1 in country

Risto sports lifter, Gwendolyn Sisto once again proves the Risto Sports training system works , even for people who have a fulltime job.  Gwen hit a major career milestone.  She snatched 88kg as a 63kg which is one of the top 3 highest snatches in the country for 63kg’s.

108kg Clean and Jerk, Gwen Sisto, Risto Sports weightlifting shoes

Gwendolyn Sisto making a successful 108kg clean and jerk at the Risto Olympia Cup in 2014 in her risto weightlifting shoes

To really make progress, she made the tough decision of lifting as a 69kg.  In September 2014, she lifted 200kg at the Risto Olympia Cup, which was the top total in the country at a USAW sanctioned competition from January 1, 2014 until that time.  She lifted it again in October at the Ginny Robinson Memorial.  She was ranked Number 1 on the startlist for the 2014 American Open for Women’s 69kg.  Unfortunately, due to a terrible elbow injury she had to withdraw after only 1 lift.  With only her first attempt in the snatch completed, she still won a National Medal. Gwen is clearly able to reinvent herself and develop new strengths so wish this badass luck on her road to recovery.


Gwen’s 200kg Total was the best in the country for 3/4’s of 2014!


8. Mike O’Hearn, 7 time Mr Natural Universe gives Workshop at Risto Sports  

Mike O’Hearn is routinely on the cover of major publications. He has graced the cover of over 500 magazine issues, many in the bodybuilding industry. Risto Sports had the amazing opportunity to continue to work with this Legend of the Fitness industry.  He has even served as a brand ambassador for Risto sports in the past.

Mike gave a free workshop to throngs of his fans at Risto Sports ‘ headquarters in Eliot, Maine (Boston metro area).  He even brought Stryker with him, his famous Siberian Huskey and sidekick. Many had the chance to glean new wisdoms from Mike as he generously shared his wealth of experience.

Mike O'Hearn and the Risto Team with Stryker

Mike O’Hearn, Gwendolyn Rojas, Gwendolyn Sisto, Elio Guerra, Ivan Rojas, and Stryker

9. Vanessa Quinones medals at Pan Am Championships

Vanessa Quinones of Colombia trained at Risto Sports for several months.  She competed at the 2014 Arnold weightlifting championships where she placed only second to Lydia Valentin.  Her performance put her on the Colombian National Team. She then competed at the 2014 Pan Am Championships where she medaled. She competes in the 53kg weight class.

Vanessa Quinones Clean and Jerk sequence in her Risto weightlifting shoes

Vanessa Quinones Clean and Jerk sequence in her Risto weightlifting shoes


 10. Risto Sports holds first ever Weightlifting competition at the Mr Olympia Expo

2014 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Mr Olympia.  It was also historic in that the first ever weightlifting competition would appear at the Mr. Olympia Expo.  Guess who got the contract to put on a world class event there– Risto Sports.  Risto Sports held the first inaugural Risto Olympia Cup, gave out awesome prizes from massive sponsors- , MetRX, Again Faster, NewGrip to name a few.

Gwen Sisto, Dmitry Klokov, and LG (Gwendolyn Rojas) at the Risto Olympia Cup

Gwen Sisto, Dmitry Klokov, and LG (Gwendolyn Rojas) at the Risto Olympia Cup

National Youth Champion to Compete for Team USA today, webcast!

Gwendolyn Rojas, of Risto Sports, will compete today for Team USA. She competed at her first Youth Nationals, ever, in June, where she won both the 11&under and 13&under 44kg weight classes.

Her total at Youth Nationals ranked her NUMBER 1 , overall, in the entire USA for 13&under girls.

Her coach, Ivan Rojas, of Risto Sports, was appointed the Coach of the 13&Under Girls National Team.

You can watch her win gold for Team USA, today, October 17, 2014, at 4PM EST at this link:

This is an International competition and is sanctioned by the IWF. IT is being held at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO.

Watch LG snatching over bodyweight and winning Nationals


Response to Gwen’s video from 2013 nationals by a member of the IWF technical committee

This is the response to the video I sent to Mr. Diego Martinez, member of the technical committee of the IWF.

Hi Ivan, as you know judging a lift at the time of execution depends on many   factors   , factors such as the lights, shadows, judge experience, fatigue among others, the video of a lift is not recommended to give a good opinion, since the reproduction frame by frame it’s a bit slower than the human eye and in most cases the lifts are seen as not valid lifts.

Moreover, in the video you send me it  is a bit difficult to see well both arms because it was taken from a diagonal and not straight, but I do see that she makes a motion with her shoulder and the elbow of that arm which I see it’s hyper extended. From what   I’ve seen in the video   I DON’T SEE, any fault in the movement. The anatomy of the shoulder and the elbow anatomy might have made seen the judges something to judge it as not valid.

Technical Committee


  • Sam COFFA



  • Reiko CHINEN


  • Alexander KURLOVICH


  • Abdullah AL JARMAL


  • Shakhrillo MAKHMUDOV


  • Stephen CANNON


  • Diego MARTINEZ


How we Trained Colombian lifter Vanessa Quinonez to compete at the Arnold 2014

Vanessa Quinonez of Colombia competed in the Junior Weightlifting World Championships in 2013 in Lima, Peru. Her results were 78 kg in Snatch and 98 kg in C & J in the 58 Kg weight class.

Vanessa arrived in the USA in January  and trained under coach Ivan’s directions for 7 weeks. The weather wasn’t the best as we saw below zero temperatures several times and alas lots of snow.

Getting Vanessa used to this drastic change of weather was our first task. A good dosage of vitamin C was given to her on a daily basis and we made sure she was constantly well bundle up.

In the first week we noticed the technical areas we had to focus on: Vanessa jumped backwards in the snatch, didn’t complete the pull and the very important phase of the bar passing the knee wasn’t as we wanted to be.

Her leg strength wasn’t enough to increase results so we needed to increase her 135 kg max back squat to 145 kg .

She was used to train with high intensity and also medium high intensity, but hasn’t worked much with strictly high volume and under fatigue condition.

To adjust her technical flaws we did a lot of work with an empty bar having her perform lots of snatches on the gym floor with her heels butted against the edges of the platform. Lots of pulls with empty bar from below her knees to her tights paying attention to having her curl her wrists inside.

Another drill we did was to do a lot of snatches ad cleans with empty bar standing on a 2 x 4 piece of wood.

The above exercises and drills were mostly for the Snatch. For the Jerk we did tons of reps with empty bar having the bar at chin level and finish the jerk.

To get any respectable results and have a shot to win the Arnold we needed to get the following lifts:

Back Squat 145 Kg

3 Front squats with 105 Kg to 110 Kg

Power Snatch 65 kg to 70 kg

Power Clean 80 g to 82 kg

Since we knew she would compete on a Sunday we decided to work on 2 daily sessions as follows;

Tuesday to Sunday. Day off Monday

10:00 AM Squats and Snatch pulls

12:30 Lunch

6:00   Snatch and C & J exercises

Technical drills

For supplementation she took pre and post workout protein shakes, Arginine, creatine, Vitamin B and Vitamin c, carnitine. Nutrition was based in lean meats, dairy, eggs, rice and fruits (must admit she loves chocolate).

Prior to the Arnold she competed at the Atlantic States Open where she took the best lifter award with these lifts:

Snatch 70 kg, 75 kg and 80 kg

C & J     90 kg, 95 kg and 100 kg

This meet was the only time we went really heavy as most of the time the lifts were within 70% to 85%

At the Arnold the only competition we face was Olympian Lydia Valentin who finished winning the first place and Vanessa won the 2nd place.

Her lifts were:

Snatch  77 kg  81 kg 81 kg

C & J     100 kg 105 kg 107 kg (missed the jerk)

Total     186 kg @ 54 kg of body weight.

The following is the chart of the numbers of repetitions in the different intensity zones:


WEEK 1 113 REPS 110 REPS 162 REPS 48 REPS 437 REPS 70% – 80% 85%
WEEK 2 96 REPS 96 REPS 140 REPS 37 REPS 370 REPS 75% – 85% 90%
WEEK 3 132 REPS 132 REPS 193 REPS 50 REPS 508 REPS 75% – 90% 90%
WEEK 4 112 REPS 112 REPS 193 REPS 43 REPS 431 REPS 75% – 92% 95%
WEEK 5 122 REPS 127 REPS 203 REPS 54 REPS 506 REPS 80% – 87% 95%
WEEK 6 107 REPS 112 REPS 169 REPS 48 REPS 436 REPS 83% – 85% 95%
WEEK 7 103 REPS 107 REPS 120 REPS 30 REPS 360 REPS 75% – 100%/105% 85%
TOTAL 785 REPS 796 REPS 1180 REPS 310 REPS 3048 REPS





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