Weight Lifting, Weightlifting or Olympic Weightlifting?
Officially, the sport is called weightlifting. However, at least in the United States, weightlifting is an obscure sport and activity, so the term weightlifting is rarely adequate to distinguish the sport of Olympic-style weightlifting from powerlifting or bodybuilding, or even from weight lifting in the gym for fitness and strength. This is why the term Olympic Weightlifting is so often used rather than simply weightlifting.
What Is Olympic Weightlifting?
The sport of weightlifting consists of two lifts: the snatch and the clean & jerk. In the snatch, the weightlifter lifts the barbell from the floor to overhead in a single movement. In the clean & jerk, the weightlifter lifts the barbell first from the floor to the shoulders (the clean) and then from the shoulders to overhead (the jerk).
In a competition, each weightlifter has three attempts in the snatch and three attempts in the clean & jerk. The weight of the best of each lifts is added to create the weightlifter's total, and the best total wins.
Olympic Weightlifting for Sports
The Olympic lifts, the snatch, clean and jerk, as well as variations such as the power snatch, power clean, power jerk, hang snatch, hang clean and more are often used by athletes to develop strength and explosiveness to improve performance in their sports.
How Do I Learn the Olympic Lifts?
The best way to learn the snatch and the clean & jerk is to work with a qualified weightlifting coach. Unfortunately, there are few weightlifting coaches and few weightlifting gyms in the US, so this is not always an option for new weightlifters. You can find coaches and weightlifting clubs on the USA Weightlifting website or view our affiliate gyms or certified coaches.
For new weightlifters who can't find local weightlifting coaches, there are weightlifting books and videos available that can help you learn the snatch and clean & jerk, as well as supplemental lifts like the back squat, front squat, press, push press and more. There is also a lot of free information on weightlifting and learning the Olympic lifts on the internet. This website has a lot of free weightlifting articles and videos.
Where Do I Train for Olympic Weightlifting?
Finding a gym that allows Olympic weightlifting and has the appropriate equipment, such as weightlifting platforms, proper barbells and bumper plates, can be nearly as difficult as finding a qualified weightlifting coach. You can find weightlifting clubs on the USA Weightlifting website or view our affiliate gyms or certified coaches.
Where Can I Find Olympic Weightlifting Training Programs and Workouts?
Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches contains information on designing weightlifting training programs as well as many sample programs. Catalyst Athletics also posts a daily weightlifting workout and weightlifting programs on the website.
How Do I Compete in Olympic Weightlifting?
In order to compete in Olympic weightlifting in the US, you need to be a current member of USA Weightlifting. You do not need to have a coach or be a member of a weightlifting team or club. You can find weightlifting competition schedules for your area both on the USA Weightlifting website and through your LWC.
It's a good idea to talk to a weightlifting coach or weightlifter to learn how weightlifting competition works. You can also get all the necessary weightlifting competition information in Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches.
How Do I Start an Olympic Weightlifting Team?
Weightlifting teams are governed by USA Weightlifting. You can read all about starting your own weightlifting team in this free article.