Olympic Weightlifting is a dynamic sport in which power, strength, athleticism, and technique all come together to enable an athlete to lift maximum weight for a single repetition.  Athletes compete in 7 female weight classes (48, 53, 58, 63, 69, 75, 75+ kilograms) and 8 men’s classes (56, 62, 69, 77, 85, 94, 105, 105+ kilograms).  Weightlifting is governed locally by the Arizona LWC, Nationally by USA Weightlifting, and Internationally by the International Weightlifting Federation.

Snatch

The Snatch is the fastest and most technical movement in all of sports. The bar is taken from the floor to full arms’ length overhead in a single continuous movement. The bar may be received in a full squat, half squat, or split squat. The full squat is the most dominant style to receive the bar, it also allows for the most weight to be lifted. The best performers in the world can lift well over double their own bodyweight in this manner.

Demo – 114 kg (251lbs) Snatch by Craig Rintoul

Clean and Jerk

The clean and jerk is the King of the Olympic Lifts. It allows for even heavier weights to be lifted as it is completed in two stages. The athlete first lifts the bar from the ground to the shoulders in one motion (Clean). The clean can be received in a full squat, half squat or split squat. The bar is paused at the shoulders and then in a second motion driven overhead to arms length (Jerk). The jerk can be received as a Power Jerk (in a ¼ squat position) or the more traditional Split Squat (legs in a lunge position). Some lifters have achieved a weight equivalent to three times their own bodyweight, while the top super heavy weights are capable of lifting in excess of 250kg – over a quarter of a ton!

Rules of Olympic Weightlifting

In competition the lifter is given three attempts at each lift. The lifter is required to perform at least one of each attempt to post a total. A total is taken by adding the heaviest weight lifted in the Snatch and Clean and Jerk. A lifer whom misses all three snatches or all three clean and jerks will post no total and will be disqualified from medal contention.

The Snatch is performed first before the Clean and Jerk. The bar will start at the lightest weight and move up. The bar must be increased by a minimum of 2 kilograms from the first to second attempt. Between second and third attempts the bar can move up by a minimum of 1 kilogram. Once the weight has been announced the lifter has 1 minute to lift the bar past the knee. If a lifer is “following himself”, meaning that no one else is taking the same weight, the lifter will receive a 2 minute rest before he has to take his next attempt. Lifters announce at the weigh in what opening attempts they wish to start with. The lifter can change the weight up to 30 seconds before the lift is supposed to be performed.