What is Olympic Weightlifting?

O boy, where do we even begin?




Technically speaking Olympic weightlifting otherwise known as weightlifting or Olympic style weightlifting or the most poetic way one could take said barbell and hoist it above one's head.


But before we can talk about the sport as it is today, I think it's only right to go back to the beginning and start with a little history.


1896 - Athens the first time we see lifters compete in one and two-handed lifts. No weight classes and points given and taken away on style.



(to be honest, it was a bit of a shambles ten lifts people bringing their own barbells and weights so we will jump forwards a little)


1928 - weight classes established in previous games and out with the one-handed lifts. Lifters tested in the Snatch, Clean and Jerk and the clean and press. This represents a definite style that stuck until the 70's


1952 - Those sneaky Russians analysed the success of their lifters developed a periodisation model for training. The soviet lifters turn up and destroy everyone in 1960. Leo Matveyev aka the father of periodisation.





Psssst........ you....... yes you. There's a reason why the greatest athletes on the planet organise their training into specific phases.....the reasons is because it bloody works!


1963 - Eleiko be careful though that word is an aphrodisiac to lifters. Eleiko shows up with a barbell that can last an entire comp with bending breaking or cracking.


2200mm of only the finest Swedish steel finished in chrome ability to handle 1500 goddam kilos....warranty lifetime. Your wrong I wasn't fantasising about getting one, but I might take mine out the rack and hold her for a while.


1969 - Abadijev name Bulgrias head coach. Destruction of the soviet and well just about every other Lifter imminent. Abadijev walks into, actually, should I say kicks the bloody doors off the school of champions. Shits gonna change round here we Bulgrains aren't a bunch of puss boy's like the rest of the world not only are we doing seven sessions a day anything less than 90% is not accepted. He develops what can only be classed as the most dominate weightlifting system to grace this green earth of yet, and it worked the Bulgarians went on to set some of the most insane feats of strength in the Olympic lifting world.




Ivan Abadijiev is probably one of my favourite weightlifting coaches of all time 9 Olympic champions 57 world champions and 64 European champions all from a country that has a population smaller than greater London. Still, I'd advise against copying the program he wasn't nicknamed the butcher for no reason the system is extremely taxing.


1972 - The clean and press deem too dangerous for athletes so removed from competition, and there we have it the competition as we know it today just the two lifts - the Snatch and the clean and Jerk.


The Snatch

The barbell is centred horizontally on the competition platform. The Lifter takes the start position behind the barbell facing the officials. The Lifter grips the barbell and bends at the knees. The barbell is gripped, palms downward and pulled in a single movement from the platform to the full extent of both arms above the head, while either splitting or bending the legs. During this continuous movement, upward the barbell remains close to the body and may slide along the legs. No part of the body other than the feet may touch the platform during the execution of the Snatch. The Lifter may recover in their own time, either from a split or a squat position. The lifted weight must be maintained in the final motionless position, with both arms and legs fully extended and feet on the same line and parallel to the plane of the trunk and the barbell. The Lifter waits for the Referees' signal to replace the barbell on the competition platform. The Referees give the signal to lower the barbell as soon as the Lifter becomes motionless in all parts of the body.




The Clean & Jerk

The first part, the Clean:

The barbell is centred horizontally on the competition platform. The Lifter takes the start position behind the barbell facing the officials. The Lifter grips the barbell and bends at the knees. The barbell is gripped, palms downwards and pulled in a single movement from the platform to the shoulders, while either splitting or bending the legs. During this continuous movement, upward the barbell remains close to the body and may slide along the legs. The barbell must not touch the chest before

it stops at the final position either on the clavicles, chest or on fully bent arms. The Lifter's feet must return to the same line, and the legs must be fully extended before starting the Jerk. No part of the body other than the feet may touch the platform during the execution of the Clean.


The second part, the Jerk:

The Lifter must become motionless after the clean and before starting the Jerk. The Lifter bends and then dynamically extends the legs to move the barbell upwards in one motion to the full extension of the arms while lowering the body under the barbell and either splitting or bending the legs. The Lifter then returns the feet to the same line parallel to the plane of the trunk and the barbell with both arms and legs fully extended. The Lifter waits for the referees' signal to replace the barbell on the competition platform.




The competition


Each Lifter is allowed three attempts at each of the lifts. With the heaviest weight secured within competition rules from each lift added together to give the Lifter a total. The Lifter with the highest total win's the competition. If a lifter is unsuccessful in all attempts in either one of the disciplines, then he or she bombs out of the competition and cannot place.

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There's only one way to finish this post, and that's with my favourite Lifter.

Klokov - Purely for the reason that it was this video -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwYbiZwbkuY that inspired me to learn Olympic weightlifting I mean does anything else really need to be said.




https://britishweightlifting.org/resources/technical-competition-rules-and-regulations-2018.pdf