What is Weightlifting?

Weightlifting is a competitive strength sport which involves two lifts in competition:


Clean and Jerk

Weightlifting is in the Olympics and is also known as Olympic Weightlifting.

Can I be a weightlifter?

To be a Weightlifter you have to be able to do snatch and clean and jerk. More and more people are learning these lifts in gyms and CrossFit boxes. They are not easy though and take practise but can be mastered with time and effort.

How do I train to be a weightlifter?

Weightlifters train to be as strong as possible in the two competition lifts. They do not train for a specific body look and do not have to cut their body fat to a low level, as say bodybuilders do. In fact weightlifters have big appetites and love to eat. 

In the gym weightlifters practise the two competition lifts and exercises to get stronger and improve mobility. 

What happens in competition?

Athletes get three attempts at each of the two competition lifts, snatch and clean and jerk. The heaviest weight lifted in each goes to make up the lifter’s total. The lifters with the highest totals in each class win gold, silver or bronze medals.

Who will I compete against?

It doesn’t matter how large or small, old or young you are. There are different body weight classes and age categories so you will compete against people of a similar age and size to you.

The lightest body weight categories are under 45 kg (99 lb) for women and under 59 kg (121 lb) for men. 

There are age categories for Juniors (15-20) Seniors (15-35) and for lifters aged 35+ Masters (M35, M40, M45, M50, M55, M60, M65, M70)

Do I have to belong to a club?

No. You can enter competition as a member of a club or as an unaffiliated lifter. You can train by yourself, with a trainer or at a club. 

Do I need any equipment?

To train you need a gym with barbell, plates and a weightlifting platform. Most weightlifters train at specialist though as many commercial gyms don’t like noise of weights hitting the ground. 

But to compete you don’t need much at all, you just have to wear regulation kit: a singlet, a t-shirt, socks and footwear. Most athletes also choose to wear additional specialist items such as weightlifting shoes or a weightlifting belt. 

What levels of competition are there?

The lowest level of competition, which anyone can enter, are local club meets and regional competitions (these are usually quarterly).

To qualify for higher level competitions you have to lift a qualifying total. These are set each year for each level of competition by sex, body weight and age. 

Above the regional level there are national championships, European championships world championships every year and the Olympics every four years.