What You Need to Know About Olympic Weightlifting

Jul 24, 2017


Similar to traditional lifting, Olympic weightlifting is a form of competition where athletes perform specific fitness feats. However, the Olympic-style event includes only two lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk. Big Blue Strength, an elite CrossFit® gym in Lexington, KY, offers a variety of weightlifting programs, including one-on-one coaching and competitive events. To understand Olympic weightlifting, they recommend mastering the two moves and the basic rules of the sport.

Basic Rules

Competitors have three chances to complete each lift. A time limit of one minute means the athlete must lift the barbell past their knees before they are disqualified. Both the snatch and the clean and jerk are performed in front of three referees. Two out of three judges must agree whether an attempt is a “good lift” or a “no lift” to determine whether a competitor may advance. Men can compete in one of eight weight categories, while women are eligible for seven.

The Snatch

The snatch is always the first event in an Olympic weightlifting competition. It is also considered to be the more difficult move. A weighted barbell is set on the ground directly in front of the athlete. They must lift the weights from the floor to above their head in a single, fluid motion. Once the weight is overhead, competitors must keep their arms straight and locked. Bent elbows disqualify the attempt.

The Clean & Jerk

While the snatch is one single movement, the clean and jerk combines two steps. Once again, a weighted barbell is laid before the contestant. The first motion, called the clean, requires the athlete to bring the barbell from the floor to their shoulders while they are in a squat position. They must then extend their legs to stand straight. To complete the second half of the move, known as the jerk, the athlete must raise the bar over their head with their arms fully extended.

Olympic weightlifting is a competition that requires exceptional strength and precision. Working with a strength training expert can help you achieve success in both events. If you are interested in the sport, join the team at Big Blue Strength. They are the only active weightlifting club in the Lexington-Fayette County area and the only CrossFit gym that includes a full Pilates studio. Their pursuit of excellence ensures results. For more information, visit their website or call (859) 537-8032 today.