Olympic Weightlifting


Competitions to determine who can lift the heaviest weight can be traced back to ancient civilizations of China, Greece and Egypt. The sport has evolved throughout the years from the ‘one hand’, split and press techniques to what we currently know of as the two competition lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk. Since the 1920s, weightlifting has been an Olympic event with the introduction of the weight categories in 1932 and women’s groups in 2000 (source: www.olympic.org).


Why should I do it?

To most people, this is not a very interesting spectator sport. I promise, however, that doing it is a lot more rewarding than watching it! Needless to say, my enthusiasm for the sport does not make me quite objective but here are some indisputable reasons to give it a try:

Effective training: Having tried different types of muscle training, I’ve yet to find anything as successful as Olympic weightlifting. During training more muscles are working and at higher intensity than conventional gym workouts leading to faster and greater results.

Muscle training and strength development: Olympic weightlifting is an ‘explosive’ form of training as opposed to endurance training such as long-distance running. Practising the Olympic lifts engages every muscle in the body. The little muscles that help us to balance and stabilise are all involved too. Teaching your body to fire all these muscles at once is the most efficient way to build strength- the kind of strength you need to offset a largely sedentary daily routine or cope with a physically demanding lifestyle.

Fewer injuries: To the untrained eye, Olympic weightlifting seems to invite physical injury. However, compared to other forms of weight training, it actually has a much lower injury rate. Adopting the right technique minimises risk and makes this sport very safe.

If your aim is to get stronger, fitter and flexible, Olympic weightlifting is your sport. It will help you develop core strength, improve motor coordination and increase speed. I promise you won’t end up looking like those bulky-shaped athletes you see in the Olympics (unless you want to!). They compete in high weight classes and have built their bodies accordingly. Lighter competitors are in amazing physical shape and you can be too. Try training their way and see how quickly Olympic lifting can transform your body and mind.