Weightlifting is a competitive strength sport that involves lifting heavy barbells loaded with weight plates. It is also commonly referred to as Olympic weightlifting or Olympic-style weightlifting. The sport consists of two main lifts: the snatch and the clean and jerk. Weightlifting may seem a simple sport, but it demands supreme physical and mental control. Lifting more than twice his/her bodyweight from the floor to above the head is not just about mobilising every muscle in the body. To achieve this feat of explosive power requires absolute focus, superb technique and a fighting spirit.In the snatch, the weight is lifted in one continuous motion and the lifter stands motionless, arms and legs extended, with feet in line. In the clean and jerk the lifter first lifts the weight on to the chest (clean), then extends the arms and legs, with feet once more in line (jerk). When the barbell is lifted, the elbows must not be bent and there should be no imbalance in the extension of the arms.
If the barbell is dropped before a signal to do so, the lift is considered a fail. Referees will also penalise failure to start a lift within the allocated time or touching the platform with any part of the body other than th soles of the feet. Each lifter is allowed three attempts at the snatch and three attempts at the clean and jerk. Their best lift in each is combined to determine their overall result (total). If an athlete fails to make a valid lift with any of their three attempts in the snatch, they are eliminated from the competition and cannot proceed to the clean and jerk.
In comparison with other strength sports, which test limit strength (with or without lifting aids), weightlifting tests aspects of human ballistic limits (explosive strength); the lifts are therefore executed faster—and with more mobility and a greater range of motion during their execution—than other strength movements.
The snatch is performed by lifting the barbell from the floor to an overhead position in one smooth and continuous motion. The lifter starts with the barbell on the ground and uses explosive power to bring it to a fully extended position overhead, with locked arms and stable footing.
The clean and jerk consists of two distinct movements. The first part, the clean, involves lifting the barbell from the floor to the shoulders. The lifter pulls the barbell explosively and catches it in a racked position on the shoulders. The second part, the jerk, involves driving the barbell overhead by extending the arms while splitting or squatting under the bar to catch it in an overhead position.
Weightlifting requires a combination of strength, power, speed, flexibility, and technique. Competitions are organized by weight class, and athletes aim to lift the heaviest weight possible in each lift. Weightlifting has been an Olympic sport since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and continues to be a popular and prestigious event in the Olympic program.
In addition to the competitive aspect, weightlifting is also practiced as a form of strength training and exercise by individuals looking to improve their overall fitness, increase muscle mass, and enhance athletic performance.