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USA Weightlifting

What is the (Transformative) Sport of Weightlifting?   It's Where the Strongest Men & Women in the World Come to Compete 

 The Greatest Test of Strength and Power on Earth

Olympic-style weightlifting, or officially “Weightlifting” is the style of weightlifting contested at the Olympic Games. The events of weightlifting, or “lifts”, test virtually all of the muscles in an athlete’s body (including but not limited to, the legs, the back. the shoulders, the arms, the grip and the core) - more muscles than any other single sport. And because the lifts are performed more widely than any other strength and power testing events in the world with standardized rules, with no assistive equipment, the World and Olympic Champions in the sport of Weightlifting have earned the right to the title of the strongest men and women in the world.

The Basic Rules

Weightlifting competition is conducted in eight bodyweight categories for the men, ranging from 56 kg. (123.46 lb.) to 105+ kg.( over 231.49 lb.), and seven bodyweight categories for the women, ranging from 48kg. (105.82 lb.) to 75+kg. (over 165.35 lb.). There are also age related competitions for athletes 13 and under, and as old as 85 and above. Consequently, athletes are always able to compete with athletes their own age, size and gender.

Weightlifting consists of two events – the Snatch, and the Clean and Jerk (C&J). In competition, each athlete is permitted three “attempts” in each lift. The highest weights successfully lifted by each athlete in each event comprise the athlete’s “Total”. The athlete with the highest total is the overall winner of the competition (in some competitions – e.g., World’s Championships, titles are awarded in the individual lifts as well as the total).

The First Event – The Snatch

The first event in Weightlifting competition is called the Snatch. The term comes from the French word “arrache” and means to seize something suddenly. This lift is done with tremendous power and speed, the bar being lifted from the floor to arms length overhead in one motion, a motion which generally takes less than a second. Amazingly, the heaviest male weightlifters in the world are able to snatch more than 210kg. (nearly 500 lb). It takes a truly strong person to even move 500 lb. from the floor, yet these incredible athletes lift such weights overhead – in a flash! And even men in the lightest bodyweight category, who weigh barely 120 lb. can elevate more than 137kg. (300 lb.) in this lift!

Not to be outdone by much, women in their heaviest bodyweight category, lift more than 147kg. (more than 325 lb.) in the snatch. And even the lightest women (who weight less than 110 lb.) can snatch more than double their bodyweights (98 kg. – nearly 220lb)! To see a video of a snatch lift,please click here. Sequence photos are provided below.

Rachel Crass, 90kg Snatch; photo credit Bruce Klemens      http://www.flickr.com/photos/bklemens/sets/72157624456472718/

The Second Event –The Clean and Jerk (C&J)

The Clean and Jerk is the second lift in Weightlifting competition and is the one in which the most weight can be lifted. In this event, the barbell is lifted overhead in two continuous motions – the clean, which brings the bar to the shoulders, and the jerk, in which the athlete raises the bar overhead.

Here too, the weights handled by the world’s best lifters are incredible, with the heaviest male weightlifters in the world able to C&J more than 260 kg.(nearly 600 lb), and even men in the lightest bodyweight category approaching 400 lb. in this lift! Similarly, the women in their heaviest bodyweight category C&J more than 400 lb., and even the lightest women are approaching nearly 300 lb. To see a video of the C&J lift, please click here. Sequence photos are provided below.

Matt Bruce, 186 kg Clean and Jerk;  photo credit Bruce Klemens      http://www.flickr.com/photos/bklemens/sets/72157622601404155/

Most Amazing of All – Weightlifters Get Strong The Old Fashioned Way – They Earn It

Perhaps the most amazing thing about weightlifting is that the vast majority of its champions began with no special level of strength. The training for the sport brings about phenomenal increases in strength and power that are unequalled by any other form of athletic training. Weightlifters, through their advanced application of progressive resistance exercise, and advanced lifting techniques, are literally able to transform themselves from ordinary people to supermen and superwomen! And because of the stringent drug testing that takes place in and out of weightlifting competitions, especially in the US, we are proud to say that our US weightlifters are drug free, and we can prove it.