April 19, 2019
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Weightlifting 101

What is Olympic weightlifting?

The term weightlifting is often thrown around in the US to define anything that involves lifting weights. However, Olympic Weightlifting is a barbell sport that consists of two lifts: the Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. The Snatch requires the lifter to lift the barbell from the floor to the overhead position in one swift movement. The Clean & Jerk is a two-part movement that first requires the lifter to lift the bar from the floor to the shoulders, (the Clean) and then lift the bar from the shoulders to the overhead position (the Jerk).

The Snatch is the first of two contested movements performed in competition. Each Weightlifter has three attempts in the Snatch and three for the Clean & Jerk. The best lift of the two movements are added together to create a total. There are three chances at a medal: best Snatch, best Clean & Jerk, and best total.

The Olympic lifts in other sports.

It’s not uncommon to see other sports implement Olympic Lifting into their training regime, considering the snatch is the most powerful movement in sports. Power variations like the Power Clean, Power Snatch, and Power Jerk are great tools for strength & power development that can improve performance in almost any sport.

Best way to learn the Olympic Lifts.

While it’s possible to be a self-taught lifter, the best way to learn the Olympic Lifts is to work with a qualified weightlifting coach. The official USAW website ( has a directory with all the USAW certified coaches in each state. There are also a lot of great books and videos available for free on the internet if you find yourself in the middle of nowhere with no qualified coaches.

Where can I go to train?

Independent weightlifting gyms are scarce in the US. Fortunately for you, with the rise in popularity of CrossFit and their implementation of Weightlifting in their programming, most CrossFit gyms have all the necessary equipment for a weightlifter to train. This includes CrossFit 1401 located in West Palm Beach.

How do I compete in weightlifting?

You don’t need to have a coach or be affiliated with a weightlifting club to compete in a competition. To compete in a weightlifting meet in the US, you need to have a current USAW membership. USAW is the governing body in the US, internationally it’s the IWF. The official USAW website also has a schedule of competitions throughout the year per state.

For more information about CrossFit 1401 and their Olympic Weightlifting classes and training programs, check out our Olympic Weightlifting Page.