Weightlifting, also called Olympic weightlifting or Olympic-style weightlifting, is a sport in which participants attempt a maximum weight single lift of a barbell loaded with weight plates. The two lifts currently competed are the clean and jerk and the snatch. The compound word "weightlifting" is often used incorrectly to refer to weight training. In comparison with powerlifting which tests limit strength (with or without lifting aids), weightlifting tests ballistic limits with smaller weights such that the lifts must be executed more quickly and with more mobility because of a greater range of motion during the lifts. While there are relatively few competitive Olympic lifters, the lifts and their components are commonly used by elite athletes to train for explosive and functional strength.

Requirements of weightliftingEdit

Weightlifting requires power, technique, flexibility and consistency. A weightlifter's strength comes primarily from the legs, specifically the muscles of the quadriceps and posterior chain, and secondarily the back, anterior core, and shoulders. Weightlifting is a full body activity, but these muscles receive emphasis over the others within the body. Weightlifters need not necessarily be heavy, as they compete by weight classes.


The competitive sport is controlled by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). Based in Budapest, it was founded in 1905.

Competitors compete in one of eight (seven for women) divisions determined by their body mass. These classes are currently: men's: 56 kg (123.5 lb), 62 kg (136.7 lb), 69 kg (152.1 lb), 77 kg (169.8 lb), 85 kg (187.4 lb), 94 kg (207.2 lb), 105 kg (231.5 lb) and 105+ kg, and women's: 48kg (105.8 lb.), 53 kg (116.8 lb), 58 kg (127.8 lb), 63 kg (138.9 lb), 69 kg (152.1 lb), 75 kg (165.3 lb), and 75+ kg.[2] In each weight division, competitors compete in both the snatch and clean and jerk, and prizes are usually given for the heaviest weights lifted in the snatch, clean and jerk, and the two combined.

The order of the competition is up to the lifters—the competitor who chooses to attempt the lowest weight goes first. If they are unsuccessful at that weight, they have the option of reattempting that lift or trying a heavier weight later (after any other competitors have made attempts at that weight or any intermediate weights). Weights are set in 1 kilogram increments (previously 2.5kg increments), and each lifter can have a maximum of three lifts, regardless of whether lifts are successful or not.

The title "best lifter" is commonly awarded at local competitions. The award is based on the lifters' Sinclair Coefficients, which calculate strength-to-weight ratio of the lifters.[3] Typically, the winner of the heaviest weight class will have lifted the most weight, but a lifter in a lighter weight class will have lifted more in proportion to his bodyweight.

Lifters from Bulgaria, Korea, Romania, China, Iran, Greece, Turkey and Armenia are known for competing successfully at the international level.[citation needed]

Notable weightliftersEdit

  • Yury Vlasov (USSR) - 29 world records, Olympic gold (1960), silver (1964)
  • Andrei Chemerkin (Russia) - Olympic gold (1996), Olympic bronze (2000)
  • Waldemar Baszanowski (Poland) - Olympic gold (1964, 1968)
  • Vasiliy Alekseyev (USSR) - 80 world records, Olympic gold (1972, 1976)
  • Tommy Kono (United States) - 26 world records, Olympic gold (1952, 1956), Olympic silver (1960)
  • Galabin Boevski (Bulgaria) - current and all time 69 kg world record holder, and current best record lifter.
  • Hossein Rezazadeh (Iran) - current super-heavyweight world record holder, Olympic gold (2000, 2004)
  • Pyrros Dimas (Greece) - Olympic gold (1992, 1996, 2000), Olympic bronze (2004)
  • Naim Süleymanoğlu (Turkey) - 46 world records, Olympic gold (1988, 1992, 1996)
  • Kakhi Kakhiashvili (Greece) - Olympic gold (1992, 1996, 2000)
  • Halil Mutlu (Turkey) - 25 world records, Olympic gold (1996, 2000, 2004)
  • Norbert Schemansky (United States) - Olympic gold (1952), silver (1948), bronze (1960, 1964)
  • Ronny Weller (Germany, East Germany) - Olympic gold (1992), silver (1996, 2000), bronze (1988)
  • Nikolay Pechalov (Bulgaria, Croatia)- Olympic gold (2000), silver (1992), bronze (1996, 2004)
  • Leonid Taranenko (USSR) - Olympic gold (1980), silver (1992)
  • Tara Nott (United States) - Olympic gold (2000)
  • Chen Yanqing (China) - Olympic gold 58 kg (2004, 2008) - current olympic record holder (148kg clean and jerk, 126kg snatch, tot 244kg)
  • Yurik Vardanian (Armenia) - Olympic gold (1980), light-heavyweight record holder since 1980


The total record in the men's 56 kg class is 305 kg, in the 105+ kg class it is 472.5 kg.[4] The current official record for the clean and jerk in the men's +105 kg class is held by Hossein Rezazadeh of Iran, who clean and jerked 263.5 kg (580.9 lb) at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics. He snatched 213.0 kg (469.6 lb) in September 2003 at Qinhuangdao. Rezazadeh scored a record total of 472.5 kg at both the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2004 Athens Olympics. The current record for the clean and jerk in the women's 75+ kg class is held by Jang Mi-Ran of South Korea, who lifted 186 kg (410.07 lb) at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.[4]

Due to the restructuring of the competitive weight classes that took place in 1993 and 1998, the following lifts are no longer recognized as the official world records. However, these remain the highest figures ever posted in competition. Yevgeny Sypko lifted in the Druzhba Cup Meet, on March 4, 1990, at 130.65kg and snatched 216.5kg (477.3 lb), the highest competitive snatch in history, although it is not recognized as a world record because the meet wasn't officially drug tested. However, it did count as a Soviet Record. The heaviest 'official' snatch of all time is 216.0 kg (476.2 lb), lifted by Antonio Krastev of Bulgaria in 1987. That year Antonio's training produced a world record exceeding snatch of 222.5kg (490.5 lb). The heaviest clean and jerk of all time is 266.0 kg (586.4 lb) lifted by Leonid Taranenko in Canberra, Australia on November 26, 1988. In the same event, Taranenko set a world record of 475 kg (1047.2 lb) in the total.

See alsoEdit


  1. Cossel, Benjamin J. (March 25, 2004). "Soldiers help Iraq's heavy lifters. USAREUR Public Affairs.
  2. IWF Technical Rules (PDF). International Federation of Weightlifting. Retrieved on 2007-01-09.
  3. The Sinclair Coefficients for the Olympiad. International Federation of Weightlifting. Retrieved on 2007-01-09.
  4. 4.0 4.1 IWF World Records. International Federation of Weightlifting. Retrieved on 2008-08-18.

External linksEdit

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