What is weightlifting?

Weightlifting (also known as Olympic lifting) refers to the competitive sport in which both male and female athletes test their strength in two lifts; The Snatch and the Clean and Jerk.

The Snatch
The first of the two tested lifts, the snatch is performed by pulling the barbell from the floor to arms length above the head in one continuous motion.

The Clean and Jerk
The clean and jerk is performed after the snatch and involves lifting the barbell firstly to the shoulders in one movement, and then punching the barbell above the head.

There are many benefits to all resistance training methods (term given to a training method that uses some form of external resistance) but weightlifting in particular tends to have some distinct advantages:
– Improved power and co-ordination
– Increased sporting performance and athletic ability
– Higher energy output due to the dynamic total body nature of the lifts so a great way to stay in shape
– Engaging, fun and challenging method of training
– And most importantly – increased AWESOMENESS!

So where do I start?


Performing the snatch and clean and jerk involves stages of sequential lifts and each stage needs to be executed properly if the lift is to be completed as optimally as possible. So let’s break these down into greater detail:

Starting Position:
The first thing to be aware of is each person will address the bar slightly differently due to their height, lever length, strengths and preferred style.
• Place feet about hip width apart and step to the bar so it is over the balls of your feet
• Leave your hips in the air and reach down to grip the bar using a hookgrip
• Straighten up your back, pull the slack out of the bar and pull yourself down to position

(Hookgrip – 1st & 2nd finger holding thumb)

(Where the bar should roughly be looking straight down)

(Start position snatch – side view)

(Start position snatch – front view)

(Start position clean – side view)

(Start position clean – front view)

Lift off (1st Pull):
• During the first part of the lift, the bar will shift slightly towards your shins as it is raised from the ground to your knees
• Whilst keeping your lats contracted, maintain a consistent torso angle by using hip and knee extension simultaneously
• Your balance will shift from the front of your feet to the rear which will allow your shoulders to be over the bar (Unless starting with a more bow legged approach where the shoulders will end up directly over the bar)

(Bow legged snatch position – side view)

(Bow legged snatch – front view)

(1st pull snatch – side view)

(1st pull snatch – front view)

(1st pull clean – side view)

(1st pull clean – font view)

Scoop (Transition):
• As the hamstrings will be fully loaded at the end of the 1st pull, extend the hips and drive the knees under the bar bringing your torso to a more upright position
• Balance will shift back to the front of the foot but ensure your feet remain flat on the floor during this phase

(Scoop phase snatch – front view)

(Scoop phase clean – side view)

Jump phase (2nd Pull):
• Keeping your shoulders over the bar as long as possible, continue to extend the hips but not the feet until the barbell contacts your pelvis/lower abdomen (snatch) or upper thigh (clean)
• EXPLODE upwards with as much effort as possible violently extending your hip, knee and ankle joints
• Shrug your shoulders up as aggressively as possible to ensure maximal height on the bar is reached

(Jump snatch – front view)

(Jump clean – front view)

Pull under and Catch:
• Pull down on the bar and force your body under the weight
• This can only be achieved if your feet are on the floor!
• During the catch, your feet may shift outwards slightly to allow for a more comfortable squat

(Catch position of snatch)

(Catch position of the clean)

• Now stand up to complete the lift
• The bar and yourself must remain stable before you can put it down

(Recovery of snatch)

(Recovery of clean)

• With the bar in the racked position, dip the knees keeping the torso upright and the elbows high
• Violently explode upwards driving the bar off the shoulders
• Perform either the split jerk by splitting the legs to receive the bar, the power jerk by semi squatting to catch the bar or the squat jerk by squatting rapidly underneath the bar

(Dip phase of the jerk)

(Split jerk)

(Power jerk)

(Squat jerk – requires a lot of mobility)

Here is a video I made with Ramsey demonstrating how to Olympic Lift:

If you have any questions or would like to know more about Olympic lifting then please get in touch

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