As a beginner at sport or exercise, you need to ensure that everything that you learn is correct. 

This is because what you learn as a novice will stay with you for the rest of your life. Olympic weightlifting is one of those exercises when not done right can cause serious injuries or harm to your body.  Once you get the swing of it, you’ll realize that there are very few other ways to increase your strength and muscle power efficiently and easily. Learning these Olympic weightlifting techniques can go a long way. 

Who knows, you might be the next Usain Bolt of the weightlifting world making epic weightlifting records?! However, every beginner has to start somewhere. 

This guide to Olympic weightlifting can be your start to this highly effective training.  

Read this blog to know more about Olympic weightlifting and understand how it can be useful for sports.  We also have Olympic weightlifting tips for beginners ready for you on a platter.

Table of Contents

  1. What is Olympic Weightlifting?
  2. Olympic Weightlifting Rules
  3. Olympic Weightlifting Tips for Beginners
  4. Benefits of Olympic Weightlifting
  5. FAQs - Do Olympic lifts build muscle? What exercises do Olympic weightlifters do?

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What is Olympic Weightlifting?

Here is all you need to know about Olympic weightlifting:

  • Olympic-style weightlifting is a sport in which the athlete attempts to lift a maximum weight, loaded barbell over his head. We call this movement the explosive movement.
  • Olympic weightlifting is an excellent exercise to improve athletic performance. 
  • The advantage that Olympic weightlifting holds over other strength sports is that the lifts are carried out faster and with a great and quick range of motion that tests human explosive strength.
  • Today, Olympic weightlifting has become very popular as a part of high school training regimes.
  • Olympic weightlifting involves a combination of two lifts or two disciplines- the ‘Clean and jerk’ and the ‘Snatch’. Both these involve lifting the weight overhead.
  • The ‘Snatch’ is a one-movement lift with a wide grip. The clean and jerk is a two-movement lift.
  • In a competition, each weightlifter gets three opportunities at each of the two movements. The winner is the athlete who has the highest total from their two best lifts or their best ‘Snatch’ and, ‘Clean and Jerk’.
  • During earlier times, the ‘Clean and Press’ used to exist as a third kind of Olympic lift but it was prohibited due to safety reasons and difficulties in judging.

Olympic Weightlifting Rules

Let’s have a look at some Olympic weightlifting rules:

  • There are different bodyweight categories for men and women.
  • There are 8 bodyweight categories or divisions for both men and women.
  • The bar used for each of these categories is different. The men’s and women’s bar weighs 20 kg and 15 kg respectively.
  • Officials weigh all the athletes before the game to ensure that they are in the right bodyweight category.
  • If an athlete fails to do at least one of the two lifts, he is disqualified and receives an ‘incomplete’ entry.
  • Furthermore, after you complete a successful lift of one movement, the weight will increase by 1 kg for the next attempt.
  • You can also be disqualified if you don’t extend your arms properly while raising the bar. We call this kind of a rookie mistake a Press-out.
  • In case of a tie, there are various options to choose from. If the scores are the same and you are an athlete with a lower body weight, you are regarded as the winner.
    However, if the bodyweight is the same, then the person who lifted the weight first is the winner.

  • Next are some rules regarding the movements. As for the Snatch, you should carry it out seamlessly or in one sudden and swift move.
  • While carrying out the second movement of Clean and Jerk, you have to keep the barbell above your head. 
    Ensure that your legs are one in front of the other. We call this the lunge position.

  • If you are thinking of participating in the Olympics, here is a little something extra for you to know.
    The first movement that you have to perform is Snatch after which there is a break. Once the break is over, you can perform the Clean and Jerk.

  • As for the judgement, you will be judged by one head referee and two judges. All of them will give their individual decision.
  • Their judgement is indicated through coloured lights. A white light means a successful lift while a red light means an unsuccessful lift.
  • Finally, you need to ensure that you do not touch the barbell with your feet at any point. Such an act can result in disqualification.

Olympic Weightlifting Tips for Beginners

Being a beginner, you need to make sure that you follow all the rules to gain expertise in this arena. 

Here are a few tips that can aid you in this process. Let’s have a sneak peek at ‘em:

  • Perfect Execution: You might be scared as a novice to begin weightlifting. However, perfect execution is key to this exercise. 
    Once you start walking the path of perfection, you will be all right!

  • Find a Coach: The first step in this journey of perfection is to find a coach.
    Try finding a coach or mentor who has experience with beginners so that they can understand your curve of progress and pace. Research all the finest gyms and coaches. 
    This step is crucial, as your guide will be the one to set you up for the rest of your journey.

  • Selection of Weights: As a beginner, it is vital to choose the correct amount of weights. 
    Loading is not the right way forward for a beginner. Start by keeping your weights light so that your movements can be swift. 
    Gradually increase the weight to reach your full potential. However, you should not push your body too much as this can result in injuries and muscle failure.

  • Consistency: Being consistent is imperative with any kind of fitness regime and the same goes for Olympic Weightlifting.
    You need to invest heaps of time and practice. Patience is key because you need to be slow with adding weights and not rush into it.
    Soon, your short-term hard work will yield long-term results! Just don’t be consistent, my friend!

Some very common techniques include the Hang Clean, the Push Press and the Power Clean. Get yourself a coach and try these out today!

Benefits of Olympic Weightlifting

Both the movements offer various kinds of advantages. Let’s have a look:

  • IMPROVED FLEXIBILITY: Olympic weightlifting improves your flexibility like never before TBH. 
    This is because your shoulders and knees experience a great deal of mobility. Even your hips become more flexible.
    You can try it out to become more flexible and eliminate your muscle tension and rigidity.

  • INCREASED MUSCLE POWER: Several people take to weightlifting to boost their muscle power.
    The explosiveness of this workout is the factor that contributes to building your muscle power. Include the exercise in your training regime today! 
    Many athletes who are not weightlifters have it as a part of their training program as this workout enables you to pack a punch in all other workouts.

  • MUSCLE BUILDING: In addition to increased muscle power, you get the added benefit of building more muscles! 
    This explosive workout activates your muscle fibres to aid you in building muscles faster than before.

  • IMPROVED COORDINATION: Several sports require developing a good sense of coordination.
    Olympic weightlifting can aid you in this process. The lifts require a great deal of coordination on part of the lifter.
    Eventually, you become a coordination expert!


1. Do Olympic lifts build muscle? 

Olympic lifts play an integral role in your overall body fitness. They offer a plethora of benefits.
Some of these include building muscle and muscle power. If you are looking for a regime that builds your muscle, you have found the right one, my friend!
You have bulky weightlifters as living and breathing proof that Olympic weightlifting does indeed, build muscle.

2. What exercises do Olympic weightlifters do?

Olympic weightlifters indulge in a great variety of exercises. Some of these include: 

Olympic weightlifting can be part of your ultimate workout regime as it builds muscles and stamina and improves your flexibility.

As a beginner, you need to be under the mentorship of a good coach to curate a suitable training program. However, be patient as this exercise reaps late rewards. But, they are unmatched in their sweetness!

Begin with lighter weights and gradually increase the amount as per your body’s limits. Do not overexert.

Whether you want to become a professional or simply use Olympic weightlifting as a part of your fitness regime, we guarantee that you will find this article useful.

Start your Olympic weightlifting journey today!

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