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What is Olympic Lifting?


If you have spent time in the gym lifting weights then you might have heard the term “Olympic Lifting” floating around while you were getting your sweat on... but what is it and what does it mean? We put together this handy little blog post to explain all.

Put simply, Olympic lifting, or Olympic Weightlifting is just what it says it is – training to be a weightlifter in the style used by the athletes that compete in the Olympic Games.

Weightlifting as a Sport

Many people tend to forget that weight lifting is a sport just the same as running or throwing is. We tend to think that since it doesn't involve as much movement as most sports that it somehow falls into a different category. We think it is something done only in the gym. In fact, weightlifting is one of the oldest sports alive and has been used as a way in which strong men and women can show off their prowess for literally generations. As far back as the times of the Gladiators of Ancient Rome has this been the case.

Fitting then, that it should have a place in the Olympics.

The Lifts Themselves

Of course, because it is Olympic regulation lifts there are right ways and there are wrong ways to do them. The three lifts are the Snatch, the Clean and the Jerk. Each of them is a progression lift and will help even non-Olympic athletes and everyday fitness buffs to gain strength, preserve muscle mass and improve flexibility.

The Clean

This is where you lift the barbell from the floor with your knees bent, then use the momentum created to lift the barbell up to rest across the front of the shoulders. From this position they may move on to the Jerk position fluidly. As a result these two lifts are usually performed in a single sequence.

The Jerk

The Jerk describes the movement and strength the body invests when you 'jerk' the barbell from its resting place atop the deltoids and into the air where the lifter then straightens the arms and brings the feet together. The end result of the Jerk is the straight stance we are used to seeing in competitive weightlifting – and often just in our visits to the gym.

The Snatch

The snatch involves lifting the barbell off the floor and inserting yourself underneath it in a squat position. You need to be fast, you need to be strong and you need to be prepared to hurt. This is a move reserved for experts and pro's and shouldn't be attempted before you are ready. The Snatch involves getting that barbell into the air in one smooth motion and it is known to be one of the most difficult moves out there.

Where to Train?

If you want to get into Olympic Lifting, then the best place to start is right here at CrossFit Canberra. Our membership includes dedicated Olympic lifting classes as well as progressive coaching to cater to your individual Olympic lifting skill needs.

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