What is the sport of Weightlifting? How does it work? How do I get involved?

What is it?

When most people hear the term weightlifting or if someone says they’re a weightlifter. Generally the response we get is “how much ya bench?” or some related question. When speaking of the actual sport we’re referencing the snatch and it’s sibling the clean and jerk. 

Many, at least here in the United States get their first taste of the world of weightlifting through CrossFit. Being the two most technical lifts we have, they’re also generally the bane of people’s barbell movements. Between the timing, strength needed and athleticism require to become proficient, they’re put on the backburner for many. 

In weightlifting we focus solely on perfecting those two movements through copious repetitions at certain percentages and by adding in pulls, presses and squats create the most dynamic athletes out of any sport. 

The last sentence is bold for a reason. Numerous studies have proven the amount of power generated in the extension of the snatch or clean are the highest of any sport. In fact, in regards to its most regularly misquoted cousin powerlifting, weightlifting is far and away more powerful. Referencing the USA Weightlifting Manual, “An 82.5kg weightlifter had a power output of 2173 watts in the first pull and had a power output 3634 watts in the second pull of the snatch” while a study done by Garhammer, John. “Power Output of Olympic Weightlifters” quotes “the power output of a 100kg male was recorded. The recorded power output of the bench press was 300 watts.” 

An over 1800 watt difference on the low end!!! By no means are we here to bash powerlifting or any of the incredible feats of strength they perform. Just pointing out, by the numbers that weightlifting is far and wide more powerful than other sports. 

How this equates to other sports is easy. Most sports we play are “core to extremity” where we derive most of our power from our hips and as we move away from our hips there’s less and less power created. For example, a pitcher uses their hips to drive power through their legs, into the mount, then out through their throwing arm. A soccer player does similar motions to kick a soccer ball and a volleyball player does the same on a spike. 

Our athletes who regularly lift and play other sports see benefits in their throwing, hitting, kicking and speed over their counterparts who do not lift. 

How does the sport work? 

The sport of weightlifting refers to the practice and competition of the two Olympic lifts. First, athletes are broken into separate age groups, sexes and weight categories. Each athlete has three attempts in their snatch then clean and jerk. Out of their three lifts of each, the best lift is combined to create their “total”. There are many small nuances and details I’m glazing over, but in essence this is the process that dictate local level meets all the way up to the Olympics and World Championships. 

Generally speaking, your coach will help provide guidance on what lifts to attempt, programming, warm ups, feedback and be in charge of the overall well being of the athlete. Each coach under USA Weightlifting goes through Safesport Training to ensure the safety of each athlete. 

How Do I get Involved? 

There are a few avenues to get involved with the sport. The most common and direct path is to find a local club. USA Weightlifting has a great tool where you can search by location. Here at Triumph Strength we’ve had a fully fledged USA Weightlifting Certified club since 2014. With a coaching staff who have helped athletes as young as 10 and as old as 65 reach their athletic potential, some even to a nationally ranked level, we take great pride in bringing any athlete who chooses through the same great program and leading them every step of the way. For new athletes we use a tried and true method of a “top down” approach to weightlifting. Showing each athlete the movements expected and guiding them through a four week course in which any athlete can start at any time. Your best course of action for this is to meet one on one with a coach to discuss a start date.

Set up a time to meet a coach here

Additionally, we’re hosting a USA Weightlifting coaching seminar on June 11-12 at our facility hosted by national champion TJ Greenstone. More information regarding the weekend course can be found HERE

Lastly, we’re hosting a four week Summer Strength Camp from June 6 – July 1. Where we’ll be taking 10 athletes looking to build strength & speed this summer. This camp is perfect for those not sure how to build strength and speed safely. Those looking to become more athletic in their chosen sport. And finally, receive guidance and accountability in your training. 

Find more information about our summer camp here

Weightlifting is such an amazing tool we can use on its own in the form of a sport or use it to supplement our chosen sport. Either way we here at Triumph are here to guide you every step of the way. If you have specific questions please set up a time in the link above to chat with a coach or call us at 859-414-5904.

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