Athabasca Weightlifting Club

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Olympic weightlifting is a sport in which participants attempt a maximum weight single lift of a barbell loaded with weight plates. The two lifts in competition currently competed are the snatch and the clean and jerk.


The essence of the event is to lift a weight from the platform to locked arms overhead in a smooth continuous movement. The barbell is pulled as high as the lifter can manage (typically to mid chest height) at which point the barbell is flipped overhead.  As the contest progresses to heavier weights, experienced lifters will receive the bar in a squatting position, while at the same time flipping the weight so it moves in an arc directly overhead to locked arms. When the lifter is secure in this position, he rises completing the lift.

The lift requires not only great strength but also a high degree of shoulder flexibility, excellent balance and speed.


The clean and jerk is known as the "king of lifts" because more weight can be lifted above one's head as compared to any other known weightlifting technique. The clean portion of the lift refers to the lifter explosively pulling the weight from the floor to a racked position across the deltoids and clavicles.

After a brief recovery, the lifter will initiate the jerk by thrusting in one continuous motion from the shoulders to an overhead hold of the bar with outstretched arms. An athlete may have to adjust his feet back to the parallel position.


Lifters only have three attempts in each lift to reach a maximum weight. Making at least one lift for the snatch and the clean and jerk is important (avoiding disqualification or a bombing out), as a total from both lift determines the overall standing of the athletes. Should there be a tie, the lightest athlete in a tie, from the weigh-in before the competition, is given a higher ranking.