When I first started Olympic Weightlifting I had no idea what the rules were and could not find them anywhere on the World Wide Web… So I simplified them for you in this brief summary below, I hope you enjoy it!

Olympic Weightlifting consists of the Snatch and Clean & Jerk, two beautiful moves that take skill and time to perfect. The Snatch got its namesake just as the move is preformed, by “snatching” the weight off the ground in one smooth motion. The Clean & Jerk use to be called the “Continental & Press”. The lifter would roll the barbell up the body, resting it in various spots along the way until it finally made its way to the shoulders and then, with pure might, strictly press the barbell overhead. Over the years, lifters began perfecting the moves to make them the most efficient as possible.

The competition rules for Olympic Weightlifting are fairly simple. For both moves, you have 1 minute to pick the bar up off the floor. Once you begin the lift, the bar must continue in an upward motion. For the Snatch, you have to have locked out elbows (no press out) and no other part of your body may touch the platform (some lifters get so deep in the squat that their but touches the floor). With the Clean, again, no other part of your body may touch the platform and your elbows cannot come in contact with your knees while in the bottom of the squat. In the Jerk, you cannot have any deviation in the elbows (no press out) and no other part of your body can touch the floor (sometimes a back knee makes contact).

A lifter gets 3 attempts at each lift, always starting with the Snatch. You cannot increase in weight until the lift is made and you receive at least 2 out of 3 “white lights”. Three judges view the movement and vote with a “good lift” or “no Lift” and once control is shown at the end of the lift, you must wait for their call before you drop the bar from over head. Once the lift is good, you can then go up in weight by no less then 1 kilo (2.2085 lbs.). If you do not make any of your Snatch attempts, that is called a “scratch” and you are out of the competition.

Weightlifters are after a big Total, that is your heaviest Snatch and Clean & Jerk numbers combined. So if your Snatch is 72kgs and your C&J is 92 kgs, that is a Total of 164. There are also weight classes, (8 for men and 7 for women) and masters categories. Weigh in happens the day of the event and can make or break lifters plans. Cutting too much weight can leave you weak and you may miss lifts that you usually nail.

Olympic Weightlifting is a large part of CrossFit and even if you don’t plan on competing in a Weightlifting meet, good movement is important to keep you safe and make you as efficient as can be at moving large loads long distances. I am always cautious when doing the Olympic Lifts in a CrossFit WOD. I make sure to hold my self to the above standards as to not put improper movement in my  body even though the clock is ticking…