A Beginner's Guide to Olympic Weightlifting

FEBRUARY 3, 2023

Olympic weightlifting is a highly technical and demanding sport that requires a combination of strength, power, speed, and technique. For beginners, the sports can seem intimidating and it can be difficult to know where to start. In this article, we've given you the rundown on how to approach Olympic weightlifting as a complete beginner, including understanding the two lifts, getting started, and incorporating Olympic weightlifting into your training routine. With that said, let's begin...

Understanding The Two Lifts

If you're looking at starting Olympic weightlifting, both the snatch and the clean and jerk will soon become your best pals! The snatch and the clean and jerk are the two lifts that are performed in Olympic weightlifting competitions, and so these movements are what you need to put a lot of focus on.

The snatch is a single movement lift where the weightlifter lifts a barbell from the ground to an overhead position in one fluid motion. The clean and jerk is a two-part lift in which the weightlifter first lifts the barbell from the ground to the shoulders (the clean), and then lifts it overhead (the jerk). Both of these lifts require a high level of technical proficiency and are highly demanding on the body and so a lot of training is required to get them right.

Getting Started

Due to the technical nature of the sport, when first starting out, it is essential to find a qualified coach or gym to assist you with your training. A qualified coach can provide proper technique and form instruction which is crucial for injury prevention and achieving optimal performance. (Some things YouTube just can't teach, we're afraid!)

As well as guiding you through the correct technique, your coach will also help you to understand the equipment you're using and the proper form that is required of you to prevent injury and promote proficiency with your lifts.

Unfortunately, as with any sport, you won't see immediate results overnight with Olympic weightlifting, and so regularly setting and updating your personal lifting goals is a great tool to help you stay motivated and accountable. As part of these goals, be sure to think about your personal training routine and include time for warm-ups and cool-downs in order to further help prevent injury.

Incorporating Olympic Weightlifting into Your Training Routine

As a beginner, incorporating Olympic weightlifting into your existing training routine is a must. The sport of Olympic weightlifting can be fairly demanding of your time but weightlifters should make OW a consistent part of their training routine and focus on proper technique and form in order to achieve the best results.

It goes without saying, but as tempting as it is, it’s important to start off with light weights in order to focus on mastering the proper technique before gradually increasing the weight. You don’t want to be injuring yourself before you’ve even gotten started! Make sure that you use drills and cues to reinforce correct technique, and incorporate assistant exercises to build on your strength and power. 

And there we have it… A quick walkthrough of how you can get started with your Olympic weightlifting journey! Although Olympic weightlifting is a highly technical and demanding sport that requires a lot from your body, by remaining dedicated with your time and being patient with learning and mastering the lifts, you will be well on your way. As a beginner, be sure to seek the advice of an expert coach in order to avoid making mistakes and putting yourself at risk of injury. 

If you’re ready to start your Olympic lifting journey and are looking for expert guidance and support, we run a 1-to-1 online program taught by Olympians and expert coaches… take a look at what we could do for you and book in a discovery call today