How to Execute the Two Official Competition Weightlifting Lifts

Photo by Victor Freitas on Unsplash

The History of the Snatch

When weightlifting premiered at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, nine years before the International Weightlifting Federation came about, athletes competed using an early one-handed version of the snatch. Over the years, the types of lifts and their requirements evolved through regulation by the federation.

The Rules of the Snatch

Per the IWF’s regulations, the snatch requires an athlete to stand on a platform with a barbell set horizontally at their feet. The competitor, squatting with legs apart, grips the barbell with palms face down, then lifts it above their head with both arms extended. Once the weight has been lifted overhead, the competitor must stand up straight and maintain the stance, motionless, until the referee indicates that it’s time to set the barbell back on the platform.

The History of the Clean and Jerk

Competitions including the clean and jerk lift also date back to the 1896 Olympic Games, when it was included as part of the program. Six athletes competed that year, representing five countries. When the IWF launched, it established regulations for the clean and jerk. The lift continued to appear in competitions with little change over the next several decades and became one of the two official lifts incorporated into IWF-sanctioned competitions in modern times.

The Rules of the Clean and Jerk

The IWF specifies two parts to the clean and jerk lift. The first part, the clean, follows a similar initiation as the snatch lift: the competitor stands with the barbell parallel at their feet. They grab the barbell with palms down and raise it in one motion from the floor to their shoulders and either bend or split their legs during execution.

Additional Regulations

Per IWF guidelines for competition, athletes get three attempts at both the snatch and the clean and jerk and have one minute to complete the execution. Competition rules allow for a 10-minute break between the snatch and the clean and jerk.



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Amandeep Khun-Khun

Amandeep Khun-Khun

Life coach, Investor and Avid Traveler Amandeep Khun-Khun