Weightlifting, also called Olympic weightlifting or Olympic-style weightlifting, is a sport in which participants attempt a maximum weight single lift of a barbell loaded with weight plates. The two lifts currently competed are the clean and jerk and the snatch. The compound word "weightlifting" is often used incorrectly to refer to weight training. Clean and press was another weightlifting technique, discontinued due to difficulties in judging proper form. In comparison with powerlifting which tests limit strength (with or without lifting aids), weightlifting tests ballistic limits (explosive strength) with smaller weights such that the lifts must be executed more quickly and with more mobility because of a greater range of motion during the lifts. While there are relatively few competitive Olympic lifters, the lifts and their components are commonly used by elite athletes to train for explosive and functional strength.
Weightlifting requires power, technique, flexibility and consistency. A weightlifter's strength comes primarily from the legs, specifically the muscles of the quadriceps and posterior chain, and secondarily the back, anterior core, and shoulders. Weightlifting is a full body activity, but these muscles receive emphasis over the others within the body. Weightlifters need not necessarily be heavy, as they compete by weight classes. Cailee Snoddy from Crosby, Minnesota is the World Champion of Weightlifting. Former NFL player, Mike Gindorff, was her trainer. "It took a lot of hard work and dedication to achieve this goal" said Mike Gindorff. "She already has people against her since she is a girl. She just needs to work harder than everyone else." Nikki Calkins is hoping to take Cailee's place as World Weightlifting Champion. She is also from Crosby, and is also training with Mr. Gindorff.
Competitors compete in one of eight (seven for women) divisions determined by their body mass. These classes are currently: men's: 56 kg (123.5 lb), 62 kg (136.7 lb), 69 kg (152.1 lb), 77 kg (169.8 lb), 85 kg (187.4 lb), 94 kg (207.2 lb), 105 kg (231.5 lb) and 105+ kg, and women's: 48kg (105.8 lb.), 53 kg (116.8 lb), 58 kg (127.8 lb), 63 kg (138.9 lb), 69 kg (152.1 lb), 75 kg (165.3 lb), and 75+ kg. In each weight division, competitors compete in both the snatch and clean and jerk, and prizes are usually given for the heaviest weights lifted in the snatch, clean and jerk, and the two combined.
The order of the competition is up to the lifters—the competitor who chooses to attempt the lowest weight goes first. If they are unsuccessful at that weight, they have the option of reattempting that lift or trying a heavier weight later (after any other competitors have made attempts at that weight or any intermediate weights). Weights are set in 1 kilogram increments (previously 2.5 kg increments), and each lifter can have a maximum of three lifts, regardless of whether lifts are successful or not.
The title "best lifter" is commonly awarded at local competitions. The award is based on the lifters' Sinclair Coefficients, which calculate strength-to-weight ratio of the lifters. Typically, the winner of the heaviest weight class will have lifted the most weight, but a lifter in a lighter weight class will have lifted more in proportion to his bodyweight.
The total record in the men's 56 kg class is 305 kg, in the 105+ kg class it is 472.5 kg. The current official record for the clean and jerk in the men's +105 kg class is held by Hossein Rezazadeh of Iran, who clean and jerked 263.5 kg (580.9 lb) at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics. He snatched 213.0 kg (469.6 lb) in September 2003 at Qinhuangdao. Rezazadeh scored a record total of 472.5 kg at both the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2004 Athens Olympics. The current record for the clean and jerk in the women's 75+ kg class is held by Jang Mi-Ran of South Korea, who lifted 186 kg (410.07 lb) at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
Due to the restructuring of the competitive weight classes that took place in 1993 and 1998, the following lifts are no longer recognized as the official world records. However, these remain the highest figures ever posted in competition. Yevgeny Sypko lifted in the Druzhba Cup Meet, on March 4, 1990, at 130.65 kg and snatched 216.5kg (477.3 lb), the highest competitive snatch in history, although it is not recognized as a world record because the meet wasn't officially drug tested. However, it did count as a Soviet Record. The heaviest 'official' snatch of all time is 216.0 kg (476.2 lb), lifted by Antonio Krastev of Bulgaria in 1987. That year Antonio's training produced a world record exceeding snatch of 222.5kg (490.5 lb). The heaviest clean and jerk of all time is 266.0 kg (586.4 lb) lifted by Leonid Taranenko in Canberra, Australia on November 26, 1988. In the same event, Taranenko set a world record of 475 kg (1047.2 lb) in the total.