Weightlifting: The King of Strength Sports

Olympic Weightlifting is a very unclear concept in India. Though our athletes manage to secure medals very well in Shooting and Weightlifting, some people may not be well informed as to what goes behind the sport. Weightlifting is a sport in which two lifts are performed with maximum weight. Workouts structure for weightlifters generally involves compound body movements such as the squat, deadlift, and bench press. Total body functional fitness is a must due to the actual lifts in Olympic Weightlifting. The two major lifts are ‘Snatch' and the ‘Clean and Jerk’. Snatch The most commonly performed Snatch lift is the squat snatch or full snatch (as shown in picture). The lifter starts with feet shoulder-width apart, no bend in the back and feet underneath the barbell. The lifter then proceeds to lift the weight to the waist and lift their heels to aid them with the movement. Simultaneously the lifter ducks underneath the bar and secures the weight with arms extended overhead and slowly rises up. Weightlifting is an extremely technical sport. With the common misconception being ‘you only need to be strong to lift heavy’, the above representation shows that every step of a lift is to be calculated and performed correctly because even a single mishap could lead to serious injury or failure. Clean and Jerk The clean and jerk is the second major lift in Olympic weightlifting. It has initial stages similar to that of the snatch. The lifter places feet underneath the bar and lifts up the weight ensuring that the back doesn’t round and the bar makes contact with shin on the way up. With one swift motion, the weight is lifted onto the shoulders for a brief second, as resting it for too long will cause injury to the clavicle (collarbones) and shoulders. The final motion involves lifting the weight overhead with a quick forward lunge, and then returns to feet shoulder-width apart whilst carrying the weight. Apart from this, a third motion named the clean and press was part of the major lifts of Olympic Weightlifting, but got removed due to the inability to judge the lift correctly. There are several weight classes in which people compete and set records. This allows fair competition among all athletes as the heaviest will not always be regarded as the strongest. Olympic weightlifting trains functional motions, helping the lifter train in strength, stability, and explosiveness. Due to the benefits, some gyms offer a separate Olympic Weightlifting training for the common person to reap the benefits. Some lifters have a noticeable muscle imbalance in their lifts, which ends up affecting compound movements but athletes train these muscle groups by isolation exercise using free weights or machines. Though this can’t be corrected, it does strengthen the weaker side, allowing them to get better at the lifts. Saikhom Mirabai Chanu is a Padma Shri awardee who is the pride of Indian weightlifting. She has won various medals and also won the world championship. She represented India in various events and is a true example for women of the country to take up weightlifting, who are often shunned by it over the fear of ‘looking masculine’. Weightlifting makes a person strong, irrespective of gender and the athletes of our country are proving it. #Weightlifting #PadmaShri #Olympic #WorldChampionship #Medals #Weights

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