What is weightlifting?



  • Weightlifting refers to strength training exercises using barbells and heavy weights. It involves specialized lifts like the snatch, clean and jerk, and squat variations.


  • Weightlifting differs from powerlifting and general strength training by focusing on explosive Olympic-style lifts requiring timing, technique, flexibility, and fast power output.
  • Snatches and clean and jerks involve quickly lifting a heavy barbell overhead in one or two explosive motions. Squats emphasized in weightlifting utilize fuller ranges of motion.
  • Weightlifting develops muscular power, speed, and coordination. It is common in CrossFit and competitive Olympic weightlifting.


  • Hang cleans, back squats, overhead squats

Related Terms

  • Olympic weightlifting
  • Powerlifting
  • Strength training
  • Plyometrics

Common Questions

  • How is weightlifting different than powerlifting?
  • What muscles does weightlifting work?
  • Is weightlifting safe?

Do Not Confuse With

  • Powerlifting – Training focused on maximal strength using bench press, squat, deadlift
  • Bodybuilding – Training focused on muscle size and aesthetics
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