The following are some facts about Olympic weightlifting:
1) Weight lifting is one of the most popular sports in the world.
There are several countries which have their own national championships for weight lifting. These competitions attract many athletes from all over the world.
2) According to Wikipedia, there were approximately 1 million registered international competitors at last year’s World Championships held in Moscow, Russia.
3) The first Olympics were held in Athens, Greece in 1896.
At that time there was no official organization or sanctioning body for the sport. Since then, numerous other games have been held around the globe and they have become increasingly organized and sanctioned.
Today’s Olympic Games are considered to be the largest sporting event on earth with over 100 events taking place worldwide.
4) Weight lifting is a very effective way to build muscle mass and strength as well as improve cardiovascular fitness.
5) Although weight lifting is not limited to just men, women do benefit from it as well.
Women generally have smaller bodies than men due to hormonal differences. However, they still benefit from weight training if done correctly.
6) The best time to start weight lifting is before puberty because girls tend to gain muscle mass during puberty while boys tend to lose it during that period.
7) There is no age limit for weight lifting.
Even the oldest people can and do participate in this sport.
8) There are several different types of events that take place during a weight lifting competition.
One of the most common events involves lifting a barbell as many times as possible. This test of strength is called the “clean and jerk”.
There are also tests of speed and power such as the “snatch”.
9) The Clean and Jerk involves lifting a weighted barbell from the floor to above head level.
The lifter then holds the bar above their head for a moment before setting it back down.
10) The Snatch involves lifting a barbell from the floor to above head level in as fast a time as possible. It is important to note that the lifter should not swing the barbell back and forth like a broom, but instead they should move their body under it.
11) In the early days of weight lifting only people from certain parts of the world lifted weights. It wasn’t until the late 18th century that people in England started to lift weights for strength and fitness.
Almost immediately after this began, various “lifting clubs” started to appear all over England.
12) The first official weight lifting competition took place in 1891 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. There were a total of 15 events that were part of this competition.
An English man by the name of George Hackenschmidt was the winner of this competition. He went on to become one of the most famous lifters of all time.
13) In 1920 a man named Nick Altig debuted as an Olympic weight lifter for the United States. He won the gold and set a world record in the total weight lifted.
Over the next 20 years, the United States dominated this sport. This period of time became known as the “Golden Age” of weight lifting in the United States.
14) In 1972 a 15 year old Boy’s National Champion set a new world record by lifting 396 pounds in the bicep curl event. A feat that has not been matched to this day.
His name is Mike MacDonald.
15) In 1980 women were first allowed to take part in weight lifting competitions at the Olympics.
16) The biggest sport governing body for weight lifting today is called the “International Weightlifting Federation”. It was first founded in 1905 under a different name, but it changed its name in 1946.
17) In the year 2000, weight lifting became a medal event for the first time at the Summer Olympics games. A total of 18 nations won medals in this sport.
18) Every year there is a competition for the “strongest man” or “woman” in the world. This event is called the “Ultimate Strongman Challenge”.
It was first held in 2007.
19) In 2008 a man by the name of Nick McKinless broke the record for most weight ever squatted (lifted from a dead stop to above the head in one quick movement) when he lifted 2,552 pounds. That is the equivalent of five grown men.
20) The current world record for most weight ever lifted by a woman is held by Zhang Wenxiu. She lifted 545.5 pounds at the 2009 World Weightlifting Championships.
21) The current world record for most weight ever lifted by a man is held by Liu Runfa. He lifted 2,205 pounds at the 2009 World Weightlifting Championships.
22) Some of the strongest muscles in the human body are in the core or center of the body. These are often under-appreciated and overlooked muscles, but they are extremely important to overall strength and weight lifting performance.
23) In the early days of weight lifting a “gymnasium” was a school or private club that had special rooms dedicated to the sport. These rooms contained things like barbells, dumbbells and climbing ropes.
24) Most weight lifters train each muscle group at least twice a week, but some train up to five times a week. The most important muscle groups for overall strength are the chest, the back, the arms and the legs.
25) Some modern day weight lifters consume as much as 5,000 calories a day during their heaviest training periods. They often find that eating very heavy foods right before they work out gives them the most energy and helps them to train the hardest.
26) Most doctors discourage beginning weight lifters from starting with extremely heavy weights. They suggest that a good way to start is to first learn how to exercise properly and learn how your body reacts to the different types of exercises.
Only then should you add more resistance.
27) It takes muscles about 48 to 72 hours to recover after heavy training. When you rest, your muscles actually get stronger.
Without proper recovery time, you will not make any progress.
28) Some weight lifters eat meat to help them build muscle and take protein powders. However, some vegan fitness enthusiasts believe that a person does not need to eat animal products to get enough protein.
There are plenty of vegetables, grains, fruits and nuts that contain enough protein for the average person.
29) A common injury among beginning weight lifters is “weight lifter’s thumb”. This happens when a person does a lot of heavy lifting and their thumb wraps over the side of the dumbbell or barbell that they are holding.
This often causes a painful sprain.
30) Most beginning weight lifters train with free weights, but some also train with machines. Machines are often considered safer for beginners because the movement is controlled and limited.
However, free weights often lead to greater gains in strength and muscle mass in the long run.
Sources & references used in this article:
Weightlifting movements: do the benefits outweigh the risks? by A Hedrick, H Wada – Strength & Conditioning Journal, 2008 – journals.lww.com
Strength training for children and adolescents: Benefits and risks by D Barbieri, L Zaccagni – Collegium antropologicum, 2013 – hrcak.srce.hr
Olympic weight-lifting injuries by DN Kulund, JB Dewey, CE Brubaker… – The Physician and …, 1978 – Taylor & Francis
Olympic-style weightlifting, kid style by AD Faigenbaum, C Polakowski – Strength & Conditioning …, 1999 – pdfs.semanticscholar.org
A low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet reduces body mass without compromising performance in powerlifting and olympic weightlifting athletes by AJ Drechsler – 1998 – A is A communications
Does lifting weights harm a prepubescent athlete? by DA Greene, BJ Varley, TB Hartwig… – The Journal of …, 2018 – journals.lww.com