Olympic weightlifting vs Powerlifting…what’s the difference?!

So I know that you’re all as passionate about weightlifting as I am so I’m going to give you a quick weightlifting 101!

The main difference between what we call weightlifting and powerlifting is the lifts that are performed in competition, weightlifting being the snatch and clean & jerk and powerlifting the bench press, back squat and deadlift.  No good coach however is going to let you off squatting unfortunately and we incorporate multiple types of squats into a weightlifting programme to build strength for the lifts!

Weightlifting is also the discipline of lifting that is performed competitively at the Olympics! You will hear people refer to the sport as Olympic weightlifting, this being the reason.

So now I’ve got you riveted, I’ll explain the lifts…

Olympic weightlifting is a very technical sport, the lifts are designed to build power, explosiveness and speed which is why they are incorporated into so many different sports and training programmes.  Sprinters, Crossfitter’s, team sports such as rugby and hockey can all use these movements to build these attributes into their performance.

The snatch is the ‘technical’ lift which involves bringing the bar from the floor to an overhead squat position in one swift movement with the power being generated mainly from the legs and hips.  The lift finishes in a wide grip overhead squat position before standing up and controlling the bar from overhead back down to the floor (the fun part of slamming it down carefully!)

The clean and jerk is the lift which you can ‘bully’ a little bit more but again is still very technical.  It is performed as two movements put together one after the other.  The clean is started in a position not too dissimilar from a deadlift, the shoulders stay over the bar and the bar is kept close to the body throughout.  The clean is finished in a front squat position before standing up to finish.  The bar is then jerked from the shoulders to an overhead stance in a move that looks almost like a push press but finishes with a split leg stance.

There is a heck of a lot more to it than that and if you are one of those on the edge of your seat right now, then come and find me and ask any question you like!

There are many different weight categories and age groups that you can compete in.  I recently took a 36 and a 52 year old to competition where they were very close to hitting the British Masters qualification standards so it just shows that it’s never too late to give something new a go!

Thank you for bearing with me and if anyone would like to have a go at weightlifting (mobility assessment permitting) then please get in touch, I will warn you though once you start it does become quite addictive!

A bit about how I got into weightlifting is below if anyone is remotely interested ;)…..

I don’t know if many of you know my story of how I started weightlifting but I was playing premiership level rugby with Thurrock T-Birds at the time and wanted to be first choice for their number 14 shirt.  I felt like my gym training wasn’t progressing as much as I would have liked and I was getting bored.  In January 2014, I started working with my current coach Ramsey (now 3rd place in Britain for weightlifting men’s 94kg class) to make that number 14 shirt mine and we learned the weightlifting lifts to improve my speed and power.  I also leaned out from a 67kg rugby player to a 63.5kg weightlifter/rugby player through the training, lifting 2-3 times per week!  In a little over 3 years I have competed 16 times winning multiple medals within the London South East region as well as a Silver medal at this year’s Welsh Championships, I also continue to play multiple rugby 7’s tournaments all over the world most notably Dubai, Ibiza, Wales, Sweden…and Australia is coming up next April!

To book your session, contact us via our contact page or call on 01732 451979

Bex Francis
Exercise Specialist and Soft Tissue Therapist
Better Body Group

By | 2017-11-09T08:06:49+00:00 November 9th, 2017|Bex Francis’ Posts, Blog|0 Comments