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Olympic Lifting, or "Oly Lifting," refers to the style of weight lifting represented in competitive Olympic Games. The sport is a competition in two types of lifts: the Snatch, in which competitors must lift the barbell over their heads from the floor in one continuous movement; and the Clean & Jerk, where competitors first "clean" the barbell from the floor to an intermediate position, "racking" the bar on the front of their shoulders, then "jerking" the barbell to a position above their head. Each lifter must compete in both lifts. The winner of a competition is determined by the total weight of his or her best Snatch, and best Clean & Jerk in the competition.[1] Competitors compete in body-weight classes similar in concept to wrestlers and boxers.

Pound for pound, Olympic weightlifters have a greater level of speed-strength than any other class of athletes in all of sport. Sports scientists found that Olympic lifters were able to both vertical jump higher than any class of athletes (including the high jumpers), and run a 25 yard dash faster than any class of athletes (including the sprinters).[2] One of the reasons for this is that vertical jump performance is highly affected by an athlete's Rate of Force Development (ROFD), otherwise known as the speed at which force can be produced, which is heavily trained by the Olympic lifts and their variations.

The term also applies to the methodologies used in the sport of Olympic Lifting as a training mechanism, i.e. a person can use Olympic Lifting as a method of improving health or to supplement another type of training. [3]



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  1. About American Weight Lifting. (n.d.). Retrieved on 2008-10-04.
  2. Hatfield, Frederick (n.d.). Athletes and the Olympic Lifts. Retrieved on 2008-10-04.
  3. Donche, Dan (2008). FF Trainer Certification Guide. USA: Fatal Fitness.