Weightlifting: who can practice? Is it good for your health?

For thousands of years, human beings have practiced exercises, such as lifting weights, a practice recorded in engravings by Greek and Egyptian peoples.

The etymology of the word “weightlifting” comes from the Greek and literally means “passion for weights”. Although very old, this practice is perpetuated to the present day and is part of the life of many men and women. Check out:


What is weightlifting?

Weightlifting is a sport practiced by thousands of people, both professionally and as a physical exercise option (which occurs in many gyms, for example). In addition, it is an Olympic sport – played by men and women.

The practice consists of a simple objective: to lift as much weight as possible from the floor above the head.

At first it may seem that it is a sport driven simply by force. This is not true. Intense training is required in relation to the technique to be performed and a lot of coordination of movements is required, in addition to great concentration.

These points are very important, since an error can cause serious and even lethal accidents.

The equipment used for weightlifting is a barbell (15 kg for women and 20 kg for men), in which the weights for lifting are fixed.

For competitions, athletes are divided into categories according to body weight.

Weightlifting modalities

Despite having the same goal, there are different weightlifting modalities. They differ mainly in the technique applied for weight lifting.

There are two main modalities: pull and throw . In any of the practices, weightlifters place magnesium in their hands in order to keep the bar very firm and secure. See the difference of each one:


Generally, the pulling is done with less weight, since it consists of bringing the bar of the ground up above the head in a single movement – without any support.

The competitor is allowed to crouch or spread his legs to perform the movement. As mentioned, it is just not allowed to support the bar on any part of the body. After stabilizing the bar, it is necessary to wait 2 seconds and the authorization of the referee or referee to release it.


Contrary to what the name suggests, the throwing modality does not consist of throwing something literally – which occurs in the Olympic sport of throwing weights.

In weightlifting, the pitch consists of two stages. First, the athlete raises the bar from the floor to shoulder height, resting it on his chest and taking a break.

Then, the movement is completed using the strength of the arms and legs to propel the lifting of the bar above the head. Then, just as in the previous modality, it is necessary to wait for the referee’s release to release the bar.

Paralympic weightlifting

Weightlifting has also been present in the Paralympics since 1964 (Tokyo). At the time, men were only allowed to practice the sport. However, in 1996 women were able to start participating in this sport.

Currently, there are Paralympic weightlifters in more than 100 countries.

The sport is different from conventional weightlifting. In this case, athletes do not perform a standing upright, but lie on a bench and perform a bench press .

There are three necessary steps: lift and support the weight with your arms fully extended; lower the bar to chest height; raise again to the starting position – ending the movement.

For categorization, as in conventional weightlifting, only body weight is taken into account.

The sport is intended for competitors with disabilities in the lower limbs, short stature or paralyzed. According to the rules, athletes with amputations, with minimal limitations, with cerebral palsy and with spinal cord injuries can compete .

The only requirement is that the competitor is able to fully extend his arms (with a maximum of 20º of loss on both elbows), in order to follow the rules.

What are the rules of weightlifting?

During the practice of weightlifting, in addition to obeying the rules of each modality (as mentioned in the previous topics), it is necessary to obey general rules:

  • Disqualification occurs for those who drop the bar before the referee’s authorization;
  • The division is made by weight categories, with a maximum number of 17 participants in each one – if it exceeds, they are divided into two groups that will then compete with each other;
  • Each competitor is entitled to 3 lifting attempts in any of the modalities (including Paralympic), in the end the highest score is taken into account;
  • The kick-off mode must always take place before the one in official competitions;
  • 3 referees are required during the tests (center, right and left).

What is female weightlifting?

Women’s weightlifting was only made official in the 2000s , at the Sydney Olympic Games.

It was more than 100 years of sport exclusivity for men, a factor caused mainly by the social conventions that modalities of strength should be destined to the masculine sex.

The female practice is identical, following the same rules and the division of the category is also done according to the weight of the competitors.

Currently, weight lifting is practiced professionally by athletes and also as physical activity by several women.

In addition, what used to be a selective sport is now one of the most democratic practices in Olympic sport. This is because it has a male, female and Paralympic category.

When was weightlifting created?

Weightlifting has been practiced since antiquity, but it only developed as a sport in the late 19th century, in Europe. The first world competition took place in 1891, in England. Definitely, the sport entered the Olympic Games in 1920 (in Antwerp).

Before that, it was necessary to have the International Weightlifting Foundation, founded in 1905 to institute weight classifications.

Benefits of weight lifting

In addition to being a competition for many of its practitioners, weightlifting is above all a sport. As directed physical activity, it is present in gymnastics, weight training and Crossfit .

It is worth noting that supervision and guidance from trained professionals is always necessary in order to do everything safely.

Read more: Crossfit for beginners

Like all physical exercise, weightlifting also has many health benefits for those who practice it. Check out:

  • Strengthens body muscles;
  • It contributes to the gain of lean mass and reduces the percentage of fat;
  • Improves physical conditioning, posture and flexibility;
  • Contributes to the best performance of daily activities (climbing stairs, for example);
  • It can reduce the symptoms of diseases like depression;
  • It fights osteoporosis – at the same time that the muscles adapt to the exercise, the bones also become stronger;
  • Controls blood sugar;
  • It reduces the risk of heart problems.

These are just some of the possible benefits of weightlifting. Although very beneficial, it is important to always count on the help of professionals and medical staff, to carry out the practice within its limits.

Despite being a mostly Olympic practice, there are options to include weightlifting as a physical activity in your routine. Taking care of your health is very important, but count on specialists to do it properly.

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