October 16, 2021

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The Distinction Between Weightlifting and Weight Lifting

Weightlifter Beatriz Piron (from the Dominican Republic) profitable gold within the 49kg weight class at 2019 Pan-Ams
Picture: CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP (Getty Photos)

This shall be a particularly pedantic publish, and one which I’m terribly sorry to have to jot down. I’ve been into weight lifting (two phrases) for a very long time, however over the previous 12 months or two I’ve gotten into weightlifting (all one phrase). It seems these are two very various things.

Weightlifting, all one phrase, is the game that’s contested within the Olympics the place people in what seem like old-timey swimsuits choose up barbells loaded with kindergarten-colored weights. In one of many occasions, the snatch, the bar is lifted from the bottom to overhead in a single swift motion. Within the different, the clear and jerk, the bar is lifted to the shoulders and the lifter pauses to breath and perhaps grimaces a bit earlier than shoving it sky excessive. (You’ll be able to elevate extra weight the second means, which is why they’re separate occasions. Every lifter’s finest snatch and finest clear and jerk are added collectively to seek out out who wins.)

When you’ve by no means heard of this or by no means considered it if you stated or heard the phrase “weightlifting,” bear with me right here.

There are various totally different power sports activities. One is powerlifting, the place folks compete within the squat, bench press, and deadlift. There’s strongman, the place folks (not simply males) elevate a wide range of implements like stones and kegs and log-shaped barbells, chosen in keeping with the promoter’s whims. And there may be bodybuilding, the place the weights are lifted within the health club 12 months spherical, after which the rivals weight-reduction plan off as a lot physique fats as they will and stand up on stage to point out off their muscular tissues in an occasion formatted like a magnificence pageant.

You may also, after all, simply elevate weights. This isn’t weightlifting; it’s “lifting weights” or “lifting” or “power coaching.” You’ll be able to, should you should, name it “weight lifting.”

I hate that I’ve been pressured to turn out to be so pedantic about this. Weightlifting is an terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad identify for one in every of many sports activities through which folks elevate weights. Powerlifting, by the way in which, is nearly as badly named; the Olympic lifts showcase energy, and the “energy lifts” showcase power. So folks like me are left protesting that we’re weightlifters, not powerlifters or bodybuilders, and the common particular person curling a dumbbell within the health club has no clue why we care a lot about whether or not or not there’s a house between “weight” and “lifting.”

The issue, finally, is that no person ever got here up with a greater identify for the game they’ve within the Olympics. Some folks will name it “Olympic lifting,” resulting in confusion if you inform your mates that you simply do it but in addition that you’re not going to the Olympics for it.

Crossfitters have discovered a workaround by casually referring to “oly lifting,” which I help in concept, however weightlifters haven’t embraced the time period. We compete in weightlifting, and make clear what we imply by saying “, weightlifting weightlifting,” whereas miming the movement of a snatch. I’m sorry. That is the perfect we’ve for now.


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