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HomeSports and GamesWEIGHTLIFTING: A physically and mentally tough sport

WEIGHTLIFTING: A physically and mentally tough sport

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What is weightlifting and how did it start?

During prehistoric times, weightlifting was considered to be a test of manhood, with participants heaving rocks as a test of strength.

According to Britannica, the primitive form of the sport is still being done in places such as Switzerland, Germany, some mountainous areas of Montenegro, and the Basque region of Spain.

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Weightlifting traces its origins in Athens, and was of course included in the very first modern Olympic Games in 1896.

By the 1970s, it became increasingly, with its appeal growing up until now.

If it weren’t for the performances of 18th and 19th-century strongmen who were Eugene Sandow, the First bodybuilder in the world, Arthur Saxon from Germany, George Hackenshmidt of Russia, and Louis Apollo of France on circuses and theatres, modern weightlifting would probably not have been recognized.

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Meanwhile, according to the American Profile, Bob Hoffman, the founder of the Weightlifting Museum called York Barbell, is considered as “The Father of World Weightlifting”.

He popularized weight training and initiated a golden age of American weightlifting.

Weightlifting is a sport that is driven by raw strength.

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Like most sports, athletes have to undergo rigorous training to condition muscles, strengthen bones and joints. Part of training would also mean a strict diet and enough rest.

Weightlifters are trained to lift as much as twice or even thrice their weight.

One wrong move could result in multiple injuries or could also possibly lead to death.

According to the Olympics and from an article by Rahul Venkat, there were originally three lifting techniques: Snatch, clean and jerk, and press.

Press, however, as stated in Arkitect Fitness, was discontinued starting from 1972.

It is because judges find difficulty in judging and that left Snatch and Clean and jerk to be the standard events.

The Snatch is where the barbell is lifted from the floor and above the head in one singular movement.

In clean and jerk, the barbell is lifted first to the chest, holds it then extends his or her arms and legs to lift the barbell above the head with straight arms until the buzzer sounds.

Athletes are grouped to compete through eight weight category and are divided up into divisions depending on their registered weight.

A rule was made stating that when a weightlifter’s weight is above the maximum category for that class he or she cannot compete within that class.

Meanwhile, when a weightlifter cannot pass the minimum weight which is 52kg for men and 48kg for women he or she cannot also compete.

The weightlifters perform both the snatch and ‘clean and jerk’ three times.

All the attempts are added up and whoever has the highest combined weight lifted will be the winner.

However, should a tie happens, when two weightlifters lifted the same combined weight, the one with the lower bodyweight will be the winner but when both of their bodyweights are equal then whoever has the lesser attempt is the winner.

The barbell is used in all modern competitive lifting; it is a steel bar with steel disk weight attached at the ends of each revolving sleeve.

To avoid injuries, weightlifters put tapes on their wrist and thumbs. Chalk is also used on their hands to maintain dryness, to prevent the weight from slipping out of their grip. It might be a small detail for anyone but wearing shoes that are designed for weightlifting is also very important for safety.

As also stated in Olympics Tokyo 2020, the sport was originally restricted for men, for it was a sport meant to gauge manhood in measure of one’s manhood, but for the first time in Olympics’ history, an event for women’s weightlifting category was initiated in 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Starting from that point up in the present day, both women and men compete and participate in weightlifting events.

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Paola Elentores
Paola Elentores
Paola Elentores is an incoming Senior student of the BA Communication program of the University of St. La Salle. She currently writes features as intern and correspondent for DNX.
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