We think weightlifting is the greatest sport on the world, a sport where people of all sizes, shapes, ages can transform themselves and improve their mental and physical health. It is a sport that has throughout its history welcomed all nations, races and creeds.
If you are an individual interested in practicing the sport of Olympic-style Weightlifting, we recommend a number of basic steps (if you are a school or community center, please click here.
- Make sure you have medical clearance – Before you try to perform activities that can be strenuous, such as Weightlifting, you should be cleared by your medical professional. Weightlifting of some form can and should be performed by the vast majority of people. But only a medical professional who knows your history can advise what level of activity you are able to undertake at the outset (with time your capacity can generally be increased substantially).
- Get proper instruction early on – Weightlifting is a highly technical sport that requires significant skill to perform at a high level. Learning correct technique is critical for a successful career. Good technique is more efficient, safer, minimizes frustration and it builds your confidence.Learning to perform the lifts correctly from the beginning is much easier than learning incorrectly and then having to modify your technique later on. If you are in the NYC area, we welcome you to come to our club, the Weightlifting Institute, to learn. But wherever you are, seek out assistance early on.
- Proceed very gradually – In the strongest weightlifting countries in the world, beginning athletes generally train three days per week, lift sticks and bars with no added plates at the outset and continue to participate in other sports. Safely conditioning oneself to train every day, and even multiple times per day, as many champions do, requires years of conditioning. Don’t be fooled by early enthusiasm into doing too much. Proceed gradually for safety sake and to reach your maximum potential. Learn to enjoy the journey toward mastery and you will enjoy the greatest success.
- Get to know the rules – The international governing body for Weightlifting worldwide is the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). They publish and update the technical rules of the sport on a regular basis and are the final authority. The national governing body for Weightlifting in the US is USA Weightlifting (USAW). They conduct all national level competitions, help to develop and select athletes to represent the USA in international competitions, train coaches and referees and sanction local weightlifting competitions.
- Join the community – Become a USAW member, come to see local and/or national competitions, join a local club and get involved online. The weightlifting community in your area, nationally and internationally is very welcoming and inclusive. Join our ranks. You’ll be glad you did, and so will we.
- Remember it is not where you start – Weightlifting training, perhaps more than any sport on earth, transforms the trainee. Believe it or not, many of the greatest champions in the history of the sport had average, if not less than average, abilities at the start. For instance, Tommy Kono, one of the greatest athletes in Weightlifting history, was a sickly child who weighed 70 lb. at the age of twelve – yet he went on to win two gold and one silver medal in three separated Olympic Games, set many world records and became a multi-time Mr. Universe through the use of weights. develops the trainee.