How to Become An Olympic Weightlifter

Khadjimourad Akkaev of Russia after clean and jerking 220kg (Silver Medalist; men's 94 kg category)
Khadjimourad Akkaev of Russia after clean and jerking 220kg (Silver Medalist in 2004 Olympic Games in Athens; men's 94 kg category).

Shaun Botterill / Getty Images

Are you an experienced weightlifter? Some weightlifters dream of joining the Olympic weightlifting team. If that is your goal, there are several important factors to keep in mind.

Join Your Country's National Weightlifting Association

In the case of the U.S., the association to join is the USA Weightlifting association. By being a member not only you receive a weightlifting magazine but also information on the competition, current rules, schedules and other important topics.

Join a Local Weightlifting Club Affiliated with Your Country's Association

There is no additional cost associated with this. In the U.S. there is one called the Athletes Congress which has a highly informative website. This also gets you connected to other athletes. We all know networking is the key to success in any field!

Get to Know the Correct Way to Perform the Exercises

Again, it is highly recommended that you get a coach but even before you meet with the coach, have an idea of what the exercises entail as it will make the training session with your coach much more productive. If you know the right exercises beforehand this will help you get the most out of your training.

Get the Right Coach

Without the right coach, your dreams of Olympic competition could be in serious jeopardy. The right coach will be certified by the national weightlifting association from your country and also be certified as a National level referee. Preferably (though not an absolute must), the coach will be able to physically demonstrate you how to perform the lifts. Make sure, however (and this is a must) that this coach also goes with you to your contests as this is the type of coach you'll need to make it all the way to the top. Not all coaches do that so be sure to ask.

Your coach will instruct you also on what your competitive path should look like but in a nutshell, first, you will have to compete successfully at a sanctioned local meet in order to qualify for a State level competition. Once you perform well at a State level you move up to National competition and only after this level you go to International meets.