Olympic Weightlifting: How to get started

Olympic weightlifting is some of the best exercise you can do. As well as everything you’d expect – helping to build strength and muscle mass, it’s also fantastic for a number of other reasons, too. You think Yoga or Pilates is great for Pilates is great for flexibility and range of movement? Wait until you give Olympic weightlifting a go.

Join an Olympic Weightlifting Club

It’s not, however, something you can just start on your own like running, or Yoga, or just going to the gym, with minimal or no instruction. Because of the weights involved – and the fact that everyone’s biomechanics are different – it’s important that if it’s something you want to take up, that you go and see a coach, or join a club such as the Westway Barbell club at Westway Portobello Fitness Club. Follow the club on its social media below to find out more:

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This is because an experienced and qualified coach will be able to teach you how to perform each move properly and safely for your body type, for fitness level, how flexible you are and your own individual biomechanics, all of which are so important to how you lift and how much you can lift.

If you start copying someone else’s technique that you see on the internet, or on social media, this could lead to you not getting as much out of your workout as might otherwise do, or you could even injure yourself.

Olympic Weightlifting is for Everyone

That being said, however, don’t think you need to be some sort of muscle-bound Adonis to give it a try. Olympic weightlifting is open to everyone regardless of age, fitness level or – and this is important to note – gender.

We spoke to Naomi – one of the female Olympic Weightlifters at Westway Barbell Weightlifting Club – to find out how she got into the sport and what it is that she grew to love about it.


When it comes to Olympic weightlifting, there’s plenty of myths going round. Some of them positive, some of them negative. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Koroush from Westway Barbell Weightlifting club to help us sort the fact from the fiction.

  • Myth – If you want to be flexible, you need to take up Yoga or Pilates.

That’s not necessarily true. Yes, while those are great for flexibility and range of movement, they haven’t got anything on Olympic weightlifting. With weightlifting, you need to be able to get yourself in all sorts of positions that require significant range of movement and joint flexibility and weightlifting helps give that to you. This is because Olympic weightlifting allows development around the joint capsule hydration and more elasticity around the joint without causing strain on the tissues of the joint tendons and the muscles. By loading the muscles you can promote the neuromuscular system which oversees the contraction and relaxation response of each muscle group..

  • Myth – Olympic Weightlifting will make you bulky.

Again, this is a commonly-held misconception about Olympic weightlifting. You think ‘you’re lifting weights, therefore you must be bulking up’. But that is not, however, necessarily the case. What you definitely will become, though is more defined. Your muscle definition will really start to shine through once you’ve been partaking in it for a while because you’re beginning to break muscle tissue down when taking part in Olympic weightlifting. Your muscles will then be repaired and become bigger and stronger, as well as helping to dissolve fatty tissues around them.

  • Myth – Olympic weightlifting slows you down.

This is not true at all. If anything, the opposite is true. Olympic weightlifting requires explosive power and hyperextensions of joints, meaning you need to be able to move extremely quickly in order to successfully perform certain movements. This is because it promotes the growth of fast-twitch muscle fibres, which allow muscles to move more quickly.

  • Myth – Olympic weightlifting won’t do anything for your posture.

Olympic weightlifting is fantastic for your posture. It really works your back muscles, which help improve your posture. This is really important because bad posture can cause both minor and major injuries