Athletes in the sport of weightlifting are divided into classes by body mass and gender (8 weight classes for men; 7 for women).
Men: 56 kg, 62 kg, 69 kg, 77 kg, 85 kg, 94 kg, 105 kg, 105 kg+
Women: 48 kg, 53 kg, 58 kg, 63 kg, 69 kg, 75 kg , 75 kg+
Athletes can also be divided into different age groups. USA Weightlifting age categories are broken down as follows:
School age (age 17 or younger)
Junior (age 18-20)
Senior (age 21-34)
Master (age 35 and older)
This division of age, body weight, and gender allows people of all body types and lifting experience to compete and participate in the sport.
During a competition each athlete is allowed three attempts, at a chosen weight, for both lifts. Three referees judge each attempt. If an attempt is successful, the referee will hit a white button (or raise a white card). If an attempt is unsuccessful, or is deemed invalid, then the referee will hit a red button (or raise a red card). In the event an athlete’s attempt receives two white signals and one red, majority rules and the lift is deemed successful (and vice versa). An athlete’s “score” is determined by adding the heaviest weight lifted in the snatch and clean and jerk. This number is referred to as their total.
There are several means and methods used to train Olympic weightlifters. Obviously the snatch and clean and jerk are trained at a variety of intensities and volume, but partial movements and variations of these lifts (mid-thigh snatch, clean pulls, etc.) are also performed to increase strength and power, as well as correcting technical flaws. More traditional exercises are also incorporated into a weightlifting training program (squats, overhead presses, etc.).