Skip to main content

Weightlifting: Terms to Know

New to Sports Guide/Terms to Know: Weightlifting


The execution of a lift in the snatch and the clean and jerk. Competitors are allowed three attempts at a particular weight. One successful attempt on each movement is required to qualify for a total.


Three misses in either the snatch or the clean and jerk yielding a zero total. If it happens in the snatch, the lifter is eliminated from the competition.

Clean and jerk

One of two disciplines that make up a weightlifter's total. In the clean and jerk, the lifter moves the barbell from the ground to his or her chest. The lifter will then move the barbell above his or her head, completing the exercise by standing straight. 

Good lift

An attempt judged to have been completed correctly by at least two of the three referees.


Covering the last joint of the thumb with the other fingers of the same hand at the moment a lifter grips the bar.


The International Weightlifting Federation, weightlifting's world-wide governing body.

No lift

When a lift is deemed invalid by at least two of the three referees.

Olympic total

The combined total, in kilograms, of the best successful snatch and the best successful clean and jerk results by an athlete. The total determines final ranking.


Another term for the weight discs.

Press out

An invalid move in which a lifter bends his or her arms while holding the bar overhead, then tries to make them straight. This is the most common occurrence leading to a 'No Lift' decision by the judges.


One of the two disciplines that make up a lifter's total. In the snatch, a lifter grips the barbell with both hands and moves it from the ground to overhead in a single, fluid motion. 


To drop while bending the legs, one forward and one straight back.


To drop while bending the legs with the feet placed to either side.

Time keeper

A competition official -- usually one of the referees -- appointed to operate the timing clock in accordance with the rules.

Timing clock

An electronic time-keeping device, which counts down the time -- from one or two minutes -- allocated to the athlete between attempts.

Sports in this article


Tags in this article

New to Sports SportsEngine Inc.