Powerlifting Vs Olympic Lifting—What Is the Difference?

Powerlifting Vs Olympic Lifting—What Is the Difference?

Both Olympic lifting and powerlifting are weight-training exercises that can improve your health, strength, and focus. Olympic lifting and powerlifting are two distinct sports with two distinct training philosophies and objectives in their well-respected weight-training regimens.

The jerk and snatch are two lifts that are concentrated on in the Olympic weightlifting routine. These lifts are performed overhead and must be done with good technique and form. With extremely heavy weights, powerlifting focuses on three different lifts. Deep squats, bench presses, and challenging pulls are common movements in powerlifting. In contrast to Olympic lifting, powerlifting employs heavier weights and requires less technical skill.

So what precisely distinguishes powerlifting from Olympic lifting? What kind of workout is required? You can find the response in this article.

What is Olympic Lifting?

The Snatch and the Clean and Jerk are the two lifts used in Olympic weightlifting. To succeed in this sport, one needs to have a high level of technical ability and expertise in addition to tremendous strength and power.

Olympic lifting is focused on technique, with lifters being judged at each stage of the lift on how well it is executed. Before moving on to more complex combinations when you’re training, it’s crucial to learn the technique correctly and go back to the fundamentals.

The Olympic lifts can give strength training a new dimension when used properly. Olympic lifting is a great way to concentrate on explosive strength because the Snatch, Clean, and Jerk both generate a lot of power.

Technically difficult movements requiring a lot of total body coordination include the snatch and clean and jerk. Both lifts call for a combination of strength, speed, power, and mobility, all of which can be developed through extensive gym work.

Powerlifting Vs Olympic Lifting—What Is the Difference?

What is Powerlifting?

Powerlifting is a competitive sport that assesses your ability to lift the maximum weight possible for one repetition, commonly referred to as one rep max (1RM), using a barbell in the following three lifts:

  • Back squat
  • Deadlift
  • Bench press

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According to exercise science, the purpose of powerlifting is to produce the most muscular force possible for the specified movements. In powerlifting competitions, each lift’s technique is graded by three judges on a pass-fail basis. A passing score from at least two judges is needed for the lift to count.

The sole metric of performance, assuming proper technique standards are followed, is your 1RM for each lift. The weight lifted in absolute terms and the weight lifted in relation to your weight is then used to determine your score.

Powerlifting competition rules are usually broken down into “raw” and “equipped,” with “equipped” allowing special suits and knee wraps, while “raw” generally allows only a lifting belt and knee sleeves.

Powerlifting Vs Olympic Lifting: What is the Difference?

Objectives to Be Achieved

Moving the heaviest weight possible is the overall goal of powerlifting, whereas moving heavy weights as quickly as possible is the overall goal of Olympic lifting to increase explosive power. This doesn’t mean that Powerlifters can’t have great coordination or be explosive, but Olympic lifting will give you a better opportunity to increase these qualities. Similarly, even though Powerlifting involves lifting much heavier weights, Olympic lifting will still help you become stronger.

Training Time

A competitive powerlifter’s typical training day might last two to three hours, during which time they might work on technique, the big three lifts, and accessory lifts. Olympic lifters need more sessions per week—typically 5 or more—but they take less time per session—more like 1-2 hours. Elite Olympic weightlifters will occasionally train twice daily, with each session concentrating on a different physical attribute, such as. a strength session and a technique session.

Movement Speed

The weight of the lifts is the main focus in powerlifting, so regardless of how quickly it is lifted, the objective is to lift as much weight as you can. Olympic lifts are performed at a much higher rate, which calls for more care in technique and execution.

Lifting Equipment

In contrast to Powerlifting bars, which are stiffer, Olympic bars are more flexible. Olympic lifters can perform more difficult movements like the Clean and Jerk with this flexible bar without worrying about the weight snapping the bar in two or being very difficult to control.

Powerlifting bars are less flexible since their only function is to support a lot of weight while you perform strenuous Squats, Bench Presses, and Deadlifts. Although you can deadlift and bench press on an Olympic bar and can perform Olympic lifts on a Powerlifting bar, you should be aware of the applications and restrictions of each bar.

Considering that Olympic lifters frequently drop the bar from an overhead position, rubber bumper plates are preferred over metal plates by these athletes. The bumper plates cushion the impact when dropped, saving equipment from wear and tear.

Load-bearing Numbers

As we have mentioned throughout this article, one of the main differences between these two lifting styles is the number of lifts they have centered around. The squat, deadlift and bench press are the three main lifts used in powerlifting. The clean and jerk and the snatch are the two main lifts used in Olympic lifting.

Powerlifting Vs Olympic Lifting—What Is the Difference?

The clean and jerk is a two-part lift where first the lifter moves the bar to the shoulders (the clean), then jumps explosively under the bar and uses the momentum generated to push the bar overhead (the jerk). The snatch on the other hand is a one-part lift where the lifter must move the barbell from the floor to a locked-out position overhead in a single movement.


You must play to your strengths in powerlifting, where strong lifters with good muscle potential typically win. Olympic lifting requires technique and attention to small details such as hand placement and foot movement. With Olympic lifts, athleticism is just as important as raw power if you want the lift to be effective and successful.

Dos and Don’ts When You Do Powerlifting Or Olympic Lifting


  • Whenever you attempt the major lifts, use spotters.
  • When you lift, make sure your back is straight.
  • Do use proper lifting techniques when moving weights around the room.
  • Do put on traction-friendly shoes.
  • Make sure the tools you employ are in good working order.


  • Don’t hyperventilate (breathe in and out fast) or hold your breath when you lift heavy weights. You may faint and lose control of the weight. Exhale as you lift.
  • If you are in pain, stop lifting. For a few days, either stop the excruciating exercise or try it with less weight.
  • Exercise each set of muscles no more than three times per week.
  • Don’t “cheat” on your technique to lift heavier weights than you can handle.
  • Avoid heavy weightlifting without spotters.
  • Don’t lift more than you know you can lift safely.


Whether powerlifting or Olympic lifting, lifting too much weight can harm your muscles and joints. Doing so can also lead to spinal injuries such as herniated discs. Hefty weightlifting may, in extreme circumstances, even rupture a heart artery and cause fatalities.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends that muscle groups be allowed to rest for 24 hours during Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting training before exercising. Experienced lifters using more weight should rest muscle groups for longer periods of time (48 hours or more to fully recover).

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