List of Weightlifting Sports A-Z

List of Weightlifting Sports

Lifting weights has always been considered as an expression of the human need to increase physical strength. However, weightlifting has evolved into a category of sports practiced worldwide and at many different levels in the last century.

Weightlifting sports owe a great amount of their popularity to public figures that have inspired generations over the years. Hollywood personalities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dwyane Johnson have led people to chase the perfect body, while professional legends such as Naim Süleymanoğlu and Zhou Lulu have shown that the passion and sacrifice behind this sport can lead to Olympic glory.

These sports have become more than just recreational activities; for many, they are a way of living a healthier life. Millions of people of any age, especially across the United States, choose sports like Crossfit, bodybuilding, and powerlifting as a way to keep exercising and develop a more fit body.

Weightlifting Sports List A to Z


What are weightlifting sports?

Weightlifting sports are defined as any activity that involves lifting weights of a variable amount using different techniques. Sports such as deadlifting, powerlifting, and squat require the use of a barbell, while Crossfit involves exercises with bodyweight and dumbbells as well. Older disciplines like Basque traditional weightlifting or weight throw are performed barehanded. Weight plates are replaced by stones, granite balls, and even kettlebells, which do not need barbells. 

Crossfit and bodybuilding are the most practiced sports among the ones that are performed using barbells and weight plates. They include a wide variety of exercises and incorporate other sports too, such as squat and deadlift. Disciplines such as powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting enjoy worldwide popularity too but require greater body strength. Weight throw is the most practiced sport among those that do not involve barbells. Other sports like Basque traditional weightlifting or stone lift or carry are more limited to specific areas of the world.

What weightlifting sports are played at the Olympics?

Weightlifting has been part of the Olympic program since the very first modern edition in 1896. Athletes are divided into ten weight categories per gender. The athletes perform “snatch,” as well as clean and jerk in the Olympics. Powerlifting, specifically bench press, is a weightlifting event in the Paralympics. Three attempts are given, and the score is counted as the total weight of the successful lifts. Weight throw, or “shot put,” is also included but falls under the athletics category.

What are the origins of weightlifting sports?

Weightlifting contests originated in Greece, where men used to challenge each other to lift stones as a way of showing their manhood. These contests were spread around Europe, especially in the Basque country, where locals participated in yearly traditional Basque weightlifting competitions. Barbell sports started in Europe too, specifically in Germany and France in the eighteenth century, before being included in the Olympics in 1896. Other disciplines such as Crossfit have been recently formed and include conditioning exercises too.