The sport is controlled by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). Based in Budapest, it was founded in 1905. Athletes compete in a division determined by their body mass. There are eight male divisions and seven female divisions.

The men’s classes are:

  1. 56 kg (123 lb)
  2. 62 kg (137 lb)
  3. 69 kg (152 lb)
  4. 77 kg (170 lb)
  5. 85 kg (187 lb)
  6. 94 kg (207 lb)
  7. 105 kg (231 lb)
  8. and over 105 kg


The women’s are:

  1. 48 kg (106 lb)
  2. 53 kg (117 lb)
  3. 58 kg (128 lb)
  4. 63 kg (139 lb)
  5. 69 kg (152 lb)
  6. 75 kg (165 lb)
  7. and over 75 kg


In each weight division, lifters compete in both the snatch and clean and jerk.

Prizes are usually given for the heaviest weights lifted, the maximum lifts of both divisions combined wins.

The order of the competition is up to the lifters; usually the competitor who chooses to attempt the lowest weight goes first.

If they are unsuccessful at a weight, they have the option of reattempting at that weight or trying a heavier weight after any other competitors have made attempts at the previous weight or any other intermediate weights.

The barbell is loaded bit by bit and progresses to a heavier weight throughout the course of competition. Weights are set in 1 kilogram increments. When a tie occurs, the athlete with the lower bodyweight is declared the winner. If two athletes lift the same total weight and have the same bodyweight, the winner is the athlete who lifted the total weight first.