The Low-Down On Olympic Lifting
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The world of strong female athletes is growing stronger and larger (literally and figuratively) than ever before—partially thanks to all the insanely cool women showing off their skills on Instagram. But, actually, all weight lifting is not created equal. There's powerlifting (which consists of three lifts: the back squat, deadlift, and bench press), Olympic-style weightlifting (which involves the snatch and the clean and jerk lifts), and CrossFit (which includes some powerlifting and some Olympic lifting, along with a bunch of other high-intensity training).
If you're looking for some of the ultimate Olympic weightlifting #fitspo, we've got you covered right here. (More into powerlifting or CrossFit? Don't worry, we have those too: just check out the Instagram Girls That Will Inspire You to Powerlift and the Ladies Who Will Make You Want to Get Your WOD On.
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Jenny Arthur may have finished 6th at the Rio Olympics in the 75kg category, but she shattered the American weightlifting record for the weight class with a 107kg snatch—meaning she currently holds all American weightlifting records for the category.
Photo: @jenny.arthur Instagram
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Chances are, you heard some buzz around this athlete during the Rio Olympics—I mean, Sarah Robles basically single-handedly inspired a female weightlifting movement and also brought home the first Olympic medal in weightlifting for Team USA in 16 years. How? Casually throwing 350lbs over her head. No biggie.
Photo: @roblympian Instagram
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As a Team USA weightlifter in the 69kg category, Mattie Rogers narrowly missed going to Rio. Follow this crowd favorite on Instagram to see if the Tokyo 2020 Olympic team is in her cards, and watch her make lifting 280+ lbs look crazy easy.
Photo: @mattiecakesssss Instagram
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Morghan King is a lifting powerhouse; at just 5 feet tall and 105lbs (she competes in the 48kg category), King can clean and jerk more than twice her bodyweight. While that didn't earn her a medal in Rio, it did land her 6th place and an American record. (P.S. This other badass weightlifter created an app just to teach women how to lift weights.)
Photo: @kindmorghan Instagram
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After an injury and other life events sidelined her for 18 months, Camille Brown is back in the competitive game, setting lifetime PRs of 75kg (165lb) for the snatch and a 95kg (209lb) for the clean and jerk—all at a 62kg body weight. Her hefty Instagram following is proof of her bright spirit and lifting knowledge. (She even has a bachelor's degree in kinesiology and a USA Weightlifting certification to prove it.)
Photo: @camilla4wildcat Instagram
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"Epic Erin" aka Erin Amos aka "Big Daddy" has an impressive collection of titles (and nicknames apparently) already. At just 17 years old, she's a national champ in Judo, former top-ranked Brazilian jujitsu competitor, three-time Youth National Champion in weightlifting, two-time Junior National Champion in weightlifting, and has set every American record for her division in her first-ever Olympic weightlifting meet—whew. Wondering who's headed to the Olympics in 2020? A lot of people are betting on this girl. Need even more reason to follow her? Well, she's hilarious. Just check out her quirky selfies and other shenanigans.
Photo: @epic_erinn Instagram
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This 27-year-old 63kg weightlifter is an Atlanta native and remains a true Southern belle—she's known for wearing bows in her hair. Kristin Pope started weightlifting in 2014 after doing CrossFit for a year, but before that, she was a competitive gymnast and a competitive all-star cheerleader. Today she crushes 101kg (222lb) clean and jerks and 82kg (180lb) snatches. Barbells and bows, what could be better?
Photo: @kris10pope Instagram
Ricklynn Joy Long
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Ricklynn Long—aka Riki—is only 4'11" and 105 lbs, but can snatch and do handstand push-ups with the best of them. She found CrossFit and weightlifting in her late 20s after four years of serving in the Marines. Today, she's a national-level weightlifter and has her own business as a nutrition coach. Think it's too late for you to try picking up a barbell? She says it best herself: "I was 28 years old when I finally found my calling; it's never too late to go after it."
Photo: @lil_riki_ Instagram
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Jessica Lucero earned her spot on the U.S. national weightlifting team but didn't make it to Rio. She started weightlifting back in 2005 and has been loading more and more on the barbell ever since. She set three new American records for her 58kg weight class at the U.S. Olympic Trials: a 93kg (205lb) snatch and 115kg (253lb) clean and jerk for 208kg total. (FYI, that's 458 pounds!)