I am a beginner for weight lifting. I think first I have to know what muscle groups are used in olympic lifting. After that I will google to know how to train those muscle for weight lifting.

Could any one please inform me what muscle groups are important for weight lifting?

Or if I am wrong please tell me what my goal will be for the next one month and what I should do to reach that goal.

  • 2
    I'm not a weight lifting expert but as far as I know the olympic lifts use almost all of the muscles of your body as they are compund exercises. So in order to get good at oly lifting, you should probably just be doing oly lifts. Note that it's not only about the strength, there is a lot of technique involved that you would have to learn first before you start heavy lifting! Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 15:52
  • What is your goal? Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 16:46
  • My goal is weight lifting. But I want to know what my goal should be in near future. Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 17:53
  • 1
    All of the "posterior chain" is essential, e.g. see this question fitness.stackexchange.com/a/9604/3778
    – FredrikD
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 18:23
  • 1
    Well... I will do it for recreation and to be strong. Commented Apr 3, 2013 at 1:25

3 Answers 3


I'm not an olympic style lifter, but I'm around a lot of them, and from what I've tried to do, and from what they've told me, olympic lifting uses every muscle.

As a beginner, they all started on a simple strength program, like Starting Strength (squats, deadlifts, overhead press, bench press, and power cleans). This should be suitable for the first many months of your training.

Once you move past the beginner phase into the intermediate phase is when it would be a good time to switch programs to specialize for olympic lifting.

In Practical Programming for Strength Training, Mark Rippetoe and Lon Kilgore say this:

An important characteristic of intermediate trainees is that they have specific training goals [...]. The intermediate program must differ significantly from the novice program.


The most important consideration [...] at the intermediate level is the selection of exercises [...]. [For olympic weightlifting], the snatch and the clean and jerk will form the basis of the program.


It is common to restrict snatches and cleans to singles and doubles.


Front squats can be used by intermediate trainees interested in Olympic weightlifting as a squat variant.


Exrx.net should be the resource of first resort for determining the muscle groups used by standard weight-bearing exercises. Its pages on the snatch, clean-and-jerk, and Olympic lifting in general describe the hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, and spinal articulations that are used by those lifts. Clicking on those articulations describes the specific muscles involved.

Generally, Olympic lifting is recognized to use almost all muscles, with particularly notable development of the hamstrings, quads, glutes, back, traps, and shoulders. I'd say the pecs and forearms get less work than everything else. But Olympic lifting isn't really about working specific muscles--it's about athletic performance, power development, and whole-body strength. As the saying goes:

"You know when you run down the field, catch the ball and then hit a defender? It works that muscle."

If you're interested in Olympic lifting, forget working this muscle or that muscle and just start a beginner Olympic lifting program. Catalyst Athletics has one.


As stated weightlifting requires most if not all muscles to some degree, however the snatch and clean & jerk are 2 different highly technical movements that use emphasis different muscles in different ways.

While strength training, like that suggested by Kate, is important, if you are interested in performing olympic weightlifting you may quickly find a program Starting Strength unsatisfying.

Starting Strength considers "the major lifts", i.e. the Bench Press, the Back Squat and the Deadlift, and trains these for maximal strength - moving the largest thing possible -, while olympic weightlifting trains for maximal force, what people refer to as an explosive movement or moving a relatively large thing as fast as possible.

Because of the slow controlled movements through a minimal plane, contemporary strength training may train minor auxillary, stabiliser muscles, but not to the degree in olympic weightlifting which requires controlling a large weight that is moving fast under going significant torque. Many athletes in contact incorporate at the least cleans into their programs for this reason.

If you are looking at doing olympic weightlifting, for fun or competition, its worth investigating what programs are available, beside the commonly suggested contemporary strength programs. Starting Strength will give you a good base, however if you are interested in olympic weightlifting supplementing it early on with technique practise of the major olympic movements - even with a broom handle.

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