11-Year-Old Rory Van Ulft Sets Unofficial U17 Clean & Jerk World Record Of 169.8 Pounds

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Rory Van Ulft is lifting weight that competes with athletes much older.

Rory Van Ulft has accomplished a lot at just 11 years old and is logging lifts that can compete with athletes older than her. She is competing at the 2024 USA Weightlifting Nationals, which began on Saturday and will run through Sunday, in Pittsburgh. She turned head with a 77kg (169.8lb) Clean & Jerk, which unofficially broke the U17 world record.

Van Ulft had two successful lifts before she decided to attempt the world record. It began with a 71kg (156.5lb) lift before a 74kg (163.1lb) completion on her second attempt. Van Ulft weighed 37.95kg (83.7lb) at the time of the lift.

The current world record is held by Preetismita Bhoi. She set it at 76kg (167.6lb) at the 2024 Youth World Weightlifting Championships.


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Rory Van Ulft’s entire performance over the weekend was incredible. She came within 4kg (8.8lb) of the U17 Snatch record as well. She had three successful lifts that ended with a third and final attempt of 58kg (127.9lb). Van Ulft’s overall total was 135kg (297.6lb), which was just one kilogram away from the unofficial world record.

Van Ulft has been training for years now and ha made great strides at just 11 years old. It will be interesting to see where how career progresses and goes from here.


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Clean and Jerk Technique

While performing the clean & jerk will bring about an array of benefits, care is advised. The clean & jerk technique is tricky. If you are new to exercise, start light and be willing to spend time refining your technique.

1) First Pull

Start by assuming a hip-width stance and place both feet directly under the bar. Drop down to the bar and, using an overhand grip, place the hands slightly wider than shoulder-width.

Drop the hips down, engage the ab core muscles, lift the chest and squeeze between the shoulder blades before initiating the pull. In this position, the shoulders should be in front of the bar.

When pulling, focus on driving the heels through the floor and extending only at the knees. As you pull, ensure that the bar stays as tight to the body as possible.

2) Second Pull

The second pull begins when the knees are fully extended and the barbell is just above the height of the knees. As you move into the second pull, the bar should begin to significantly accelerate.

Having extended at the knees in the first pull, the knees should then begin to move forward so that the trunk assumes a more vertical position.

Once again, the bar should stay tight to the legs as it moves up the thigh and the core should remain engaged throughout.

3) Third Pull

The third pull is initiated when you assume the power position. The power position is when you are standing almost vertically with a slight bend in the knees and hips with the bar in contact with the crease of the hips.

To drive the bar upward in a vertical path, triple extension should occur. This is a rapid and simultaneous extension of the hips, knees, and ankle.

When the bar makes contact with the hips, it should then be aggressively pulled upward. A combination of triple extension and upper body pull will drive the bar upward.

As the bar rises, you should quickly drop down into a squat in order to catch the bar on the front of the shoulders. Once the bar has been caught, you must then powerfully drive through the heels to a standing position.

4) Jerk

For the jerk, drop the elbows and widen your grip on the bar slightly. Push the chest up and engage the core before initiating the jerk.

There are two jerking methods. For the full jerk, very rapidly dip at the knees and hips and simultaneously fully extend at the elbows to lock the bar overhead and stand.

For the more complicated split jerk, dip and shoot one leg out in front and one behind the body while driving the bar overhead. Take a moment to stabilize and then walk both feet to a standing position.

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Greg Patuto
Greg has covered the four major sports for six years and has been featured on sites such as Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports, SB Nation, NJ.com, and FanSided. Now, he is transitioning into the world of bodybuilding and strength sports.