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Flex your muscles and get set for an iron journey around the globe!

We’re lifting the lid on the places where barbells clang and records shatter.

Ready to power through the ranks of weightlifting’s heavyweight nations?

Countries where weightlifting is most popular:

  1. China
  2. Russia
  3. Iran
  4. United States
  5. Turkey
  6. North Korea
  7. Armenia
  8. Ukraine
  9. Bulgaria
  10. Kazakhstan
  11. Thailand
LANDERMENDIGURENGOITIALiwenwen, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 4.0

Weightlifting in China is a source of national pride, bolstered by the country’s triumphant record in the Olympics and world championships. The state-supported training system identifies talent early, nurturing world-class weightlifters.

With role models like Lü Xiaojun, the sport thrives, reflecting China’s strength and discipline, making it a cornerstone in China’s illustrious sporting history.

#2 Russia

Евгений Владимирович МаксимовVmaximov Kazan 2003, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 4.0

Historically, Russia has shone in weightlifting, with a heritage intertwined with geopolitical showmanship during the Cold War.

Its comprehensive training systems and high-profile competitions foster exceptional talent, contributing to a rich legacy of weightlifting icons. Despite recent doping controversies, the sport remains embedded in Russia’s competitive sporting culture.

#3 Iran

Tasnim News Agency, Weightlifting at the 2016 Summer Olympics-85kg-3, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 4.0

In Iran, weightlifting is not merely a sport; it’s a pursuit that symbolizes strength and resilience, capturing the nation’s spirit.

Heroes like Hossein Rezazadeh have propelled its popularity, inspiring many to follow their footsteps. The government’s support and national reverence for weightlifters have entrenched the sport deeply in Iran’s athletic tradition.

#4 United States

Paula R. Lively from Zanesville, Aronald Classic Columbus.Ohio USA 3 (24912310643), scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 2.0

The United States has a storied history in weightlifting, with figures like Tommy Kono and Kendrick Farris inspiring generations.

American weightlifting stands on robust collegiate programs and widespread grassroots involvement, reflecting the country’s diverse sporting culture and its embrace of strength sports through national competitions and substantial community support.

#5 Turkey

Astro medya Org. Ltd. ŞTİ.5. Islamic Solidarity Games 2021 Konya Men Weightlifting 55kg 20220811 4, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 2.0

Weightlifting in Turkey is a prominent sport with a strong historical legacy, particularly known for producing Olympic and World Championship medalists. Turkish weightlifters are celebrated for their achievements in international competitions, which has greatly contributed to the sport’s popularity and prestige in the country.

Turkey has a robust system for scouting and training talent, particularly in traditional strongholds like the Anatolian region, where weightlifting is often seen as a path to national pride and success.

#6 North Korea

Sander van GinkelRio 2016 – Weightlifting men’s 69 kg (29257915211), scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 2.0

Weightlifting in North Korea is celebrated as a national strength, with impressive performances in international competitions.

The government promotes the sport as a form of national prestige, often highlighting athletes’ achievements as a testament to the country’s power and discipline. This support has helped foster a culture where weightlifting is revered and athletes are vigorously trained from a young age.

#7 Armenia

Kari KinnunenTigran G. Martirosyan, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 2.0

Weightlifting in Armenia is a source of national pride, with a history of producing Olympic and World champions. The sport’s popularity is bolstered by state-supported training programs and a cultural appreciation for physical strength. Armenian lifters are celebrated figures, and the success in weightlifting is seen as a reflection of the nation’s resilience and strength.

#8 Ukraine

sport.gov.ua, Ukraine at the 2020 Summer Olympics – (26 July) (5), scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 4.0

Ukraine has a strong tradition of excellence in weightlifting, backed by a well-developed sports infrastructure and coaching system.

The sport’s popularity is partly due to the country’s consistent success on the international stage, which has inspired many young Ukrainians to take up weightlifting in hopes of achieving athletic glory and national honor.

#9 Bulgaria

Gastón CuelloBoys +85 kg Weightlifting 2018 YOG 39, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 4.0

Bulgaria’s weightlifting tradition runs deep, with numerous world and Olympic champions to its name.

Its prominence in the sport is supported by a comprehensive training system and national interest. Bulgarians regard weightlifting as a key marker of international prestige, and the sport’s popularity has been maintained despite historical doping controversies.

#10 Kazakhstan

Astro medya Org. Ltd. ŞTİ.5. Islamic Solidarity Games 2021 Konya Men Weightlifting 55kg 20220811 6, scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY 2.0

Kazakhstan has become a powerhouse in weightlifting, consistently producing top competitors who excel on the world stage. The country’s weightlifting success is supported by a strong national sports program that identifies and nurtures talent from a young age.

Kazakhstan’s weightlifters have garnered numerous medals in Asian and World Championships, as well as the Olympics, reflecting the country’s commitment to excellence in this sport.

#11 Thailand

Sander van GinkelRio 2016 – Weightlifting men’s 69 kg (29303247836), scaling by sportsfoundation.org, CC BY-SA 2.0

Thailand has a reputable history in weightlifting, especially noted for its success in lighter weight categories. Thai weightlifters, both male and female, have achieved significant success in international competitions, including the Olympics and World Championships.

The sport benefits from substantial government support and a popular following, with many young athletes aspiring to replicate the success of their national heroes. Thailand also hosts international weightlifting events, further showcasing its commitment to the sport and its development.


Which country is Weightlifting played the most?

Weightlifting is played the most in countries like China and Russia, nations with strong, longstanding traditions and consistent success in international competitions like the Olympics.

Which country watches Weightlifting the most?

China watches Weightlifting the most, given its numerous world champions and Olympic medalists, which have cultivated a large, dedicated fan base and widespread interest in the sport.

Where was Weightlifting originally played?

Weightlifting was originally played in ancient Greece, where it was a discipline to measure strength and power. For more on the sport’s origin, here’s a link to our Weightlifting history article.

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

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