Who Will Win in Rio? Medal Predictions for Every Weightlifting Class

The 2016 Rio Olympics are less than a week away, and with recent doping suspensions, the weightlifting field seems more wide open than in any recent Olympic cycle. Below are my predictions for the medals, based on the start list that was published on July 21st. At this time, it has not been announced what athletes have been nominated by their home countries to take the place of the Russian team, who were been banned from competing in weightlifting at the Olympic Games.



1. Zhihui Hou, China
2. Thi Huyen Vuong, Vietnam
3. Hiromi Miyake, Japan

Hou, who has not competed since the 2015 President’s Cup in China, is my favorite here because at that competition she totaled 211 weighing 49KG. She was not entered into the 2015 World Championships, however I have to assume she will be healthy and ready to compete in Rio. Vuong and Miyake placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in Houston. This will be the 4th Olympic Games for Miyake; she won the silver medal back in London at the 2012 Games.  

Dark Horse – Watch out for Margarita Yelisseyeva of Kazakhstan. She placed 6th in Houston at the World Championships in the 53KG category with a 202 total. If she is able to retain her strength and drop a weight class, she is a legitimate challenger for a medal.

American Presence – Morgan King has looked very good all year. In Salt Lake City at the Olympic Trials, she totaled 180KG to claim her spot on the team. And she has been training the last month in Arizona with her coach Dean Kruse and 1999 World Champion Shahin Nasirinia. Realistically she has a great chance to break Tara Nott’s records in this category, which were set back in 2000. She would need 83 in the snatch and 103 in the Clean and Jerk, which is 3 kilos more in each lift than she did at the Olympic Trials.


1. Shu- Ching Hsu, Taipei
2. Yajun Li, China
3. Hidilyn Diaz, Philippines

Hsu was the 2015 World Champion. In 2012 she won the Silver medal behind Zulfiya Chinshanlo of Kazakhstan, who has since failed her drug re-test. Technically I am predicting Hsu will win her 2nd gold medal. In 2014 she won the silver medal while Li totaled 4 kilos less and won the bronze. I am predicting the same happens again in Rio. Diaz won a bronze medal in Houston and I expect the same result this year.

Dark Horse – Watch out for junior aged athlete Rebeka Koha of Latvia. She placed 4th at the Junior World Championships this year with a 195 total. On paper that probably will not be enough to upset any of the more experienced athletes, however there are only 10 women entered in this category. She may be one bomb out away from winning a medal.


1. Hsing-Chun Kuo, Taipei
2. Sukanya Srisurat, Thailand
3. Lina Marcela Rivas Ordonez, Colombia

This was the category dominated by Boyanka Kostova for all of 2015. However, due to a failed drug test, she is ineligible and this category is wide open. I am giving the edge to Kuo from Taipei who won the bronze medal at the 2015 World Championships. I also am predicting back to back gold medals for Taipei, who won all of two medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in all sports.

Dark Horse – Ecuador’s Maria Alexandra Escobar Guerrero placed 6th at the 2015 World Championships, and will be in the mix for a medal if she competes well. She also is the oldest athlete entered into the competition at age 36, and is one of 3 masters athletes who will be competing.


1. Wei Deng, China
2. Hyo Sim Choe, North Korea
3. Karina Gorchieva, Kazakhstan

This was originally going to be a slobber-knocker of a competition between Deng and Russia’s Tima Turieva. However, without Turieva’s presence, it should be a runaway victory for Deng, who is the 2014 and 2015 World Champion. Without Turieva, Gorchieva finds her way onto the podium and makes Kazakhstan proud.

Dark Horse — Tzu-Chi Lin of Taipei placed 6th at the 2015 World Championships, within 5 kilos of Gorchieva. This can be the difference between one make or one miss, which determines who is on the podium and who is watching from the back room.


1. Yanmei Xiang, China
2. Zhazira Zhapparkul, Kazakhstan
3. Leidy Yessenia Solis Arboleda, Colombia

Xiang, who is a two time world champion, should easily win this category if she lifts to her abilities. Zhapparkul, who has placed 2nd at the last 2 world championships, will continue that trend. I am giving my nod for the bronze medal Solis, who just won the 2016 Pan American Championships with a 247 total. This was 8 kilos over American superstar Mattie Rodgers.

Dark Horse – Sara Ahmed of Egypt is still a Junior aged athlete. She has been the Youth and Junior World Champion in the past 2 years. She is definitely a threat to Solis, however I will give my nod to Solis who recently won the Pan American Championships in June.


1. Jong Sim Rim, North Korea
2. Lidia Valentin, Spain
3. Darya Naumava, Belarus

A photo posted by @lydiavalentin on Jun 7, 2016 at 12:09am PDT


Jong Sim Rim placed 2nd at the 2015 World Championships, and she completed 2 clean and jerks on a sprained knee and a hip injury and only lost the gold medal by 2 kilos. She also is the 2012 Olympic Champion at 69KG, so those experiences should be enough to get her back to the top of the podium in Rio. Valentin, who looks to be the new 2012 Olympic Champion after additional re-testing results were announced this past week, also has the honor of being the 2014 Arnold Weightlifting Championship. I am giving the nod for the bronze to Naumava, because all these ladies will probably total over 250 kgs, however there are several ladies fully capable of 245 kilos or more in the total, including America’s Jenny Arthur.

Dark Horse – Two ladies totaled 244KGs at the 2016 Pan American Championships, Maria Fernanda Paris of Chile and Ubaldina Valoyes Cuesta of Colombia. Paris will be competing in her 2nd Olympic Games while Cuesta will be competing in her 4th Games. Both are looking for their first medal.

American Presence – Jenny Arthur will be making her Olympic debut at this category. At the 2015 World Championships she totaled 244KG and placed 6th, however at the Olympic Trials she only made 4 of her 6 attempts and finished with a 239 total. She owns the American Records in the Clean & Jerk and in the Total at this category, and has tied the record in the snatch which was set in 2006 by Doreen Fullhart (106KGs). If she can improve on her 244 total at the Games, she has a fighting chance to find her way onto the podium. Norik Vardanian told me on the phone this week that she is fully capable of setting new American Records and putting together a historical performance.

75+ KG

1. Kuk Hyang Kim, North Korea
2. Sarah Robles, United States of America
3. Yonghee Son, South Korea

A photo posted by Sarah Robles (@roblympian) on Jul 2, 2016 at 8:46am PDT


Since the 2012 Olympic Games, everyone and their mother knew this would be a gold medal for Tatiana Kashirina of Russia. She won 3 World Championships, 2 European Championships, and the 2015 Arnold Championships. However, as we all know, Russia was expelled from this year’s Games, including Kashirina. Kim totaled 298kgs at the 2015 World Championships and is the highest place finisher from that championship entered in Rio.

Robles, who won the Russian Grand Prix last December, should be on the podium if she lifts to her abilities. I am hoping she can win the silver; but I would be just as ecstatic if it is a bronze. Also within her grasp are American Records, which were all set by 2000 Olympic Bronze Medalist Cheryl Haworth, over 10 years ago. Robles would need 129 in the snatch and 162 in the CJ (and 288 in the total) to set new records. But first things first, Robles needs to lift enough weight to earn the first American Olympic Medal in weightlifting since Haworth (Bronze) and Tara Nott (Gold) won their medals in 2000.

Dark Horse – Alexandra Aborneva of Kazakhstan placed 2nd behind Robles at the IWF Grand Prix in December with a 256KG total. Her best total is 267 from the 2015 World Championships, and if she has a good day is capable of competing with Son for the last spot on the podium.



1. Yun Chul Om, North Korea
2. Kim Tuan Thach, Vietnam
3. Qingquan Long, China

Om has won every competition he has entered since the 2012 Olympic Games, and this should be no different. In London, he won gold while lifting out of the B session. The reason he has had so much success is because he simply has one of the best clean & jerks in the world. His world record of 171KG is over three times his body weight. He has the ability to put any weight on the bar in the clean & jerk to win the competition, regardless of the outcomes in the snatch. Thach can verify this has been the case at many of the championships over the last 4 years – he has out lifted Om in the snatch only to watch a big clean & jerk give him 2nd place. I am giving the nod to Long, the 2008 Olympic Champion. Long has been hit or miss, including bombing out at the 2015 World Championships, however I like him to medal.

Dark Horse – Arli Chontey won a silver medal in Houston with a 132 snatch, then proceeded to miss 150 in the clean and jerk all three times. If he is able to replicate his snatching and then make at least one attempt in the clean and jerk, he is a legitimate threat to surpass Thach or Long.


1. Lijun Chen, China
2. Oscar Figueroa, Colombia
3. Eko Yuli Irawan, Indonesia

Chen, the 2013 and 2015 World Champion, is far ahead of everyone if he lifts to his abilities. He also happens to own both the clean & jerk and total world records in this category. This is the 4th Olympic Games for Oscar Figueroa, and most likely his last. Irawan won a bronze medal at both the 2008 Olympic Games (56KG category) and the 2012 Olympic Games (62KG category), and it looks like that trend will continue for him.

Dark Horse — Watch out for Yoichi Itozaku of Japan, the 2016 Asian Champion in this category. He has placed in the top 10 at several World Championships this quad, and 62KG on paper does not seem very strong after the top 3 athletes. With Japan hosting the next Olympics, a medal from him would go a long way towards building momentum towards the Olympic Games in 2020.


1. Zhiyong Shi, China
2. Daniyar Ismayilov, Turkey
3. Myong Hyok Kim, North Korea

With the recent retirement of Liao Hui of China (who was not named to the Rio team prior to his retirement) and banning of Russia (Oleg Chen), this category overall is much more wide open. Shi was the 2015 World Champion with a monstrous 190KG clean and jerk. Ismayilov was the bronze medalist at the World Championships and won the 2016 European Championships. Kim placed 4th at the 2012 Olympic Games in this category, so I will give him the nod to get on the podium based on experience.

Dark Horse – Pay attention to Bredni Roque of Mexico, who was the most outstanding lifter at the 2016 Pan American Championships. His 336 Total was more than Ismayilov’s 333 total at the European Championships. He also won a bronze medal in the Clean & Jerk at the 2010 World Championships (out of the B session) when he competed for his home country of Cuba. I had the pleasure of watching him compete at the 2015 Doral Weightlifting Championships where he lifted above the American records in this class.


1. Lu Xiaojun, China
2. Nijat Rahimov, Kazakhstan
3. Muhammad Ihab, Egypt

I have to imagine after the 2015 World Championships, Lu has all of the errors out of his system and is ready to end his career with a 2nd Olympic Gold Medal. He already has 3 World Championships and World Records in the snatch (176KG) and Total (380KG). If he can win on his 1st or 2nd CJ attempt, expect to see an attempt made at the world record in the CJ (211KG) which was set in 2001 by Oleg Perepetchenov of Russia. Ihab, who has medaled at the last 2 World Championships, is accustomed to big lifts at the end of a competition to earn a spot on the podium.

Dark Horse — With only 13 athletes entered in this category, almost anything could happen. Andranik Karapetyan of Armenia tied in total with Ihab at the 2015 World Championships but lost to him on body weight. If Ihab is not able to continue his success, Karapetyan can find himself with an Olympic medal.


1. Kianoush Rostami, Iran
2. Tian Tao, China
3. Denis Ulanov, Kazakhstan

Without Russia, we will lose out on seeing an epic battle between Rostami and defending World Champion Artem Okulov. Instead we have the opportunity to see Rostami and Tian Tao battle. I am giving the edge to Rostami, who recently set new world records in the Clean & Jerk and Total with a 220KG Clean & Jerk. Tao will be a fierce opponent to Rostami – however it is difficult to bet again Rostami. Ulanov was the 2016 Asian Champion with a 373KG total, which is about 8 kilos below Tao’s best.

Dark Horse — Yoelmis Hernandez of Cuba placed 7th at the 2012 Olympic Games with a 368KG total. However at the 2016 Pan American Championships, he only totaled 342KG. If he is healthy he will total in the 360-370KG range, which may be good enough to take 3rd place, especially without the two Russian gentlemen who had been at the top of this category.


1. Vadzim Straltsou, Belarus
2. Aurimas Didzbalis, Lithuania
3. Adrian Zielinski, Poland

Straltsou, the 2015 World Champion, seems to have too much of an advantage in the clean & jerk for the rest of the field. Since he bombed out of the 2012 Olympics, he has consistently improved upon his total. I am giving the nod to Didzbalis for the Silver Medal in a tough campaign against Zielinski, the 2012 Olympic Champion at 85KG. Didzbalis bombed out in Houston last year, however put on quite a show while totaling 403KG at the 2015 European Championships. Zielinski’s best total as a 94KG athlete has been 391KG, so he will need at least a 15KG improvement if he wants to repeat as the Olympic Champion.

Dark Horse – Sohrab Moradi of Iran totaled 400KG at the Fajr Cup this past may in Tehran, Iran. Also, if you follow his Instagram, he has unofficially set new World Records in the snatch (190KG) and the Clean & Jerk (234KG) which would total 424KG and easily win the competition. However, until he does it in competition, I think the best he is capable of doing is battling with Zielinski for the bronze.

American Presence – Kendrick Farris will be making his 3rd appearance at the Olympic Games. He placed 10th and 8th, respectively, at his previous two Games while competing in the 85KG category. At the 2015 World Championships, he finished in 11th place. However, he recently set a new American Record in the total with 377KGs at the 2016 US National Championships. If he can reach or exceed that mark, he has a good change to finish in the top 5. To win a medal he probably will need 390KG or more, however if he lifts to his abilities new American Records and a great place finish are within his abilities.


1. Ruslan Nurudinov, Uzbekistan
2. Alexandr Zaichikov, Kazakhstan
3. Simon Martirosyan, Armenia

In 2013 and 2014, Ruslan Nurudinov was on a rampage and indestructible. At the 2014 World Championships, he briefly held a world record in the clean & jerk until Ilya Illn re-set the record by 3 kilos, and beat him on body weight for the World Championships. Last year he was side lined with a knee injury, however now he is back and healthier than ever. Zaichikov was the 2015 World Champion. I am picking Martirosyan for bronze, and he recently won the Junior World Championships with a 412KG total while lifting as a light Superheavyweight (109KG).

Dark Horse – Bartlomiej Bonk of Poland will be competing in his 3rd Olympic Games. He won a bronze medal in this category at the 2012 Games. At the 2015 European Championships he won with a 408KG total; that being said, he is 32 years old. He has a chance to be competitive with the younger athletes, however he looks like a long shot at this point.

105+ KG

1. Lasha Talakhadze, Georgia
2. Gor Minasyan, Armenia
3. Mart Seim, Estonia

This is easily the deepest weight category in the Olympic Games. I am predicting that the 2016 European Championships will repeat itself for the medalists in this category. However I probably will be wrong, and I am OK with that. Ruslan Albegov had been my prediction to win the category until Russia was asked not to attend the weightlifting competition this year. Talakhadze recently snatched 212KG at the European Championships, which is within 3KG of a new world record. At the European Championships, Minasyan looked significantly better (and totaled 17KG more) than at the World Championships in Houston. Seim placed 2nd in Houston, however he did have a letdown doing into the Europeans. I still feel he is in better shape physically than the defending Olympic Champion Behdad Salimi and can lift enough to win a medal.

Dark Horse — It is crazy to say that Behdad Salimi, the 2012 Olympic Champion, is my dark horse pick. However after ACL surgery, he only totaled 430 at the Fajr Cup in May. Hopefully he will continue to become healthy, but I would be shocked if he were able to total in the 450KG – 460KG range in Rio. I would be very happy if it happened, but shocked none the less.  

Regardless of my picks, I hope all the athletes and coaches have a great competition and wish everyone the best of luck. What do you think of these picks? Do you agree or disagree? Post your comments below and we will see who knows more, or can make better guesses.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

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IWF: All Russian Weightlifters and Weightlifting Officials Barred from Rio Olympics

On July 24th, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that Russian athletes will be allowed to compete subject to final approval of their International Federation (IF). Today, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), the governing body of Olympic Weightlifting, decided to ban the Russian Weightlifting Federation from having Athletes and Technical Officials participate in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Lifting is scheduled to start in just over a week.

That means there will be no Russian weightlifters or weightlifting officials participating in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

An excerpt from the IWF’s published decision is embedded below:

According to Article 12.4 of the IWF Anti-Doping Policy,

“If any Member Federation or members or officials thereof, by reason of conduct connected with or associated with doping or anti-doping rule violations, brings the sport of weightlifting into disrepute, the IWF Executive Board may, in its discretion, take such action as it deems fit to protect the reputation and integrity of the sport.”

The IWF Executive Board confirmed that the Russian Weightlifting Federation and Russian weightlifters brought the weightlifting sport into disrepute.

The Russian Weightlifting Federation had previously nominated eight athletes for participation in the games. After last week’s IOC announcement, the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) was forced to withdraw Tatiana Kashirina (+75KG) and Anastasia Romanova (69KG) due to previous doping suspensions; both athletes had served and completed their previous suspensions prior to 2016. 

The remaining athletes on the Russian roster will also be barred from the competition. These lifters are:

  • Tima Turieva (63KG)
  • Oleg Chen (69KG)
  • Artem Okulov (85KG)
  • Adam Maligov (94KG)
  • David Bedzhanyan (105KG)
  • Ruslan Albegov (+105KG)

The IWF statement also implies more names associated with positive retests from the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games may soon be released.

As of today there are 7 confirmed AAFs for Russian weightlifters from the combined reanalysis process of London and Beijing, while the second wave of Beijing reanalyses is not yet in a stage when the names and countries involved can be publicly disclosed.

*AAFs stands for “Adverse Analytical Findings” in relation to a positive doping test.

USA Weightlifting has already released a statement from CEO Phil Andrews commending the IWF board’s actions in response to doping violations that came to light this summer.

USA Weightlifting fully supports the brave and strong action taken by the IWF Executive Board, both in June and July, to protect both the ethics of our sport and clean athletes within our sport, and the pathway they are building towards a clean and level playing field for our sport.

To take the place of the Russian athletes, the IWF has reallocated the 3 woman’s spots and 5 men’s spots to the following National Olympic Committees.

Woman: Albania, Georgia, Macedonia
Men: Belgium, Croatia, El Salvador, Mongolia, Serbia

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Brent Fikowski’s CrossFit Games Recaps Are the Closest We’ll Come to Competing There

CrossFit Games rookie Brent Fikowski had big expectations headed into the 2016 Games — a high bar set by fans and the Canadian athlete himself. And while Fikowski’s 4th place finish is nothing to scoff at, we can’t help but feeling like the whole thing was a little bittersweet for an extremely versatile, cerebral athlete many fans have already taken to calling “The Professor.”

And that probably has as much to do with his in-depth, raw recaps of the events and experiences from last week in California as it does with his impressive displays of fitness.

A photo posted by Brent Fikowski (@fikowski) on Jul 6, 2016 at 4:43pm PDT


Fikowski started posting lengthy, engaging recaps of the events aftter Day 1, which began with a surprise flight to San Jose and a trip to Dave Castro’s Aromas Ranch (home to the first three iterations of The CrossFit Games). It’s half stream-of-consciousness, half first-person narrative; Fikowski was writing these shortly after the events concluded, which means we get to read his reactions and thoughts in a raw form.

It’s pretty darn cool.


Fikowki kept up the recaps on Day 2, when the only event was the swim sprint.

No regrets, always wanted to win the swim event at the games, but it was not in the cards today. Khan and Jonne were fast.


Day 3 was the first Individual day at the StubHub center, and it started out with partitioned Murph. Fikowski gives insight into his rep strategy and admits even top athletes have a tendency to cut their warmups short.

Kept the warmup short and simple, i said to another athlete “I plan on doing 305 air squats today” haha. I paced the run, maybe a bit too slow but I was only off the leader by about 35sec. Pull-ups 7/7/6 push-ups mostly in 3s.


Next up on Friday was Double DT, where Fikowski used a somewhat unorthodox strategy to secure a 10th place finish.

A good athlete listens to his coach. So I did fast.. and often awkward singles on the deadlifts. I was using a mixed grip and switching which hand was over every few reps, and one time I did a double underhand deadlift haha.


Saturday had its ups and downs for the rookie; his day was bookended by wins on Climbing Snail and 100%, with a low finish (30th on The Separator) occurring in the middle.

Fikowksi’s mental attitude heading into 100% is especially thrilling: He knew he could win, and his confidence in quick box jump-medball clean workout never wavered.

Next event announced. Another one I knew I could win.
Loosened up the calves. Simple warmup. Took care of business. Calves started to cramp a bit on the last 10 jumps so I slowed down a bit. I could hear the announcer saying I was just around the lead so I just tried to keep bending over and picking up that ball. Jumped up for the win, like a boss. But slipped on that soaking wet platform haha.


And then there’s Fikowki’s thoughts after the Games wrapped, broken into two parts: One Sunday evening, the other a reflection a few days after the final event.


I had brief mental flashes of myself in my first year of CrossFit in 2012 and how that 21 year old Brent would be in disbelief if I could tell him what he would accomplish this weekend. As those memories came to mind I got down on my knees and buried my head in the corner of the wall and cried a bit.


Brent Fikowski made a big splash in Carson, and we’re already looking forward to The Professor’s in-Games recaps next year — wherever the fitness extravaganza ends up being held.

Featured image: Brent Fikowski’s Instagram (@fikowski)

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Want to Try Strongman? Follow These Steps to Be the Best Rookie, Period

So your curiosity is piqued and you want to give strongman training a try, but how? Like anything other sport, you need equipment, guidance and the right attitude. I want to show you how you can find great people to work with and fit in from the start. You can apply the tips here to any group training situation, be it CrossFit, powerlifting, cycling or obstacle courses. You never get a second chance on that first impression, so start off strong!

Find a Location

While most sports have more local groups than you can possibly attend, Strongman is still limited in that regard. This comprehensive guide from Starting Strongman is most likely your best place to start. Hopefully you can find a gym within driving distance, and in larger cities you might even have multiple options. A dedicated person might be prepared to drive further than the closest group, depending on the gym and their goals. It was not uncommon to have guests visit my club after a two hour drive – and to be there on a regular basis.

Stone Loading

Call First

Due to the nature of the beast, many places have set Strongman training times and days. Often the equipment isn’t allowed to be used otherwise. Some of these groups meet at private homes or even from storage lockers so you should know that before you arrive.

What to Ask

A Strongman group or club is usually very tight knit but also welcoming of people with the right attitude. Ability often comes second to being positive. Find out if they are accepting new members, what the fees are, start and finish times and the typical level of ability. If it’s a high-level group and you are straight-up new, let them know and they will often make sure you are well taken care of. Just be respectful and listen more than you talk.

Follow the Unspoken Rules

  • A start time is not a suggestion. A group with a 10:30 start time usually warms up together at that time. This means don’t roll up at 10:30, saunter in, sign a waiver, pay your fee, get your shoes on and ask “what are we doing today?” by 10:45. There’s a rhythm, try to follow it.
  • Get into the flow of the progression. Most groups follow an order. Remember who you follow and be ready. Nothing is worse than repeatedly asking a rookie “Are you going or not?”.
  • Help load and unload the apparatus all the time. The veterans are most likely giving you a ton of free coaching. You should show some respect by doing the dirty work.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. It’s your first day on the log and everyone’s working triples. You take 180 and struggle to make it for a single. When the log goes up to 200 either bow out or ask if it’s OK to work with a lighter weight. It might be, it may not be. But it’s definitely not cool to jump on the platform and nearly kill yourself with a weight you can’t handle. Every event day is not max rep day.
  • Ask for help. If you aren’t understanding an event, have a veteran help or watch till you are comfortable.
  • Try your best, always. Things like stones are very difficult and intimidating the first time. I’ve had new people take longer than they should to get ready for them, then not pay attention to the instruction, stand over it, attempt it for a microsecond, stand-up, declare they can’t do it, and walk off. This is a sure fire way to aggravate those waiting to go and who are in a serious frame of mind.
  • Clean up. Plates, tacky, stones, tires, and everything else that goes into a session needs to go back where it belongs. Pitch in when it’s time to go home and put it away.
  • If you are given advice, take it.
  • Thank everyone who was there and especially those that helped you.
  • If you say you are coming back next week, do it.
  • If the group uses community supplies like tacky, chalk and tacky remover, chip in or bring some for everyone to use. If they don’t, order your own.
  • Be a person who encourages others and that people want to be around.
  • It’s never a bad idea to buy a six pack for the guy or girl running the show week in and out.

All-in-all it’s important to add to the group and not detract from it. A strong group will better your performance immediately. A regular group often competes together or will support each other at contests. If you are an asset you can help them on their journey and they can aid you on yours. Now find your new team and get started.

Photo courtesy Michele Wozniak, Strongman Corporation. Athlete Danni Schwalbe.

Mike Gill is a retired 105kg professional strongman and currently a broadcaster for Strongman Corporation. He has a background in all weight disciplines and has competed in Bodybuilding, Powerlifting and Weightlifting with a lifetime best 252 kg total. He can be reached for coaching at Michaelgill100 [at] gmail.com, @prostrongman on Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, and on Facebook.

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A Strongman Record You’ll Want to Try (and Fail) to Beat: Double Overhand Axle Deadlift

If you’re professional strongman competitor Terry Hollands, 240 kilograms/528 pounds isn’t a whole lot of weight on most lifts. That’s especially true when it comes to deadlifts, as Terry (and other top strongmen) are consistently pulling near or north of 1,000 pounds in competition (with straps and hitching allowed, as is normal for strongman competitions).

So Hollands’ 240kg deadlift might not seem that impressive — until you understand the style he’s lifting in. And it’s perhaps one of the easiest strongman records to test out yourself in a local gym (assuming they have one increasingly common and very important piece of strongman equipment).


Hollands is lifting on an axle bar — thicker than your regular powerlifting or weightlifting bar, and with no grip-friendly knurling — in a double-overhand style. Basically, the impressive thing about this lift isn’t the weight that’s being lifted off the ground — we assure you, Hollands is good for much more — but the fact that he’s able to hold onto the bar in this style with over 500 pounds.

It’s not a record that we see tested too often, but Hollands’ lift was official and made in competition.

And relative to other strongman records (these seem to need constant updating!), it’s a simpler movement we want to try in our home gym — assuming there’s an axle bar handy. Even if you’ve got over a 500 pound pull, it’s humbling to see how quickly that max drops off on a thicker, non-knurled apparatus with double-overhand grip. So far, we’ve found as much as a 50% (or greater!) drop-off from our normal deadlift maxes.

It’s easy to criticize strongman competitors for “cheating” because they use straps to latch onto the bar. But strongmen train grip for so many other events, it’s sort of silly to think they don’t have a lot of power in those fists. As Terry Hollands shows, the reports of strongmen lacking grip strength are largely overblown.

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International Weightlifting Federation Suspends 11 More Lifters After London Retests

The International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) announced today that International Olympic Committee (IOC) retesting of London samples has returned positive tests for 11 weightlifters. This is the latest in a series of announcements over the last three months announcing suspensions for lifters following 2008 and 2012 Olympic sample retests.

The findings — as indicated in the IWF announcement — came as part of a second wave of IOC retests for the 2012 London Olympic Games. While some in the international weightlifting community suspected suspensions from 2008 and 2012 retests were done, neither the IWF nor the IOC confirmed that was the case.

Information regarding previous suspensions from earlier this summer can be found here, here, and here.

The eleven lifters affected in this announcement are:

Intigam Zairov (Azerbaijan) (already suspended following Beijing retests)
Nataliya Zabolotnaya (Russia)
Rauli Tsirekidze (Georgia)
Almas Uteshov (Kazakhstan)
Svetlana Tzarukaeva (Russia)
Sibel Simsek (Turkey)
Iryna Kulesha (Belarus)
Hripsime Khurshudyan (Armenia) (already suspended following Beijing retests)
Alexsandr Ivanov (Russia)
Cristina Iovu (Moldova)
Andrey Demanov (Russia)

2012 Olympic medalists from the above list include Alexsandr Ivanov (originally silver in men’s 94kg), Cristina Iovu (originally bronze in women’s 53kg), Nataliya Zabolotnaya, (originally silver in women’s 75kg), Iryna Kulesha (originally bronze in women’s 75kg), Svetlana Tzarukaeva (originally silver in women’s 63kg), and Hripsime Khurshudyan (originally bronze in women’s +75kg).

For reference, all three original 2012 podium finishers in the women’s 75kg class (Zabolotnaya, Kulesha, and Svetlana Podobedova of Kazakhstan, suspended following an earlier retest) have now tested positive, and assuming their suspensions are upheld, each will lose their London Olympic medals. Lydia Valentin (Spain) will presumably become Olympic champion.

The announcement also means that, pending medal reassignments, Canada’s Christine Girard becomes the women’s 63kg champion, as both Maiya Maneza (Kazakhstan) and Svetlana Tzarukaeva (Russia) have now been suspended following London retests.

An excerpt of the IWF announcement — including which substances each of the lifters tested positive for — is embedded below.

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 12.41.23 PM

A video of Ivanov’s performance from the 2013 World Weightlifting Championships is embedded below.

BarBend contributor Mike Graber contributed reporting to this article.

The post International Weightlifting Federation Suspends 11 More Lifters After London Retests appeared first on BarBend.

Rogue to Sell Equipment Used By Your Favorite Athletes From The CrossFit Games

During six full days of the 2016 CrossFit Games, HQ and Rogue had to coordinate equipment for a total of 40 events — 11 Team events, 7 Masters events, 7 Teen events, and 15 Individual events. That’s hundreds of barbells, thousands of bumper plates, and a handful of new odd objects invented just for the Games. When the lights go down, the cameras turn off, and the athletes go home, what happens to to the truckloads of equipment? 

Oh my God! Rogue is having a fire…sale!

A photo posted by Rogue Fitness (@roguefitness) on Jul 23, 2016 at 2:10pm PDT


That’s right, all of the Games equipment is for sale on Rogue’s website, which means you have a change to rip your hands on the same rope that 

<p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;"><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BIP42KSjaMs/&quot; style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;" target="_blank">A photo posted by Khan Porter (@iamkhanporter)</a> on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2016-07-24T14:52:44+00:00">Jul 24, 2016 at 7:52am PDT</time></p></div></blockquote> //platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js” target=”_blank”>took off all the skin on Khan Porter’s body. Of course, you won’t know if it’s the specific rope that sloughed Khan, but it’s probably the closest you’ll ever get.

Most of the equipment is branded with the official 2016 CrossFit Games logo, and much of it is discounted. Concept 2 Rowers that normally cost $900 are now only $750, and barbells are marked down from $282.00 to $225. Gigantic 80lb, 100lb, and 150lb D-Balls are also available, and there’s a pretty good chance some of those heavier ones were chalked up and sweated on in dramatic fashion. Medicine balls, Ski Ergs, and Fat Boy sleds are for sale as well.

A photo posted by Rogue Fitness (@roguefitness) on Jul 27, 2016 at 6:52am PDT


For the piece of equipment most likely used in competition (not just in warm up), stick to the mother of all custom odd objects: The Snail. We know the athletes never got a chance to try The Snail before heading out to the floor, so every one of them was used in competition or by the Demo team. Rogue has yet to announce how much each one of these bad boys will cost, but we imagine it will be well over $1000 simply because of its size. Interestingly, the empty Snails only weigh 115 pounds, so while they’ll be cumbersome to ship because of their size, they’re not actually that heavy. Fill ’em with a little sand, though, and they can reach up to an astonishing 1000lbs of workout pain — such a cool concept.

While we don’t know the total number of pieces available, Rogue has a set up an alert system that will tell you when all of the equipment is in their warehouse. They estimate that the equipment will be arrive at Rogue between August 3 – 5, and then it will be a race to see who can click to purchase the fastest. For those of you who ultimately end up with The Snail, let us know what you think!

Featured Image: Rogue (@roguefitness)

The post Rogue to Sell Equipment Used By Your Favorite Athletes From The CrossFit Games appeared first on BarBend.