My first workout began during the summer of fifth grade, accompanied by swimming courses. I had little notion of "workout" at the time, and the exercises were totally in preparation for the high school entrance exam, even though it was four years in advance. It gave me a sense of becoming "strong", which made me start doing push-ups and dumbbells before bed every day. At ninth grade, I was able to perform 16 pull-ups, and naturally, I picked pull-up out of ten other items for the exam.
My exercise became intermittent during high school due to the school schedule and course load, but I had never quit curling those biceps. After the busiest season of college application past, introduced by my friend Yemin, I started "standard" workout in a local gym. It was a sketchy gym from today's view, but I was introduced to the concept of bodybuilding. I was able to build the basics for future lifting.
I started rotating programs and powerlifting in college, as well as various type of supplements and ice bath, which accelerated my growth significantly. Since then I gradually shifted my focus to Olympic weightlifting and began to train more frequently. The Rice Recreation Center and engineering school together took up 80% of my waking hours. I became friends with many gym lovers, from whom I learned a lot. I am currently training Olympic lifting at Wemax Ningbo, which seems to be the only equipped box in the city.
Personal Training Plans
Currently my training is focused on power and strength. For a regular week (4~6 sessions), I spend 3 - 4 sessions on Olympic lifting, and the rest would be complementary powerlifting sessions focused on deadlift, back and front squat, and sometimes bench press. For the deadlift, I usually do the last rep with a pull.
To me, all lifting exercises are combinations of the following basic elements:
- Dimension 1: grip width. 2 degrees: snatch, clean.
- Dimension 2: starting bar position. 3 degrees: ground (middle of the shin), below the knee cap, above the knee cap. These are typically used in order within one set.
- Dimension 3: ending bar position. 3 degrees: low, mid (pull/shrug), high. Low defines deadlift, while mid defines snatch pull/clean pull, and high is the normal snatch/clean.
- Dimension 4: intermediate body position. 3 degrees: low (full squat), mid (half squat), high (standing). Differentiate power clean and squat clean, also snatch and straight leg power snatch.
- Dimension 5: action. 2 degrees: pause, normal. Sometimes also called "hang".
Additional types of exercises:
- Press. Press is another family of exercises. The ending position is overhead. Includes various motions such as heave press, military (strict) press, thruster, jerk, so on and so forth. The basic elements include dimensions on leg motion (split jerk), body position (squat jerk), and power region (strict press vs. heave press). One major difference between press and jerk is that when the barbell reaches overhead position, press keeps the original body mass center height (no bending of knees), while jerk lowers the body mass center to reduce the power needed to raise the barbell.
- Overhead squat. Does not fall in any definition above, since the starting position is overhead. Typically a flexibility and balance training item for snatch, not designed for leg strength (although has the word "squat" in it).
Weightlifting becomes my favorite sport in Olympics after I started lifting myself since I can feel the athlete the moment before lift up. I follow news on Team China and pay attention to the training session video scripts, from which I have learned a lot. The 77kg class star Lv Xiaojun and 69kg class champion Liao Hui are my idols. It was such a pity that Liao cannot attend Rio games due to a knee injury; I was still expecting him to lift 200kg for clean & jerks. 33-year-old Lv bombed out on clean & jerks in 2015 IWF, but this must have even spurred him more to proof himself at Rio.