“The Real World: I’m a Russian Weightlifter” - The Box

“The Real World: I’m a Russian Weightlifter”


You know when people don’t really know what they want, so they just take a stab at what they think they want and run with it? I see that a lot. I see it a lot in CrossFit, too.

Weight Plates

I’ll give a common example. Often, an athlete will think they want to take on a weightlifting program. They think they want to do this, mostly because their lifts aren’t as good as they’d like and they’d like to grow their PR numbers. That’s fair enough, if you ask me.

Off they go, training double days because that’s what Klokov does. They now own straps and are often found doing things like snatch pulls and odd reps schemes with 72.5% of their one rep max clean. The volume is insane, but they need to focus on their weaknesses, right? So, they bite the bullet and keep charging forward. I mean, we’re trying to get that 245-pound clean up to 265, right?

Take a step back.

We got into this episode of The Real World: I’m a Russian Weightlifter because you didn’t like your 1RM clean. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t it be worth asking if training like a competitive weightlifter is what you really want to do? Or do you really just want to improve your clean? Improving your clean and training like Klokov need not be the same thing.

From my perspective, most people want to train, have fun, and every couple of months throw a couple of extra plates on the bar and have success with a new PR. All I’m saying is that CrossFit, GPP, and good old-fashioned strength and conditioning can do just that. Unless, you enjoy your training, I think it’s worth exploring more appropriate options.

You know who else has a stronger clean than you? Yes, Klokov, but so does every single member of the Tennessee Titans. Those guys get in the gym and train explosively. They squat, they sprint, they jump, and they play football. When it’s power clean singles day, they’ll stick 345 and then head over to the agility ladder. Plus, they spend less time in the gym than Klokov, and now you.

Before you crush me in the comments, I’m not saying that Klokov or any other competitive weightlifter’s training or purpose is askew. It’s not. It’s perfect — for him. I just see a disparity between the idea that when someone wants to be stronger that they’ve got to adopt a lifestyle of the world’s best who are fighting for one or two kilos a year, especially when your training age is three and you have less than 5,000 total reps under your belt.

Remember, your goals are valid, no matter how audacious they may be. However, you must have a clear understanding of what your goals mean and a path to achieve them.

Logan Gelbrich