This week on Barbell Shrugged we chat with Dmitry Klokov, who as far as I’m concerned doesn’t need much of an introduction. If you’re a fan of our show then it’s very likely that you know perfectly well who Klokov is, and that’s for good reason. Dmitry is a very impressive guy.
I first came across him at the 2005 Arnold Classic in Columbus, OH. I made that trip north every spring during my competitive powerlifting days, mostly to learn stuff. As a student I was pretty much broke all the time, but I would scrape together just enough cash for some gas, a few nights at the local Day’s Inn in Columbus, and a big ass bag of M&M trail mix for the road.
Hey, I know it doesn’t sound like much, but these experiences were absolutely priceless for me at the time. I would meet up with THE Louie Simmons at Bob Evan’s for plates of eggs and loads of training philosophy schooling. After the barbell beat-down we would all drive down to the Arnold powerlifting meet venue and watch some of the worlds best lifters do their thing, including the incomparable Travis Mash I might add (my hero).
I always came away from these trips with hugely raised expectations for what was possible on the platform. In all honesty, I would usually learn more in these few days than entire semesters of school. That standard only went up after seeing the Russian lift live and up close.
As impressive the powerlifters were, a 23 year-old Dmitry stole the show from the back of the Weightlifting warm-up area, just a few doors down in the convention hall. I remember hanging around with everyone else, watching with my jaw open, standing, starring at this ridiculously jacked guy lifting the barbell with incredible precision and ease.
This was the very first time that most of us had ever seen a lifter so powerful and skilled. I loved powerlifting, no doubt, but at that moment we all were in awe of the Sportsman from Balashikha.
You can actually check out a video of that exact training session right here. I told you he was fast, right? This was the product of his 10 years of super hard, focused training (yes, he began training for this goal at the age of 13).
It’s been almost another decade since that Arnold competition, but Dmitry still looks impressive and as strong as ever. Despite a big shoulder injury in 2006 and a failed Olympic bid in 2012, he’s still got a solid shot at representing Russia at the Rio Games in 2016. That alone is impressive. Like he said during our interview, he only needs one great year of proper training to get fully prepared for the Olympics. Like any fan of the sport, I sure hope he get’s his shot at that gold medal he’s missing.
Klokov hasn’t changed much these last ten years, but the sport of Weightlifting in the United States certainly has. For the very first time we now have a huge and growing pool of talent, which is mostly due to the explosion in Crossfit’s popularity. For the very first time young super talented athletes are getting interested in mastering these lifts for their own sake. The local box means they always have a place to train properly, with other great athletes, with all the equipment and coaching required. This is the same ecosystem has also created a thriving seminar and information market where athletes like Dmitry can travel all around the globe sharing their knowledge and insight.
We are now winning together. There is a cultural shift going down that is allowing the US to rapidly improve their game. Just consider C.J. Cummings’ amazing performance from the 2014 USAW Nationals just last weekend. At the tender age of just 14 years, C.J. was able to clean and jerk 153 kilograms, which was good enough to set the all-time American record in his weight class. That’s an incredible feat for a teenage guy that’s still at least ten full years shy of peaking in terms of strength and power. And there are only more great, young, hungry lifters in the pipeline, which suggests that we might very well be competitive again on a global level in this sport very soon. With a wide smile, I asked Dmitry if we’d be kicking Russia’s ass soon on the platform. He smiled wide, paused, and replied, “We will see.”
There’s no doubt about it, this is an exciting time for USA Weightlifting. There are countless opportunities for great lifters and coaches to travel and share ideas. Never before has it been so easy to get the information you need to program well, train hard and crush PR’s! We’re finally getting it. Success and true skill in the great sport of Weightlifting takes time. In the case of Dmirty, he’s been training for some 20 plus years at a very high level. We’re now learning that lesson ourselves, that real success comes down to cultivating your base and getting new talent involved. You don’t rush such a thing. You just need time, like 10 years to be exact. We’ve got that now, and we’re coming Dmitry!
For more information on Dmitry Klokov, including his upcoming seminar schedule, visit his website atTeamWinner.com. Also, if you’re not following him Instagram do that right now. He posts some of the best training clips I’ve ever seen.
Dmitry, it was a real pleasure to have you on the show. We’ll be seeing you in Moscow soon. Best of training’s.
P.S. Do you want to jerk like Klokov? That probably won’t happen, sorry. He’s just so damn strong! But that said, there’s absolutely nothing keeping you from putting heavy barbells overhead. You just have to refine your form. On this episode of TechniqueWOD Doug’s going to tell you everything you need to know about the jerk. Check out the overview here.