It looks like one of China’s most successful weightlifters is taking his branding to the next level: Liao Hui has his own personalized weightlifting plates.

Popular online weightlifting coach Yang Yang posted the following image to his Instagram: Liao ready to squat (a measly 135 pounds) with plates emblazoned with the Olympic and World Champion’s name.

Note that there are actually three images in that post, one of Liao “using” the plates and a couple more with closeups.

The caption reads simply:

Reserved exclusively for weightlifting barbells specially designed for customization by Liao Hui of Liao Hui

It looks like there are at least two kinds of plates, a blue and white 20kg and a 15kg plate that’s red and yellow — the same colors as the Chinese flag. The “69” is a clear reference to Liao’s 69kg weight class, but we’re not 100 percent sure what the Chinese character on the plate means. (OK, we’re not even 1 percent sure.)

Judging by the ZKC on the plates, they’re designed by Zhangkong, the official supplier of the Chinese Weightlifting Association. ZKC’s equipment was approved by the IWF in 2005 and is now used around the world in weightlifting competitions.

So, are these plates going to live for the rest of us to buy, or are they exclusively made for Liao? The caption isn’t that specific, but given their three-photo spread here, it seems a good bet that they’ll eventually be available for purchase by the public.

It sounds like Liao is designing his own barbells too, though the language barrier that’s apparent in the caption makes this a little unclear too.

Liao Hui is one of the rockstars of Chinese weightlifting, having won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics and multiple gold medals at the World Weightlifting Championships. However, he was stripped of his 2010 WWC medal after testing positive for Boldenone and Androstatrienedione, which resulted in a two-year suspension.

Currently, Liao holds the -69kg senior world records for the snatch, clean & jerk, and total — that’s a 166kg (366lb) snatch and 198kg (436.5lb) clean & jerk. On top of that, he appears to exceed his world records in training. In the video below, he hits a 170kg snatch and a 205kg clean & jerk.

Liao publicly retired from the sport in mid-2016, but six months later announced he’s ending his retirement  to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

We think there are more than a few fans in China and around the world who would be willing to pick up some Liao Hui plates if they become available.

Featured image via @yangyang7878 on Instagram.


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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of things.After Shanghai, he went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before finishing his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and heading to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like BarBend, Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.No fan of writing in the third person, Nick’s passion for health stems from an interest in self improvement: How do we reach our potential?Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.