Lu Xiaojun of China is a legend in the world of weightlifting. His dominance since his competitive debut at the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) Junior World Championships in 2004 where he placed first in the -69kg weight class is staggering.
Over the last decade and a half since, Xiaojun has claimed the gold at the IWF World Championships five times! The IWF World Championships in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2018 all saw Xiaojun at the top of the podium in the -77 class. Xiaojun stood victorious again in 2019 in the -81kg class after the IWF restructured bodyweight categories.
So how does a five time world champion train for the 2020 Olympic Games? Apparently, by practicing his coaching chops with athletes who compete in traditional Tibetan stone lifting:
(non-mandarin speakers will need to turn on subtitles)
The winners of the National Minorities Sports Tournament in September were invited to the National Training Center in Beijing. They are not professionally trained weightlifters. But Xiaojun saw past that to their future potential, saying:
(translated via YouTube)
[Their] bodies are very thick and compact. With such genetic potential, they should have become weightlifters. They might be the key to the breakthrough of the Chinese heavyweight categories.
Xiaojun proceeded to work with the athletes, where he had this to say:
After teaching them some basic movements, I think their strength levels and their feel for strength application are very good.
In 2012, Xiaojun made his Olympic Games debut in London, where he won gold.
At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Xiaojun set a then-world record snatch of 177kg (390lbs) and clinched the silver medal. He he had the same total as gold medalist Nijat Rahimov of Kazakhstan, but Rahimov took gold for having the lower body weight. (The bodyweight tiebreaker has since been eliminated from weightlifting competition.)
The 2020 Olympic Games opening ceremony will take place on July 24th in Tokyo, Japan, just three days before Xiaojun’s 36th birthday.
Xiaojun will make one final go at Olympic gold. Perhaps going back to the fundamentals with the stone lifters was just what Xiaojun’s training needed.
Feature image from Lu Xiaojun’s Instagram page: @lu.xiaojun.81
Who is Lu Xiaojun?
Lu Xiaojun is an accomplished Chinese weightlifter.
How many gold medals has Lu Xiaojun won?
Lu Xiaojun won the gold medal in the -77kg class at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, United Kingdom.
Xiaojun has won five IWF World Championships (2011, 2013, 2015, 2018, 2019).
How old is Lu Xiaojun?
Lu Xiaojun was born on July 27th, 1984.
What is traditional Tibetan stone lifting?
Traditional Tibetan stone lifting involves athletes lifting heavy stones any way they can. They then walk a circular path carrying the stones however they want. The victor is whomever walks the most circles.